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Also in this issue… Vera Pezer’s Smart Curling ‘Mental training is important in all sports, but it is crucial in the game of curling’

Interview with ECA Secretary Nigel Patrick

Looking back to Edinburgh

Juniors in Finland

News from Preston

Ski & Snowboard Show

Berkshire Curling Centre

Senior’s Review



Editor’s Note Apologies that some of the articles in this edition are a little outdated. There has been so much to keep track of and what an exciting few months to the season it’s been for English curling! There’s even more fantastic English curling news coming up in the next edition of the newsletter so make sure you keep your eyes open for that too. 1

Front page


Contents and contacts


President’s Message

4-5 Representing England ECC 2013 6 Representing England EJCC 2014 7 Interview with Secretary Nigel Patrick 8 Ski & Snowboard Show 9


ASSISTANT EDITOR: Rosaleen Boardman


Ice Cuttings Looking back to Edinburgh and book review Preston Club News


Berkshire Curling Centre

tos etc., all welcome


Ice Age Senior Championships review



Articles, info, cartoons, pho-

Please send to:

Front page photo from Le Gruyère European Curling Championships website gallery.


Apart from Scottish club games to fill in a few available slots, it was then the I'Anson last weekend at Stranraer, which was a superb weekend of great curling and even better socialising. Both the English and the Welsh had out their Stavanger European Championship teams out for practice and both managed to peel against the English President’s crack Preston rink. In spite of yours truly spectacularly failing to make a last shot draw to beat the Welsh—you should have seen me in my Heyday! What a great weekend, so well organised and played in great curling spirit.



The run up to Christmas will have to wait because Wednesday sees the start of the National Masters at Greenacres—the English well represented by Michael Sutherland and is followed by the Edinburgh Seniors International. Then a weeks respite before heading down to the deep south to Fentons for the English Senior Playdowns. The winners going to represent England in the WCF Seniors in exotic Dumfries in April. We are hoping we will have an English Senior Ladies rink playing in that as well. Still trying to round up a few stragglers.

I don’t know whether it is the unseasonal weather or an age related thing but time seems to have just hurtled past this year. I find it difficult to believe that I am writing this with Christmas only 5 weeks away, and still so much to squeeze in before the busy festive season. The Duncan Stewart Competition was held at Murrayfield this year. All in attendance enjoyed the competition and the social side very much, in spite of the rather anti social playing times which precluded any organised evening function on the Saturday night. Next year we will endeavour to expand the experience a bit to encourage more participants in what is essentially a very good weekend.

After the festive season we have the 4 Nations weekend 18th/19th January to look forward to. John Brown is compiling a list of all those wishing to play in what is always a very competitive and friendly weekend. This year it is hosted by the Irish, at Hamilton, and a guaranteed belter of a weekend. Get in early for a ringside seat.

I had to miss a couple of Preston club games at the end of October due to my involvement of John Sharp's seniors team. I play third to John Sharp and was invited to play in the European Senior Invitational at Greenacres. 18 men’s teams and 12 ladies teams from all over Europe competed in this event and the team lists read like a ‘who's who’ of curling. To play alongside teams like these is a wonderful experience, (who cares about the results). Unfortunately we could not find enough available senior English ladies to accept their offered place. Perhaps next year, or maybe we will have to work a bit on our advance warning of such opportunities. I am still having difficulty in realising that there is just no ice availability south of the Border. This was driven home rather forcefully when I asked Andrew Woolston if he had been playing much this year, 8 games he replied. And it occurred to me that I had just played 9 games in 7 days. Stephen Hinds, can you please hurry Bracknell along! Judging by the number of interested responses from those coming along to try curling at the Ski and Snowboarding show we will have no trouble filling curling rinks.

