Euro Tour Toppers Team Jackson Take on World B Whilst Team Smith Start New Year at Grand Slam
Team Jackson brought in the New Year in Sweden as they prepared for their first competitive outing of 2017 at the World Junior B Championships in Ostersund, which starts tomorrow (3-10 January 2017).
The team that topped the European Junior Curling Tour rankings at the end of last year must now shift their focus to dominating some of the world’s best young curlers and where only the top three teams in the men’s and women’s tournaments will qualify for the World Junior Championships hosted in Gangneung in the Republic of Korea next month (19-26 February).
Ahead of this week’s opening match against Spain their skip Sophie Jackson, who is in her final year of a sports coaching and development honours degree at the University of West of Scotland in Ayr said: “Over the festive period we tried to relax a bit and catch some downtime with our families, as the next few weeks is an extremely busy and important time for us.
“We are all looking forward to the challenge that the World B's represents, clearly there is a lot at stake at these championships. We would all love to re-qualify Scotland for the World Junior A's but we will be taking it one step at a time and trying not to let the stakes rest too heavy on us.”
Team Jackson took part in a training camp at Braehead in between Christmas and New Year enabling all teams on the Scottish and British Curling programme to have access to ice time and coaching to ensure they are fully prepared for the first events of the year.
Team Jackson’s coach Cate Brewster said: “We have been training over the festive season and have had a really good season so far, but it has all been about building and training for these Championships and qualifying Scotland for the World Championships in Korea.”
Jackson’s rink comprises Sophie Sinclair, Naomi Brown and Mili Smith whose siblings Kyle and Cammy Smith start their New Year campaign at the Grand Slam of Curling’s Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford (3-8 January 2017).
Team Smith which also includes Thomas Muirhead and Kyle Waddell hope to continue their good form this season after winning the Oakville OCT Classic and reaching a Grand Slam final at just the second attempt at the Tour Challenge in Cranbrook, losing out to European Champions Team Edin.
“We are looking forward to another Grand Slam. The team has had a well deserved break after a very hectic first half of the season and we are coming into this second half of the season with a good vibe and focused on continuing the momentum we built up in the first half of the season,” said their coach Viktor Kjell.
Team Smith head into 2017 vying for involvement in next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, along with Scottish champions, Team Brewster and their skip Tom Brewster’s fellow Sochi silver medallists Team Murdoch.
“To start the New Year off with a tough tournament in Canada is exactly what we want and it’s a good lead up to the Scottish Championships in February,” said Kjell.
“I'm excited to see what 2017 has to bring and look forward to a great finish to the season.”
For more information and results from the World B Junior Curling Championships please click here.
For results from the Meridian Canadian Open please click here.
|Team Jackson||Team Smith|
|Sophie Jackson||Kyle Smith|
|Naomi Brown||Thomas Muirhead|
|Mili Smith||Kyle Waddell|
|Sophie Sinclair||Cammy Smith|
|Laura Barr (alternate)|
Photos: Tom J Brydone.