SCOTTISH CHALLENGE STRENGTHENED IN BID FOR FURTHER SUCCESS IN CANADA
Team Muirhead will be joined by a strong contingent of compatriots as they look to build on their flying start to the season when they contest the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard Trophy in Ontario this week (4-8 September).
Returning to the ice just two days after claiming the Oakville Fall Classic a short trip down the Ontario coast, the rink led by former world champion Eve Muirhead will be joined by the reigning Scottish champions Team Jackson, who are making their first appearance of the new season.
“We are looking forward to our three weeks of competitions out here in Canada,” said their skip Sophie Jackson.
“It is nice to get back into action again after a long spell of training over the summer and we are enjoying spending time together again and getting back into the swing of things.”
For Jackson and team-mates Naomi Brown, Mili Smith and Sophie Sinclair, it will also be their first tournament working with new coach David Aitken who is similarly keen to see the benefits of their hard work in the close season.
“We started pre-season training at the beginning of July which seems like such a long time ago, so we can’t wait to get going into our first event,” said Aitken, who joined the British Curling programme full-time this summer.
“There is a strong field so it will be a great test for all the new work that we’ve done. It’s been my first few months working with the team, so its early days, but I’m really excited about the potential we’ve got and we’ve got a great opportunity to test ourselves against some of the top Canadian and International teams. We aim to learn a lot and use that experience to build on the strong finish that the team had at the end of last season.”
In the men’s event at the Oakville Fall Classic the lone Scottish contenders were Team Bryce, who reached the semi-finals, but they are joined this week by the top two Scottish teams in the world rankings, national and European champions Team Mouat and Team Paterson, who claimed Grand Slam success in Canada last season at the Boost National event.
Mouat’s rink won the Stu Sells two years ago and after missing out on the chance to defend their title last season, they are keen to build on their third-placed finish in their only outing of the season so far, at the Baden Masters.
“Our first event in Baden was good for us and we had some really nice performances to start our season. It has definitely built our excitement to get back to Canada and hopefully have some good performances out here.
“The two week trip ahead will be tough with very strong fields at both the Stu Sells and Shorty Jenkins, but we look forward to the challenge ahead.”
Ross Paterson’s men also reached the knockout stages in Baden, going out in the quarter-finals there and they are similarly excited at the prospect of their first trans-Atlantic outing of the new season.
“We love to come to Canada,” he said. “We enjoyed some success here last year and we are happy to be back here to take on two more events on the Tour.
“Last year we got to the semi-finals of the Shorty Jenkins and it’s an event that we’ve had success in the last couple of years now, so we’re really looking forward to playing there again.
“The fields for both these events this year are particularly strong, so we know they’re going to be challenging, but we’re looking forward to it. All the top teams are here looking to score points and we’ll be doing the same.
“We knew there were risks involved in that but we exposed ourselves to the top teams early as a team and it probably progressed us as a team, so we’re still in that position.”
Please click here for more information and results from the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard Trophy.
Images: © Graeme Hart