Perhaps it is just the frantic pace of life that makes time seem to pass so quickly. The plus side is you do not have time to grow old. I will now close with all my best wishes— have a great Christmas, when it comes. May Santa bring you as many draws to the button as you might need for the remainder of the season, and the health to enjoy many a game with friends old and new in the future. And a Happy New Year to everyone both on and off the ice. Tommy Campbell El Presidente


A word from

John Brown...

England’s ladies team of Anna Fowler (22) (skip), Hetty Garnier (18), Lauren Pearce (21), Naomi Robinson (19) and Lucy Sparks (17) came back from the European B Group Championships in Stavanger, Norway at the end of November with a bronze medal. This was a fantastic achievement for such a young team and bodes well for the future if they can stay together through the University years and beyond.

It was a tough week punctuated by illness for a couple of the players. There were 10 teams in the B Group which meant 9 round-robin games over 5 days and they got off to the best possible start by scoring a 5 at the first end against the newly promoted Slovenia, eventually winning 15-3 after 6 ends. The next game against Belarus, also promoted from the C Group, started in a similar fashion with England 6-0 up after 2 ends, before eventually winning 10-4 in L-R: John Sharp, Lucy Sparks, Lauren Pearce, Naomi Robinson, Hetty Garnier and Anna Fowler 7 ends. Game 3 against Poland was the first big challenge as the Poles, skipped by Elzbieta Ran. England were never in front in the game but stole a 2 to win 7-5 in the last end and we started to believe that something special could happen. It was Turkey in game 4 and another close game initially but 3 stolen ends in the middle of the game to give Turkey a 6-2 lead proved decisive as our unbeaten record went, courtesy of a 7-4 defeat. The fifth game versus Austria was a thriller and the last end looked like Austria’s with stones around the button until Hetty played two dead draws to nudge Austria out of shot position. To great roars from the travelling England support of 3, or maybe 4 by that time, Anna made a great shot under extreme pressure to collect 2 and the victory by 8-6. Game 6 was against Spain, skipped by the big-hitting Irantzu Garcia. A close and scrappy game saw England run Spain out of stones at the 10 th. Hungary were relegated last year from the A group and were skipped by Ildiko Szekeres. Hungary led 3-1 at half time, having just stolen a single but the fighting spirit of this England team saw them edge in front by 4-3 after 7 ends. Hungary levelled it in the 8thand then stole a crucial 2 in the 9th before running us out of stones in the 10th. The next game against Estonia was a game of two halves and by the 9 th end we had scored 4 shots without reply to lead 6-5. However, in the tenth end, without the hammer, we were unable to get the stones in place for a chance of a steal, Estonia got their 2 and England lost by 6-7. England had not beaten Finland since 2002 but they produced a great performance against a country who were relegated from the A group last year. A storming start saw them with a 4 shot lead (6-2) at half time. After a shaky few ends in the middle England pulled themselves together and, with the spectators more nervous than the players, they held on and won by 10-7. And that was the end of the first stage – 9 games played, 6 games won and 83 ends played, and 3rdplace in the final round robin standings. Not only that but also Anna’s Draw Shot Challenge of 30.6cms average was nearly 10cms better than the next country, Estonia at 40.3cms and would have been 5th overall if she had been playing in the A Group! 4

Continued… A great performance which meant that they had had last stone at the first end in 7 of their games. In addition they never lost more than 3 at any end and they only lost two 3’s, while scoring three 4s and a 5. Austria had not lost a 3 at any end in any of the round-robin games but in the 3/4 play-off against England they lost 3! However, that fact does not adequately define England’s victory because after 7 ends it was 7-6 to Austria. Then the dam burst and a 3 at the 8thwas followed by a 3 at the 9th and it was 12-7 for England and a place in the semifinal against Estonia. This was also the 100th win for an England ladies team in European and World Championships. Still no medal was guaranteed but victory would mean gold or silver and a place in Group A for next season and a chance, if they won that final, to play-off against Germany for a place in the World Championship. Defeat by Estonia and it would be back to the bronze medal game – against Austria (again)! Estonia began the semi- final by blanking the first three ends and then scoring 5 shots in the next 3 ends. A single for England at the 7thwas followed by another 2 for Estonia at the 8th and after scoring one at the 9th the English girls shook hands and prepared for their 12th game of the week and their third against Austria! England coach, John Sharp, reckoned that the Estonians missed nothing at all in the game, the best performance in the Group all week.

