OLYMPIANS START THEIR 2018 CAMPAIGN AT MERCURE CITY OF PERTH MASTERS
Team GB standard bearers Team Smith will begin their final preparations for their Winter Olympic debut at PyeongChang next month, when the Mercure City of Perth Masters gets underway this week (4-7 January 2018).
Smith’s rink which largely hails from Perthshire and comprises his younger brother Cammy at lead, as well as Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and Glen Muirhead as alternate can rely on plenty of local support as they take on the world class high quality field assembled for Scotland’s illustrious international curling event, providing a great opportunity for curling fans to witness most of the teams that will compete in the forthcoming Winter Games.
Kyle Smith who skipped his team – which is ninth in the world rankings - to a silver medal at the recent European Championships and finished third at the Karuizawa International at the end of last year is keen to get back onto international standard competition ice.
“We can’t wait to get started at Perth. It’s a rink the team all thoroughly enjoy playing in, and one of the best events in Europe to compete in. Paul (Martin, the venue’s ice-maker) always makes a good job of the ice, so we know what to expect when we start,” he said.
“It will be good to get going again after time off for Christmas and the new year to recharge the batteries and we are hoping to find some of the form we had in our last two competitions of 2017 at the Europeans and the Karuizawa International where we performed and worked well together.”
One of a magnificent seven Olympic teams in the line-up, Smith will also be challenged for the title by a number of domestic rivals from the British Curling elite programme.
Boost National champions Team Mouat, who entered the record books as the first Scottish men’s team to claim a Grand Slam title and have shot up to 16th in the world rankings in their first season together, are also ready to test their recent good form which has seen them claim three titles in Canada this season, as well as finishing their year on a high after they won the Dumfries Challenger Series.
Skip Bruce Mouat said: “The Perth Masters is always a great way to start off a new year of curling. The guys and I will be looking to continue the success we had towards the end of last year and it’s nice to see a number of the Olympic teams playing as well, so it will be a strong event”.
British Curling’s Team Bryce as well as Team Drummond skipped by Sochi silver medallist Greg Drummond will also be competing at Perth, along with fellow Olympic silver medallist Tom Brewster who will hope to skip his team to a successful title defence with a different team this year.
“I am looking forward to returning to the Perth Masters to defend last year’s victory. It’s always an event I enjoy and have had great success at it over the years and I’m proud to have the most title wins at this event. The field is always strong and a good test for any team,” said Brewster.
“This will be the start of our build up to the Scottish Championships in Perth and we will be using it as to re-familiarise ourselves with the conditions there.”
In a field which also includes seven of the world’s top 20 ranked teams other notable participants include Sweden’s European champions Team Edin (world ranked 2), Switzerland’s Team De Cruz (7), Norway’s Team Ulsrud (10) and Team Walstad (20) and Canada’s Team Simmons (17), as well as former Scottish champion Ewan MacDonald, a multiple world and European champion.
It will be the 42nd hosting of Scotland’s largest Bonspiel and its importance in the calendar was acknowledged by British Curling’s Performance Director Graeme Thompson who said:”This event continues to attract the highest calibre of competition for the UK’s biggest curling prize fund. is a great opportunity for fans of curling to witness Olympic curling teams in action in Scotland before they assemble in South Korea for the pinnacle event of our sport”.
Admission to the Perth Masters is free and the World Curling Federation will be webcasting some of the games over the four days of competition.
Please click here to access the Perth Masters results and information and the event programme.
PHOTOS: (above) Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart (below) Alan Peebles Photography.
Additional information about the Perth Masters:
- 12 nations are competing: Teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Scotland will be represented.
- The competition format is triple knock out. All teams start in the A road and are guaranteed at least three games and cannot be eliminated until they have lost 3 games. Teams who keep winning progress directly to the quarter finals (two places are available for A road qualifiers). A first loss results in a team being relegated to the B road. If they win all subsequent games they progress to the quarter finals (two places are available for B road qualifiers). Teams who are defeated in the A and B road are relegated to the C road where the life and death of the tournament takes place. Teams who win progress to the quarter finals (four places are available for C road qualifiers), teams that lose exit the tournament. From the quarter finals onwards the tournament is a straight knock out.