Well here we are at the end of another season and it seems to have been an awfully long one – and maybe it has – the European Mixed in September to the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles in late April mean that the season now stretches for a full seven months and a lot has happened in between.
Our teams returned from St Paul quietly satisfied that they had done a good job. The men were a bit disappointed that they had just failed to beat Australia in the quarterfinal and were more disappointed when they discovered that their draw shot challenge distance relegated them below Scotland in the final standings, even though they had beaten them in round robin play. The quirk of the system is that all losing quarterfinalists, while they all reached the same stage, are ranked on their DSC distances acquired during pre-game practice sessions for the round-robin games.
This also led to the women being ranked eleventh below Russia even though they had beaten them in the round robin. Ironically if New Zealand had lost their last game then we would have been ranked above Russia as we beat them, but the NZ victory over Japan brought them level on two wins with Russia and England, and since each had beaten one of the others the DSC came into play to decide the ranking!
Also, our Mixed Doubles pair of John Sharp and Jane Clark were disappointed that they had let slip a couple of opportunities to win from a leading position, but such is the nature of the format that big leads can disappear in relatively few ends.
And I will only mention it once but we cannot find any other instance in International Championship play where England beat Scotland twice in one week. No further comment.
So, looking back over the season from an English point of view, on an International front it has been disappointing – a fourth place in the European Mixed being the highlight. Poor performances from our teams in the Europeans in December left us as far away from World Championship play as we have ever been recently.
However the performance of our junior women in the European Junior Challenge in January and the emergence of a junior men’s team shows promise for the future which we shall try and maintain with a structured coaching and development programme.
Domestically of course the news was dominated by the uncertainty around the Four Nations with respect to the Scottish representation. As far as we are concerned that is water under the bridge now but I would love to be able to attend the RCCC AGM in June to hear how much the members make it an issue. Unfortunately other domestic appointments make my attendance impossible but I will no doubt hear feedback from those who do attend.
Fenton’s Rink in Kent continues to flourish and will re-open in September for an eighth season, while there is news that ice time has been offered to Preston Curling Club at Blackburn. Ice Sheffield is seeking to develop a curling pathway and to form a club, while Stephen Hinds is pressing ahead with plans for a rink North West of London near Chalfont St Giles. Unfortunately Solihull appears to have been a dead end and the local interest we had there seems to have dried up.
I hope that you have found these Toothy Tales to have been of interest throughout the year – they have been less frequent than I would have liked but other pressures have limited their production.
Have a great summer and hopefully we will all come back refreshed in the Autumn ready for another season of the world’s friendliest sport.