L-R: Andrew Woolston, Alan MacDougall, John Sharp, Tom Jaeggi and Andrew Reed

And the Men...! The men had a great run during the championships (including scoring a seven in the eighth end again Turkey). They finished 4th in their group after the round robin on five wins and two losses. Their round robin results were as follows: Turkey—won 10-2 Italy—won 6-4 Estonia—lost 8-2 Spain—won 10-2

And so to game number 3 against Austria, and another close one, but this time, apart from after the first end, England were never down and from a 5-2 position at half time they kept their game together to win 7-5. Bronze medals – the first for the ladies team since Kirsty Balfour and her team won gold in Fussen in 2007 and the first for a team of English born and bred players, raised through the Junior ranks at Fenton’s Rink in Kent. For three of the team the next challenge is to qualify for the World Juniors at the European Junior Challenge in Finland in January and this performance in Norway must give them so much confidence for that competition.

Germany– lost 5-4 Romania—won 11-2 Slovakia—won 7-2 Their round robin position and draw shot challenge distance of 30.80cm meant they would need to win two tie-breakers to make it to the 3 vs 4 playoff. Unfortunately, drawn against Estonia on the same sheet and with the same difficult stones as they had had in the round-robin, the Estonians came out on top 5-4 in a close fought battle. Congratulations to Alan MacDougall and his team who consistently ensure the standard of English Men’s curling is kept high.


The European Junior Challenge 2014 (January 3-8) in Lohja, Finland has two English junior teams attending. The tournament is for European junior men's and junior women's teams which have not already qualified for World Junior Curling Championships. The winner qualifies to the World Junior Curling Championships 2014 in Flims, Switzerland. The ladies team consists of Hetty Garnier, Angharad Ward, Naomi Robinson, Lucy Sparks and Niamh Fenton—Hetty, Naomi and Lucy are all fresh from their bronze medal win in Stavanger. The boy’s team consists of Ben Fowler, Oliver Kendall, Renz Bunag and Cormac Barry. Both teams are coached by Czech coach Sara Jahodova. The ladies will play against Hungary, Germany, Latvia, Estonia and hosts Finland in Group B. The other ladies group has Italy, Poland, Norway, Spain, Turkey and Slovenia all competing for a place in the World Championships. The boy’s team will play Denmark, Slovenia, Finland, Austria, The Netherlands and Spain in the men’s A Group. The men’s B Group is made up of Estonia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Germany, Latvia, Hungary and Poland. Good luck to both teams. The results can be found on the Finish Curling Association website—Suomen Curlinglitto.

Pictures: (left) Lucy, Naomi, Hetty, Angarad and coach Sara and (below) Renz, Olly and Ben.

Photos courtesy of Nederlands Junior Curling Team.



ECA SECRETARY great match and it was definitely the on-ice highlight of our competition. The grudging congratulations from some of my Scottish friends from University days when we came off after beating Russia in our first match was also a proud moment!

Name: Nigel Patrick Position: ECA Secretary Years curled: 21

What is your funniest curling memory? There are quite a few to choose from. The time that the clocks changed during the Scottish Universities Curling Championship and our opponents failed to turn up for our semi-final match because they'd forgotten to change their clocks... That resulted in my team returning to base to drink gin and bitter lemon out of teacups from a teapot we found in the fridge from the night before, while sitting on our veranda opposite a lodge with nuns staying in it. It was so surreal! And strangely, by the time we'd finished the gin we didn't perform quite so well in the final...! Then there are the Cortina stories... Jane Clark's "buns of steel" or Lorna Rettig's adventures up the mountains. There's too many!

