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2018 World Junior Curling Championships
As this competition starts on 3 March in the Granite City (Aberdeen if you don't know) using granite stones, you might think I'm a bit previous in putting this thread up now. But no, the B Division of this Championship starts tomorrow in Lohja, Finland with the 3 medallists to be decided on 10 January making up the full complement of teams for Aberdeen.  My good friends from Englandshire will be interested in this because they have teams in both the Women's and Men's events.

The full list of teams is as follows:-
Group A
: Australia, Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Italy, Norway and Romania
Group B: Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Poland, Spain, Slovenia and Turkey
Group C: Austria, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and Slovakia
Group A: Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Slovenia
Group B: Denmark, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Turkey
Group C: Austria, China, Czech Republic, England, Hong Kong, Latvia, Russia and Slovakia

England are represented by ........, well 4 women and 4 men is the only thing I've managed to find out! No news on their FB page nor website of players, qualification games, anything!  Huh If and when I do manage to track down some news, I'll get it posted on here.

Scotland, Canada, USA, Sweden, Korea, Switzerland and Russia have already qualified for the 2018 Women's Championships. The Men's teams already qualified are Scotland, Canada, USA, Sweden, Korea, Switzerland and Norway.
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Finally some success for me as I've managed to find the names of the English players - no photos yet, but you never know!

Also some success for the English Women's team of Niamh Fenton (lead), Sydney Boyd (second), Kitty Conlin (third) and Sarah Decoine (skip). They defeated Australia by 8-3 after leading 4-3 at the 5th end.

The Men's team fared quite well, but not good enough, losing to China 5-7 after Felix Price (lead), Ben Holley (second), Jotham Sugden (third) and Jake Barker (skip) had led 4-0 at the halfway point.
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Another great win for the English Women as they beat Romania by 6-4. Despite never being in front during the game, England scored 2 single shots in the last 2 ends to take the game to an extra end, scoring 2 shots in the extra end.

The Men again lost a tight game, this time to Hong Kong by 2-4 in a game of single shots.
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Two conceded games from England today, neither of which make for pretty reading.

The Men were beaten 4-9 by Czech Republic in a game where the English team scored 4 ends to Czech Republic's 3! England were 1-1 when they lost a 4 in the 3rd end but came back to 3-5 and promptly lost another 4 in the 6th end. Two slack ends have cost them dearly. They now have lost all their 3 games and must surely be on their way out.

The malaise was transferred to the Women late tonight and they were absolutely hammered 0-13 by Italy. Losing 4, 2 and 3 in the first 3 ends set the tone. However they have won 2 of their 3 games and will still be in with a chance of progressing if they can get back on track tomorrow.

PS - Just to highlight the progress of Italy as an up-and-coming curling nation, the Full Men's Team have qualified for the Olympic Games and the Full Women's Team won Bronze in the recent European Championships.
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And the Women get even worse! The Norwegians had an even more comfortable time of it as England lost 0-16 after only 6 ends. Three minor scores plus 2 fours and a five completed the rout. They made a pretty good recovery in their next game against Hungary, losing only 6-7, but even that has a negative side as they had led 6-4 with 3 ends to go, losing 3 consecutive single shots.

The Men turned around their fortunes after losing 3-4 to Russia in a very tight game, by winning two games in a row. The first by 5-3 against Austria, courtesy of a strong finish, and the second by 5-4 against Latvia, despite hanging on a bit towards the end.

Both teams with only 2 wins have been a little out of their depth in this competition and are still learning at a top level, but will have better chances in the future.
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England's tournament fizzled out earlier today with the Women being beaten 3-7 by Czech Republic in a one-sided game early on with the bouncing Czechs racing into a 7-1 lead after 5 ends. The Men were well beaten 3-8 by Slovakia, mainly due to an inspired performance from the Slovakian skip. Both teams scored 3 ends apiece which probably was a better reflection of the overall game.

The Men did slightly better than last year, but the Women did slightly worse, meaning that next year's draw will be just as unkind as this year's.
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Final results -
Women - GOLD China, SILVER Turkey, BRONZE Norway. They join Scotland, Canada, USA, Sweden, Korea, Switzerland and Russia for the Aberdeen line-up on 3 March.
Men - GOLD China, SILVER Russia, BRONZE Germany. They join Scotland, Canada, USA, Sweden, Korea, Switzerland and Norway.
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Part 2 starts in Aberdeen tomorrow with Scotland as the only UK representatives in both the Men's and Women's competitions. The Semi-final games will be on Friday 9th March with the Medal Games on Saturday 10th March.

The Women are Alternate Sophie Jackson, Lead Leeanne McKenzie, Second Hailey Duff, Third Amy Macdonald and Skip Rebecca Morrison, coached by Tom Andrews.

The Men's team is Alternate Duncan McFadzean, Lead Euan Kyle, Second Fraser Kingan, Third Robin Brydone and Skip Ross Whyte, coached by Alan Hannah.

The Scottish Women have games against Norway and China tomorrow and then play Canada on Sunday. The Men start against Norway tomorrow and play Germany and Canada on Sunday.

Presumably all the competitors have arrived safely in Aberdeen, despite all the travel chaos caused by a few snow showers and a slight drop in temperature. Whistle
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The Scottish Women had a narrow 6-7 defeat against Norway in their opening game yesterday. They then later defeated China 4-3 in a low scoring game, and came onto a positive game against Canada today, storming into a 6-0 lead after 3 ends and keeping the game tight to run out 8-4 winners.  Tomorrow sees them play Switzerland in the morning and Turkey at night.

The Men had an even better start yesterday, beating Norway 8-6, followed by a victory against Germany 7-2 this morning. In the last ten minutes or so, they defeated Canada 6-5 with 2 shots in the last end. They play Russia tomorrow afternoon.
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Sophie Jackson, Leeanne McKenzie, Hailey Duff, Amy Macdonald and Rebecca Morrison
[Image: 1975p1.jpg]

The Women are still struggling today, as they lost 6-9 to Switzerland after an extra end, despite being 5-1 up after 6 ends. They then lost 5 shots in the next 3 ends to put themselves under pressure. Against bottom placed Turkey, they currently lead 4-1 at the halfway point. It could be a good session for the Scots as the other 5 teams tied on 2 wins and 2 defeats are losing in their games, with the exception of China. Let's hope for an equally positive update in the next 2 hours.

Duncan McFadzean, Fraser Kingan, Robin Brydone and Ross Whyte (Euan Kyle missed the photo shoot)
[Image: oq9mzc.jpg]

However the Men continued their good start to the competition winning by 10-3 against Russia, mainly courtesy of 5 shots in the 3rd end to put them in total control and are unbeaten after 4 games.
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