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2019 World Junior Curling Championships
#1
This tournament starts in the Kisakalio Sports Institute, Lohja, Finland, tonight with the British teams not being involved until tomorrow. The Semi-finals and Medal Games will take place on Thursday 10 January. This event is a qualifying tournament for the Finals being held in Liverpool from 16th to 23rd February. It's no use skating down to the Pier Head for tickets though, as this one's in Nova Scotia.

Unusually, the qualifying includes the women from Scotland, as well as England. Scotland's representatives are Beth Farmer (Skip), Kirstin Bousie (Third), Katie McMillan (Second) and Nicola Joiner (Lead) with Alternate, Amy Bryce, and they play Spain tomorrow and Poland on Friday. England's team of Sydney Boyd (Skip), Kitty Conlin (Third), Mia Andell (Second) and Anna Howey (Lead) with Alternate, Annabelle Martin, play Australia tomorrow and Kazakhstan on Friday.

In the Mens' competition, England's team of Jotham Sugden (Skip), Felix Price (Third), Archer Woods (Second) and Harry Pinnell (Lead) play Denmark and Poland tomorrow and Chinese Taipei on Friday.
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#2
The women from the home nations got off to a pretty good start yesterday with Scotland beating Spain 8-2 and England winning 11-4 against Australia. They followed that today with England beating Kazahkstan 9-7 and Scotland beating Poland 7-3. Scotland play Austria tomorrow and New Zealand on Sunday. England have Estonia tomorrow and Japan on Sunday.

In the Mens' games, England beat Denmark 6-4 yesterday morning, but later suffered a 5-7 defeat against Poland despite leading 5-3 with 3 ends to go. Today's game against Chinese Taipei saw England demolish their inexperienced opponents by 13-3. England's games tomorrow are against Belarus in the first session and Korea in the last session, with Netherlands being their only game on Sunday.
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#3
England's Men dominated Belarus this morning, winning 12-3 in a bit of a stroll for them, including a count of 5 shots in the 3rd end.

For the Women, Scotland had an equally comfortable stroll, beating Austria 9-1 after only 6 ends.
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#4
Back to the drawing board for the England Men tonight as they lost 5-8 to Korea, but they still sit 3rd in their Group alongside Korea, behind Denmark and France. Plenty of work to be done, but definitely do-able.

The Women from down south did much better, staging a solid recovery by winning the last 3 ends, to beat Estonia 6-5. They are still unbeaten and lead Group B along with Japan and Russia. Scotland are also unbeaten (in Group A), as is Germany.
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#5
It looks like Scotland's Women easily beat New Zealand 11-6, but this was entirely due to an amazing count of 7 shots in the 3rd end by the Scots. The teams scored 3 ends each and the final score only proves how easy it is to make a mess of a game in a few stones. The Scottish team now play Finland tomorrow.

England's Women suffered a 5-7 loss against Japan, courtesy of losing 4 shots in the 4th end. Again, one bad end changed the whole complexion of the game and puts a bit of pressure on them in tomorrow's game against unbeaten Russia.

The English Men had a storming finish to their game against Netherlands, scoring a 4 and a 3 in the last 2 ends to record a 9-5 win. They play France tomorrow night in a game which might decide their progress in the tournament with one game still to play on Tuesday.
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#6
In the Women's Tournament, England were well beaten 2-9 by Russia, but can still qualify in 3rd place if they beat Italy tomorrow afternoon.

The Scottish Women disposed of Finland 10-1, the game really being over after the 2nd end. The unbetaen Scots are guaranteed a Quarter-final place with 1 game still to play which is against 2nd place Germany tomorrow.

Once again the England Men's team did all their work in the last 2 ends, scoring a 1 and a 3 to defeat France 7-5. They now lead their Group with 5 wins and 2 losses along with Spain and Korea, but like their rivals are not yet sure of qualification. Their last game is not until Wednesday morning, giving them a day off tomorrow. As thiat game is against Spain, a win is vital for certain qualification, although a loss might still do, depending on Denmark's results against Korea and Netherlands .
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#7
Scotland's Women ended their Group games with a close 7-5 win over Germany to complete their 100% record. England's Women stuttered a bit in their 5-10 loss against Italy, but managed to hang on to 3rd place to go on to the Quarter-finals. Germany play Czech Republic tomorrow morning for the final place, the winners playing Scotland in the afternoon. The other games are Japan v Poland, Denmark v Hungary and England v Russia.