How did you first get into curling? I started playing when I was at school in Edinburgh. My dad and brother already played so it seemed an obvious choice of extra-curricular activity. It was a great thing to be involved with through university and juniors in Scotland where I had a lot of fun and made some great friends. Preferred position in team. I'm happiest at second or third - I find playing last stones a bit too stressful! How many years have you been playing for? I started playing 21 years ago - although I took a few years out when I first moved to London before I realised that Fenton's existed! That discovery opened up a whole new chapter of my curling career and I would never have guessed when I first came down to Fenton's that I might end up either playing for England or being secretary of the English Curling Association!

‘to make the world a happier place: I’d ban marzipan and bulldoze the village of Bakewell’ What drink do you order when you lose? Gin and tonic. A double if it was a particularly painful defeat!

Where do you now play most of your curling? I still play regularly at Fenton's although I also enjoy playing weekend competitions. This year I've been up to Greenacres as well as playing in Cortina and Budapest.

Have you ever had a curling related disaster? Like our university minibus ending up in a ditch, front wheels several feet up in the air, and having to be towed out by the RAC? No, nothing like that.

What is your best curling memory? Probably the run that my brother and I had to the final of the Scottish Pairs Championship back in 1998. We were getting over a disappointing juniors result when we headed to the pairs without much expectation but then proceeded to have a fantastic weekend which was a lot of fun and we obviously did a lot better than we could ever have hoped to. Doing well when you least expect to is always good.

What do you do when you aren’t curling? I enjoy walking, swimming and badminton as well as travelling and reading. I walked the Great Glen Way in Scotland earlier this year and love spending time in the highlands when I can get up there.

What has been your proudest moment whilst representing England? Beating Sweden at the EMCC this year. We played a

What would your three main rules be if you ruled the world? I only need one to make the world a happier place: I'd ban marzipan and bulldoze the village of Bakewell as punishment for creating the most revolting foodstuff in the history of baked goods.


Thank you to everyone who helped out and to Monarch for involving us with the event. I think we all enjoyed ourselves and it was a great opportunity to promote English curling. A special thank you to James Gibb, Charles Murphy and the Hinds family who all gave a huge number of volunteer hours to this event.

Once again, the ECA was invited to promote the sport of curling at the Ski & Snowboard Show at Earl’s Court. This year, the event took place from October 30th – November 3rd with an additional venue in Manchester as well.

By Rosaleen Boardman

James Gibb was given the task of recruiting volunteers and arranging transportation of stones from Fenton’s to the city. Not many people came forward to help but fortunately, we were only allocated one sheet of ice and managed to cope though the shifts were longer. The number of visitors was down but we saw a steady stream of people of all ages, some of whom had tried curling out the previous year and wanted to have another go. Stephen Hinds had had the forethought to produce an iPad based survey gathering basic information on age and locality with email addresses as an option. This should prove useful when we write our ECA Facilities Strategy.

ECA TIES £12 New ECA ties are now available!

To order a tie you should contact Nigel Patrick and they cost £12.

Players representing England will receive a tie without charge.

Can you spot Stephen Hinds at the end of the ice?

Photo courtesy of Anna Fowler.





ECC—Edinburgh, Scotland (September 2013) by John Sharp The Team: Sharp (the oldest male competitor, definitely), Dr Rettig (maybe the only competing doctor), Patrick (maybe the only governing body Secretary competing), Hemmings (the oldest female competitor, definitely).

Book Review:

Smart Curling

The End Result:

by Vera Pezer

It’s all on the website! If you’d asked me at the start, looking at Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and Norway in our section I’d have taken 3 wins. With hindsight, but for a bad pick up against Spain it might have been so much better. One more win would have seen us into tiebreakers. Such is the difference between “success” and “failure”.

