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2018 World Seniors Championships
My season is long gone now, but the Championships keep rolling on. This one is being held in Oestersund, Sweden from 21 to 28 April in tandem with the Mixed Doubles. Swedish teams are definitely in the ascendancy recently with the Women's Olympic Gold and the World Women's Silver won by Anna Hasselborg, the Men's Olympic Silver and the World Men's Gold won by Niklas Edin and the Silver medals in the Women's World Juniors from Isabella Wranaa.

The women have been divided into two groups as follows:
Group A: Australia, Canada, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, United States
Group B: England, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland.
England's Women are good friends from my local ice rink and comprise Angela Wilcox (alternate), Debbie Higgins (lead), Helen Forbes (second), Joan Reed (third) and Judith Dixon (skip). Well, they would be good friends if they didn't keep beating me!  Tongue Ireland are represented by lead Clare McCormick, second Christina Graham, third Louise Kerr and skip Marie O'Kane. Scotland have lead Morna Aitken, second Vicky Gumley, third Fran Stretton and skip Susan Kesley.

The opening games for the Women are:-
Tomorrow - Scotland v Finland, England v Ireland.
Sunday - Italy v Ireland, Latvia v Scotland, New Zealand v Ireland, Switzerland v England.

The four men's Groups are:
Group A: Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden
Group B: Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey
Group C: Croatia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, United States
Group D: Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Poland, New Zealand, Wales

The Men's games are:-
Tomorrow - Wales v Japan, England v Germany (guaranteed to go to an extra end?), Finland v Ireland, Switzerland v England, Scotland v Netherlands.
Sunday - Ireland v Latvia, Wales v New Zealand, Scotland v Australia, Denmark v Wales.
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Ritchie, what are your medal predictions and how will the home countries fare??
In the Women's Championships, Scotland have a good recent record, but Canada and Sweden must be the definite favourites with USA never far away. England did well above expectations 2 years ago, finishing 4th, and with 3 of the same players back again this year, shouldn't be discounted. There's usually a surprise package in the last 4 and I would go for England again with Ireland being considered outsiders.

For the Men, Muirhead senior is skipping for Scotland and is in with a good chance of a medal, although Scotland have not appeared in the prize list for about 10 years. Without being too boring, Canada and Sweden must again be favourites with Sweden going for a hat-trick of wins over Canada in the Gold Medal match. Ireland have a very experienced team who finished with the Bronze Medal in the last 2 Championships and will provide us with an upset or two along the way. Unfortunately England and Wales shouldn't cause the trophy inscriber any trouble.
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Finally here are photographs of the Women's Home Nations teams.

[Image: 2ithkdz.jpg]

[Image: 261j85w.jpg]

[Image: rbxi6r.jpg]

The Men's teams are not all up on the WCF website yet, but hopefully they will get there soon.
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The results so far for the Senior Men are Wales 9 Japan 4, England 3 Germany 11, Finland 7 Ireland 6, Switzerland 11 England 1, Scotland 9 Netherlands 1, Ireland 4 Latvia 3, Wales 2 New Zealand 7.

And for the Senior Women they are Scotland 6 Finland 2, England 11 Ireland 4, Italy 6 Ireland 7.

On Monday the Men's games for the Home Nations are England v Belgium, Norway v Ireland and Wales v Israel.

Monday's schedule sees the Women's games of Italy v Scotland, England v New Zealand, Ireland v Switzerland and Latvia v England.

To complete the Mug's Gallery, the photos of the Senior Men are now available from the WCF website.

Scotland - Lead: Hugh Aitken, Second: David Hay, Third: Norman Brown, Skip: Gordon Muirhead
[Image: 106fzvp.jpg]

England - Lead: Alastair Fyfe, Second: Stephen Amann, Third: Michael Spain, Skip: John Brown
[Image: idt53a.jpg]

Ireland - Alternate: David Hume, Lead: David Whyte, Second: Neil Fyfe (Alastair's brother), Third: Bill Gray, Skip: Johnjo Kenny
[Image: i4gtw1.jpg]

Wales - Lead: Gary Waddell, Second: Richard Pougher, Third: Andrew Tanner, Skip: Adrian Meikle (Skip)
[Image: 2uti2oz.jpg]
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Tonight's update reveals a mixed bag for the Senior Men with Scotland 5 Australia 7, Denmark 8 Wales 1, England 11 Belgium 5 (after England were 1-5 down halfway through the game!), Norway 5 Ireland 3, Wales 5 Israel 4. None of the Men's teams have a record better than 50%.

The Women were considerably better with Latvia 5 Scotland 7, New Zealand 5 Ireland 7 (Ireland were 1-5 down with 2 ends to go !), Switzerland 10 England 2, Italy 4 Scotland 7, England 14 New Zealand 1, Ireland 7 Switzerland 12 and Latvia 5 England 6. The upshot of these results is that in Group B, Scotland and Switzerland lead with 3 wins out of 3 with England close behind on 3 wins out of 4. Ireland are on 2 wins out of 4.