England's Men play Spain tomorrow morning with the winner gaining qualification, as their nearest challengers Poland and France play against Belarus and Chinese Taipei respectively. In all likelihood there will be a 3-way tie for 3rd place and a nervous, disappointing wait for two of them. Denmark lost both their games, ending their hopes.
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#8
England's Men took control of their game against Spain after the halfway stage and ran out convincing winners by 8-3 to secure their Quarter-final place. Unfortunately, in that game they were never in front against Italy, eventually losing 2-9. The other games resulted in wins for New Zealand (6-4 against Russia), China (7-4 against France) and Korea (5-4 against Turkey after an extra end). Tomorrow morning's Semi-finals are Korea v Italy and China v New Zealand.

In the Women's Quarter-finals, England fell to a 5-10 defeat by Russia to end their tournament. In the other games, Scotland beat Germany 7-4, Japan beat Poland 7-5 and Hungary beat Denmark 3-2, by scoring single shots in the last 3 ends after no shots were scored in the first 3 ends. Tomorrow morning's Semi-finals are Russia v Hungary and Scotland v Japan.

In both Championships, the winners will play in the Gold/Silver games and losers in the Bronze/SFA games in the afternoon. The 3 Medallists will then qualify for the main Championships in February.

Amazingly enough, I came across these photos of the English and Scottish Juniors by accident on Facebook.
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As far as names are concerned, your guess is as good as mine. The only one I know is Amy Bryce of Kelso who is on the far right in the Scottish team. If you think they look young, you should see some of the other teams, who have players who look as though they are yet to reach their teens!
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#9
Headline News
Scotland have won the World Junior Women's B Championships, after beating Japan in the Semi-final by 6 shots to 5 and then Russia 5-3 in the Final, scoring 3 consecutive single shots to end the game. Japan beat Hungary 6-5 in the Bronze Medal game, despite scoring only 3 of the 8 ends.

The Men's event was won by New Zealand, beating Italy 8-4 mainly due to scoring 4 shots in the 5th end. The Bronze Medal was won by China, beating Korea by 6-4.

The medallists now go on to the main Championships in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, in February.
WOMEN
GOLD - Scotland
SILVER - Russia
BRONZE - Japan

MEN
GOLD - New Zealand
SILVER - Italy
BRONZE - China
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#10
Competition Update
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An interesting logo for these Championships, seemingly featuring a curling stone stuck on a squeezed-out bit of toothpaste.
No doubt it's an inspired piece of advertising, but it feels as though the organisers are running out of sensible ideas, resorting to childish nonsense.

These Championships are being held at The Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, starting on Saturday 16 February and ending on Saturday 23 February. There will be 18 sessions of round-robin play that will determine the top-four rankings. After this both Women’s and Men’s semi-finals will take place on the evening of Friday 22 February, with the medal games being staged the following day. In addition to the awarding of gold, silver and bronze medals, every year all the players vote in the Women’s and Men’s Sportsmanship Awards, for the player of their own gender who best exemplifies the spirit of curling.

In the Women's event, Scotland are represented by Lisa Davie (Skip), Kirsty Barr (Third and Vice-skip), Annabel Skuse (Second), Ema Barr, (Lead) and Beth Farmer (Alternate). The full list of entrants in order of ranking are Canada, Sweden, China, Norway, United States, Korea, Switzerland, Scotland, Russia and Japan. Look out for Korea to mount a serious challenge to Canada, Sweden and Norway.

Scotland have a tough start on Sunday with games against Canada and Korea.

For the Men, Scotland's team is Ross Whyte (Skip), Duncan McFadzean (Third), James Craik (Second and Vice-skip), Euan Kyle (Lead) and Ryan McCormack (Alternate). Their opponents in ranking order will be Canada, Switzerland, United States, Germany, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, Italy and China. Both Canada and Scotland should be there or thereabouts with Switzerland and USA close behind.

There will be one session on Saturday featuring Sweden v Scotland. The Scots play Germany on Sunday.
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