This book, published in 2008, was written by a fourtime Canadian women’s curling champion and Olympic coach of Canada’s Gold Medal winning curling teams (1988, 1998). Pezer opens her book with :

You’ve probably all heard me say that English curling will continue to go backwards as the newer nations find the resources for coaching and development that we cannot, and so it continues. In the final analysis England are ranked below Belarus! We did have a laugh over the event which is what it’s all about. The mixed is good fun and pretty sociable so get your entries in for the next ECA mixed championship. You never know your luck and where you might end up going.

‘Mental training is important in all sports, but it is crucial in the game of curling. When teams of equal technical ability compete, the team with greater mental toughness and better psychological tools will win.’ The author concentrates upon how individuals and teams can develop psychological skills and mental resilience to excel in curling. Through countless examples and illustrations she expounds proven theory in Smart Curling. The book’s many worksheets and practical exercises help the player refine their abilities through mental training.

Very many thanks to those who arrived in person, various members of Nigel’s family and friends, John Brown was in attendance for the week, Debbie Hutcheon and Chris visited and had an overnight stay, John and Philippa Wheeler sat out in the cold at ice level on more than one occasion while on holiday in the city, Alastair Fyfe popped in for a couple of games as did Michael Sutherland. Also spotted were Stewart Sutherland, Phil Barton and Alison Barr. Apologies for any omissions here.

Pezer especially emphasises how to maximize motivation and concentration, as well as effectively manage stress and distractions. Building strong team dynamics through communicating efficiently between one another is also highlighted. Her formula for psychological advantage works regardless of a player’s level, physical aptitude or age.

By John Sharp

By Jim Marmont


PRESTON CURLING CLUB NEWS We were very pleased to play for the Manchester Ice Palace Shield versus Glendale after a gap of several years on Friday 12th October at the Borders ice rink. A close run match against the rink skipped by Peter Bowyer (Glendale) went to the final end. Phil Barton was ably supported by Jim Barton, Ted Edmunds and Drew Gill (see picture to right). At the same time Glendale were playing the London club, which they won. To make it a very fair afternoon London beat Preston in the next session, and regained the Hugh Robinson Cup. It was a great afternoon to prepare for the Duncan Stewart in Edinburgh. The Preston Club have had three matches to date. Tommy Campbell was the victor in the Hermann Trophy. Phil Barton won the Gray Trophy. A close run battle as all four teams won one game each, and it was decided on ends. Phil Atherton skipped the winning rink on 31st October to claim the Fraser Trophy with Tony Wright, Bill Roff and Ian Kerr.

Our next club match is on 5th December when we have three guest clubs. Inverkeithing return for an annual match, and this we are joined for the first time by New Abbey. The third club is Ruthwell, who challenged us for the President’s match last season. Preston are very pleased to have several members entering in national competitions. President Tommy Campbell finds himself against former senior partners after moving to John Sharp's squad. John Summers takes over the berth left after the retirement of Michael Sutherland. Phil Barton returns to play third after a year out. Charles Jackson is the experienced and strong lead. David Sillitoe joins the rink. Lesley and Martin Gregory have signed up with Andrew Woolston to challenge for the Mixed in March 2014.

Harry Schofield has recently taken up curling and in his first two outings was in a victorious rink. We are also very pleased to welcome Guy Topping to the club. He has already bought a pair of curling shoes! Preparations are almost complete for the I’Anson Trophy in Stranraer starting on 15th November. It is disappointing that we have only 12 entries, after two years of having 16 teams. It probably reflects the demands and costs of a weekend curling. We do want to get back to 16 rinks next year, so look out for the notices.

By Phil Barton Photo courtesy of Phil Barton.

We are excited about the possibilities of Lancashire having a purpose built ice rink. There is a realistic potential of a hotel developing a leisure rink with curling as a key component. Of course a double gold in Sochi will amplify the general public interest. We will keep readers informed!