Tomorrow's games for the Men are Hong Kong v Wales, England v Turkey, Slovenia v Scotland and Croatia v Ireland. The Women's games are Scotland v Ireland, England v Finland and Switzerland v Scotland. By tomorrow night we should have a much better idea of any potential non-qualifiers from the Home Nations. With a bit of luck they will do us proud and improve their overnight positions.
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Today's Men's results are Hong Kong 4 Wales 9, England 10 Turkey 4, Slovenia 4 Scotland 8, Croatia 2 Ireland 8. Scotland are only halfway through their programme, but to be sure of qualifying, can't really afford any more defeats. Wales must beat Poland to have even a slim chance of qualifying and Ireland are in the same boat (all hands to the pump!). Unbeaten Norway and Denmark are already sure of progressing out of Ireland's and Wales' Groups.

The Women's results are Scotland 11 Ireland 1, England 5 Finland 6 (England were 5-2 ahead after 5 ends), Switzerland 5 Scotland 4. The Scots are in the best position, but England are only 1 win behind, so which team progresses, if either does, could be down to the local derby in the last session. It's all to play for now, even for Ireland who could sneak up on the rails.

I have a curling AGM tomorrow night, so there might not be a post from me, hence a double session of the remaining games.

Games still to play for the Men
Wednesday - France v England, Ireland v USA, Italy v Scotland, Poland v Wales, Canada v England, Sweden v Scotland.
Thursday - Ireland v Russia, Scotland v Czech Republic. Then it's a matter of waiting on other results in the following 2 sessions.

Games still to play for the Women
Wednesday - Scotland v New Zealand, Ireland v Finland, England v Italy.
Thursday - Ireland v Italy, Scotland v England.
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Senior Men's Results - Croatia 2 Ireland 8, France 5 England 7, Ireland 9 USA 8, Italy 1 Scotland 5, Poland 0 Wales 10, Canada 12 England 3 and Sweden 6 Scotland 1.
Not only did Wales beat Poland, they absolutely hammered them and this win plus results in other games means that Wales in 3rd place now progress to a Qualification Game with 4 wins. Well done after I as good as wrote them off! New Zealand have also progressed from this Group.
Scotland are teetering on the brink with 1 game left to play - a definite must-win-and-fingers-crossed game for them. Australia and Sweden have qualified from this Group.
Ireland are in 2nd place alongside Latvia and USA in Group B with 1 game to play and still have a chance of qualifying. Another must-win-and-fingers-crossed game in store.
England have now completed their games and with 3 wins have not done enough to go on to the next stage. Switzerland, Canada and Germany are through from England's Group.

Senior Women's Results - Scotland 8 New Zealand 2, Ireland 2 Finland 9 and England 8 Italy 4.
Scotland's win has put them through from Group B along with Switzerland with England in 3rd place requiring another win to be sure, to be sure (Sorry, that's Ireland  Rolleyes ). England are tied with Finland on 4 wins and Ireland on 2 wins have no chance of qualifying. Canada and USA have qualified from Group A.
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Today's Results
Men -
Ireland 5 Russia 6, Scotland 7 Czech Republic 3. The finger-crossing narrowly failed for Ireland as they were beaten after leading all the way until the last end, but still tied with Finland and Latvia in 3rd place. They failed to qualify by less than 12cm in the Draw Shot Challenge and finished in 4th place with Finland going through. But the finger-crossing seemed to work for Scotland as rivals Italy were beaten, meaning Scotland qualified in 3rd place with 4 wins.

Women - Ireland 2 Italy 13, Scotland 11 England 5. Ireland took until the 6th end before they scored and then conceded, finishing in 6th place. Scotland were greatly aided by scoring 6 shots in the 1st end which made life comparatively easy for the rest of the game and ended the Group in 2nd position with 6 wins. England finished in 4th place with 4 wins.

Now that all the Men's Group games have been completed, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland have gone straight into the Quarter-finals. The other 4 teams will be the winners of USA v Finland, Sweden v Germany, Canada v Wales and New Zealand v Scotland.

In the Women’s Semi-finals, USA will play the winner of Canada v Finland and Switzerland will play the winner of Scotland v Sweden.

The Men's Qualification Games and Quarter-finals and the Women's Qualification Games will take place tomorrow. The Semi-finals and Medal Games will be on Saturday.
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Now we're getting in to the business end of the competitions and the Home Nations are hanging in there, but only just.

In the Women's event, Scotland were defeated 5-6 by Sweden in the Qualification Game. Canada beat Finland 10-6 in the other game, making tomorrow's Semi-finals USA v Sweden and Switzerland v Canada.

The Welsh Men put up a great fight against Canada in their Qualification Game, but were eventually beaten 3-5. Scotland fared much better in their Qualification Game, beating New Zealand 7-4 to progress to the Quarter-finals. They repeated the dose against Australia, this time winning by 6-4. They now go on to tomorrow's Semi-finals to play Canada, with USA playing Sweden in the other half of the draw.
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