NEWLY CROWNED WORLD CHAMPION HARDIE GETS SET FOR COMPETITIVE ACTION
British Curling’s newest World Champion Grant Hardie returns to the venue where he skipped his rink to the World Mixed Championship title last weekend to compete with his regular team mates in the Curling Masters in Champery, which gets underway tomorrow (19-22 October).
Claiming that World title represented a major triumph for the 25 year old, who off the ice has also celebrated a further achievement, having recently graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Glasgow-based curler is now keen to resume his role as third for Team Mouat on the same ice.
Hardie said: "It's been an amazing few weeks in Champery. It's one of the nicest places to visit on Tour and to be able to win the World Mixed Championship there was very special.
“Having had a few days off to rest and recover, the focus quickly turns to continuing the good season our men's team is having. We have clearly not had the chance to train together in recent weeks but we're very excited to get back competing in another strong World Curling Tour event.”
Team mate Bobbie Lammie also had a good weekend, reaching the final of the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championships with his partner Rachel Hannen, further underlining the excellent form Team Mouat is carrying into this weekend following the rink’s title wins at the Stu Sells and Oakville Classic tournaments in Canada.
Their skip Bruce Mouat, who also took part in that Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship where he and Gina Aitken were knocked out in the quarter-finals as they defended a title they had won in four of the previous five years, is consequently looking forward to getting them all together again.
“It's exciting to get to play another high quality European event. The team and I will be looking to continue the form we had at the start of the season. With Grant winning a World title and Bobby reaching a Scottish final last weekend we know that they are on form and hopefully we can all string together a few more wins,” he said.
Drummond said: “I haven't played in Champery since 2012 so I am really looking forward to the event. I have heard some glowing reports about the recent Worlds held in the same arena so everyone is excited about the prospect of playing on some excellent ice. As a team, we are in a good place and look forward to the challenge that lies ahead this week.”
The event has attracted a high calibre field and Team Brewster will take on European Champions Team Edin from Sweden – who are defending their title - in their opening match, with skip Tom Brewster admitting that: “We have a tough start, but it will be a good gauge to see how far we have come since the start of the season. Training has gone very well and everybody looks in good shape.”
The Team GB representatives for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are meanwhile across the Atlantic preparing for their respective events. Team Muirhead who won the HDF Shoot Out title the last time they were in Canada resume their tour in Portage at the Canad Inns Women’s Classic (20-23 October).
Olympic bronze medallist skip Eve Muirhead said:“We are really looking forward to competing again in Canada. For this trip we have Tony Zummack our team’s technical coach, Kelly our alternate who will be with us at every event from now on leading into the Olympic Games and our tactical coach Glenn Howard, who will be with us at our first event in Portage. Glenn reached the final of the Canad Inns men’s event last weekend, so hopefully we will get some good insight and tips!!!!
“The field is as always very tough but taking each game at a time and focusing on what we can control and what we’ve put into practice should put us in good stead.
“We kick off with Amber Holland, who has previously been Canadian champion in the first game at 10am on Friday (local time) and it is triple knockout format.”
Meanwhile, fellow Olympians Team Smith will get the latest leg of their Canadian tour underway tomorrow in the ARENA Challenge de Curling de Gatineau, at the Buckingham Curling Club in Quebec (19-22 October).
Skip Kyle Smith said;”The boys are looking forward to getting back into competitive action after a couple weeks at home after Basel.
“There is a good strength of field here in Gatineau, quite a number of top 20 teams playing so we are looking forward to getting started and putting some good performances together.
“Some of us have actually played in Gatineau before, so we are hopeful the ice will be of a good standard again so we can give ourselves some high quality games in preparation for the Europeans in a few weeks time.
Team Stirling Gin
Please click here for the draw/results from CCT Champery.
PHOTOS: Perthshire Picture Agency – Graeme Hart