The Berkshire Curling Centre is taking shape. We plan to pour the concrete for the ice pad on the 23rd December. We are waiting for the response from the planners for the extension that will house the clubroom etc, which should progress smoothly as we have had lots of positive feedback from them. Once we have the full planning, the extension will take a couple of months to complete, though we may have curling ice slightly before that! By Stephen Hinds

Photos courtesy of Victoria Hinds


SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS REVIEW A different kind of ice age feature this month... John Sharp has been trying for three years to win the Senior Men’s Championship and each time he had been thwarted, principally by Michael Sutherland, and so when Michael retired at the end of last season it must have seemed to John that now was his time to take over as England’s representative on the World stage. He recruited Tommy Campbell from the Sutherland team and brought in new ‘young’ blood in the shape of Keith Wilson to join Alastair Fyfe and Mike Robinson. The other two in the reigning champion team, John Summers and Charles Jackson, formed a new team with ex-champion Phil Barton and new boy David Sillito and travelled South to Fenton’s.

An immediate riposte from Sharp equalled the score and he then forged ahead with 2 stolen singles only for Summer to reply with 2 singles of his own and yet again it was all square, 6-6, after 6 ends. When Sharp took a 2 at the 7th it seemed that the title was nearly his but a total miss with his last stone gifted Summers a 3 and the victory and we all had to return on Sunday for more games. The 4th game was the most one sided of the weekend though it started off close with the score reaching 3-3 after 4 ends. With the hammer, Summers then took 2 at the 5th and then further 2s for him at the 6th and 7th ends saw hands shaken early at 9-3 for Summers and all to play for in the decider.

With just two entries it was a best-of-five to decide the winners. John Sharp started off winning the hammer with an LSD of 7.6cms and used that advantage to take 2 at the first end, quickly followed by a couple of stolen singles before John Summers got on the board with a 1 at the 4th. Summers then stole a 1 and a 2 to peel the game 4-4 after 6 but a change of tactic by Sharp brought him a 5 and the game ended at 9-4 to Sharp.

Aside from Sharp’s LSD of 7.6cms in the first game the standard of drawing for this crucial part of the game had been pretty low but, in a taste of what was to come, in the 5th game Sharp drew to 29.2cms to be followed by Summers who drew to 29.3cms! So close that they needed another toss of the coin to decide the hammer. In this game Summers had the upper hand for much of the time – Sharp only took a single with the hammer at the first end and Summers then went 3-1 up after 3, and then 5-2 up after 5 and looked pretty much in control until a disastrous 6th end saw Sharp take a 6 (and it should have been 7) to take an 8-5 lead.

Game 2 began with neither skip getting a stone in the house for the LSD but a tossed coin gave Sharp the hammer again. This time, however, he was unable to use it and lost 2, though he quickly replied with a 4 at the second end before Summers scored 3 at the 3rd to lead 5 -4. This looked likely to be a high scoring game but 3 ends later they had only advanced to 6-6. Sharp blanked the 7th and then took 1 at the 8th to win 7-6 and take a 2 games to 0 advantage.

In the 7th end there were 5 Sharp stones in the house and it definitely looked like game over until Summers played a great hit and roll to steal 1 and send the game into a tense last end – so tense in fact that the umpire was called to adjudicate when it was realised that Phil Barton had thrown 3 stones! The call there was that Summers would only play 1 stone when it came to his turn, but in reality by that time the game was lost, an ambitious double raise was never really on and Sharp won by 8-6 to earn the right to travel all the way to Dumfries in Scotland to play in the World Senior Men’s Championship in April.

Game 3 and at least both skips got their LSD in the house and Summers, with a distance of 66.8cms, took the hammer which he then used to his advantage to score 2 at the first end. An immediate riposte from Sharp equalled the score and he then forged ahead with 2 stolen singles only for Summer to reply with 2 singles of his own and yet again it was all square, 6-6, after 6 ends.

By John Brown


Photo courtesy of Rosaleen Boardman.

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