BRITISH CURLING TEAMS BACK IN OVERSEAS ACTION
British Curling’s Team Jackson are back in competitive action after retaining their European Junior Curling Tour Braehead title last weekend and will hope to carry momentum from that win into the International ZO Women’s Tournament at Wetzikon, which gets underway tomorrow (10-12 November).
Although this particular environment will be a new experience for the Performance Foundation team, they have previously stepped up from the Juniors to compete on the Women’s curling tour. They demonstrated their capacity to make that transition earlier this season at the Stockholm Ladies, reaching the quarter finals before losing out to Switzerland’s Team Paetz who went on to take that title.
Skip Sophie Jackson said ahead of the tournament: “None of us have ever been to Wetzikon, so it’s nice to go to a new facility and also to figure out the ice conditions in a place we have never been in. As we are mid-season we are looking to see what we can do performance-wise against some of the top ladies teams, as this is another top ladies competition.
“It is another challenge for us which we feel ready for and we will be putting lots of things into practice and learning lots along the way with regards to playing more experienced teams,” she added.
Team Jackson will be joined by two other Scottish rinks in the 24 team line up, Olympic bronze medallist Claire Hamilton will be skipping her team at the event along with domestic rivals Team Fleming, who made it to semi final of the Women’s Masters in Basel when the quartet last competed together.
Skip Hannah Fleming said: “We have had a three week block of training which has allowed us to reflect on areas we want to improve on for this tournament and it is also the first time we have been to Wetzikon, so we are looking forward to seeing what the event has to offer. Our aim as always is to continue putting in good team performances in order to gain points on the World Curling Tour.”
Claire Hamilton has been utilising the expertise from fellow Olympian David Murdoch in order to fully prepare for this tournament. Hamilton said: “There is a strong field this weekend so we are looking forward to another challenging event.
“We have been working alongside our team coach David Aitken and technical coach David Murdoch at the NCA in preparation for these competitions. We got as far as the quarter finals last weekend in Estonia and we are aiming to keep building on the progress we have made so far as a new team.”
Team Brewster, who reached the quarter finals at the Ashley Home Store Classic in Penticton last weekend will be competing in the Original 16 Bonspiel in Calgary. Team Mouat who won back to back titles at the Stu Sells Trophy and Oakville Fall Classic in their first Canadian campaign this season are also in the line-up, along with Team Stirling Gin, whose skip Greg Drummond said: “We are relishing the opportunity to compete for another two weeks in Canada. It’s imperative for our development that we look to compete at the top Canadian events as much as possible as generally the standard of play is very high and will encourage us to develop the strategy aspect of the game,” he said.
Drummond is also savouring the prospect of another battle with the team he and his rink’s lead Michael Goodfellow faced in the Sochi Olympic final in 2014.
“We accepted an invite to play in the Grand Slam of Curling in Sault St Marie which will be the biggest test for our team so far this season. We are in a pool with the reigning Olympic champions (Team Jacobs) and former world champions (Team Koe) so it’s an exciting prospect to face off against the top teams in the game.”
Please click here for results from the International ZO Womens Tournament (10-12 November)
Please click here for results from the Original 16 Bonspiel (10-12 November)
Please click here for results from the Boost National (14-19 November)
Team Stirling Gin
PHOTOS: Perthshire Picture Agency – Graeme Hart