Jackson and Bryce are Scottish Junior Champions!

Sophie Jackson has retained her title, while in the men’s section Cameron Bryce triumphed at the Scottish Curling Junior Championships, which were again held at Curl Aberdeen.

Team Bryce and Team Jackson both had a great week – going through the round robin undefeated and managing to secure their spots in the finals by winning the page 1 v 2 playoffs on Saturday night. The semi-final games to determine the other finalists were played on Sunday morning.

The men’s semi final saw Team Whyte take on Team McNay in a re-run of last years semi-final – this time however, Ross Whyte came out on top. A blank in the first end was followed by the teams trading two’s in the next three ends. After limiting McNay to a two in the fifth and blanking the sixth and the seventh, Ross pulled away with a three in the eighth. McNay managed to claim a one in the ninth, but handshakes were offered with the final score 7-4.

The women’s semi-final was contested by Team Aitken and Team Davie. Karina Aitken and her rink piled on the pressure from the start, stealing one’s in the first three ends. Lisa Davie fought back, getting on the board with a two in the fourth and gaining momentum to steal one in the fifth, leaving the score tied up at 3-3 halfway. Team Aitken came back fighting and took a three in the sixth. Davie blanked the seventh but Aitken stole one in the eighth. Another steal in the ninth cemented the game and handshakes were offered, final score 8-3.

The finals were set up; Team Bryce v Team Whyte for the men’s title and Team Jackson v Team Aitken for the women’s.

In the first three ends of the men’s final the score stayed with the hammer, with the junior teams trading twos. In the fourth end Callum Kinnear (third, Team Whyte) played a freeze onto Team Bryce’s stone, which was sitting on the button – this allowed Ross to play a double run back two shots later. An angled runback from Cameron forced Whyte to draw for one with his final stone. In the fifth Cameron drew for two, giving his team a three shot lead at the break.

An open end in the sixth saw a couple of closely missed chances from Team Bryce to remove a double on Team Whyte’s stones and Ross was left an open hit to lie two shots. It was another open end in the seventh, and Cameron Bryce was left an open draw to the eight-foot for two and regained his three shot lead. With his first in the eighth, Ross started clearing up with a double, he then played a second great double for the blank. Team Bryce did their best to maintain a clean end in the ninth, and were happy to lose two shots in order to have hammer – and a one shot lead – going into the final end. In the tenth end Team Whyte were unfortunate to have a pick-up on their first guard – it helped Team Bryce to keep the end open. Ross played a great draw around the only corner guard with his last stone and Bryce had to draw the eight-foot to ensure the win – final score 9-7.

The women’s final was a very low-scoring affair, with both teams forcing their opponents to settle for one shot the first two ends. Facing an empty house in both the third and fourth ends, Sophie sent her last stone in both through the back to blank the end. In the fifth Karina managed to force Sophie to draw for a one with lots of shots in play; leaving the score 2-1 at the halfway mark.

Karina looked like she might be good for a two in the sixth when she came round the guards to sit back button, however Sophie was able to follow her round, limiting Team Aitken to a 1. With her first stone in the seventh end, Karina got the double to sit two. Sophie hit the top stone with her first, Karina removed it but rolled out, leaving Sophie to hit and roll out for another blanked end. The eighth end looked like it could be a bigger score for Team Jackson; Rebecca (third, Team Aitken) drew to the button, but Team Jackson were able to remove her stone and roll to count two. Karina tried to draw the button played light and ended up biting the top 12. At this point Jackson called the first time out of the game – the outcome was to put a stone in the twelve foot to stop Karina from drawing on the same side. However, Karina drew the button on the other side of the sheet, Sophie went for the take out but her stone hung out and she freshed, giving Karina a steal of one and putting Team Aitken in the lead for the first time during the game.

With a guddle in the four foot, Aitken used their time-out in the ninth. Karina was tight with her freeze and caught the centre guard. Sophie responded with a guard, then Karina placed another guard, leaving Sophie without a shot to play, but still scoring the first – and only – two of the game. The final end saw Sophie guarding the centre and Karina peeling those guards throughout. Sophie’s first left Karina the chance to take out her stone but Karina was tight and hit the guard instead. Sophie replaced the guard, fully covered her stone this time. This forced Karina to draw to the four foot, which she did – taking the game to an extra end. Aitken did their best to steal in the extra, however Karina was left with a tricky final shot – needing to hit and roll off her own stone in order to take out the opposition stone which was lying shot. Although she managed the hit and roll, her stone didn’t quite make contact with the shot stone, leaving Team Jackson with a one in the extra and the win – final score 5-4.

Team Bryce and Team Jackson will represent Scotland at the World Junior Curling Championships being held in Gangneung, Republic of Korea from 16 – 26 February 2017. Event information about the WJCC 2017 is available on the World Curling Federation website.

All line scores from the championships can be found on the Scottish Curling Junior Championships event page.

Photos: Brian Batttensby

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