SCOTS BOUND FOR CURLING CHAMPIONS TOUR IN BASEL
Team GB curlers Team Smith are part of a strong British Curling contingent bound for the Swiss Cup in Basel which gets underway this weekend (28 September – 1 October).
The Olympic representatives reached the semi final last year where they were beaten by world champions Team Edin who went on to claim the Swiss Cup and will be looking to defend their title this year.
Team Smith’s Coach Viktor Kjell, a former member of Team Edin, said: “It is great to be back in Basel which is one of the bigger tournaments for us in Europe. It is a strong field with all the top teams in Europe, together with a few North American teams which will make for an interesting weekend.
“We have worked hard over the last week and hope we can carry on with the momentum we built up in Canada. As we are getting closer to the European Championships we are now working on fine details in our game and this will be a good test.”
Team Mouat are also back in action and will be hoping to continue their exceptional start to the season which saw them win back to back titles in Canada at the Stu Sells Trophy followed by the Biosteel Oakville Fall Classic in Ontario.
Skip Bruce Mouat said: “We have had a good few weeks back in the National Curling Academy working on a few things that we picked up on in Canada. The guys and I are looking forward to getting back into competition. The field in Basel looks really competitive so it will be another good test for us as we look to continue to climb the world rankings.”
This year’s 32 team field also contains the rebranded Team Stirling Gin, which is now skipped by Greg Drummond and includes fellow Olympian Michael Goodfellow as well as Ross Paterson and Gregor Cannon. The other members of the Sochi Olympic silver medal winning quintet, Tom Brewster and Scott Andrews, are meanwhile competing in Basel along with their new team mates Duncan Menzies and Alasdair Schreiber.
Drummond, who will be hoping to go one stage further at this tournament said: “This weekend in Basel we are looking to build on our previous events and challenge ourselves to perform in the strongest event on the Curling Champions Tour (CCT).”
Tom Brewster a former champion at the CCT Swiss Cup in 2014 is also keen to test his team against the high calibre assembly.
“I always look forward to Basel as it’s the best event on the European tour. The ice is always good and the hospitality first class. The organisers work really hard to look after the players and the event always runs like clockwork - pardon the pun!” joked Brewster.
“This will be our third event as a new team. The first couple in Canada were a chance to feel our way into the season. We identified areas of our game that required work with the close help of David Murdoch and Misha Botting. Since returning from Canada we have been working on these areas and will look for improvement in Basel to see how we have progressed.”
Scotland has the highest representation at the event after host Switzerland which has 11 teams competing. The 21 foreign teams competing includes Canada’s Team Gushue who has claimed the title four times and Norway’s Team Ulsrud who will be aiming for a hat-trick.
Elsewhere Scotland’s women are back in action with Team Hamilton - skipped by Sochi bronze medallist Claire Hamilton - continuing their Canadian campaign at the Avonair Cash Spiel in Edmonton. Meanwhile Team Fleming and Team Jackson are competing at the CCT event in Stockholm.
Skip Hannah Fleming said: “Stockholm will be another challenging event with a strong field ahead of us. We are really pleased with our preparations and have crammed in a lot of work since returning from our Canadian trip, so feel we are ready to take on whatever is thrown at us in Stockholm.
“Last year at this event we came second, so we are hoping to go one better this time!”
Team Stirling Gin
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PHOTOS: Perthshire Picture Agency – Graeme Hart.