BRITISH CURLING ANNOUNCES PROGRAMME TEAMS FOR 2019-20
British Curling has announced its investment in 18 athletes across five programme supported teams for 2019-20, as the curlers prepare for the second year of the Olympic cycle building towards Beijing 2022.
Team Paterson’s new formation last season comprising skip Ross Paterson, Kyle Waddell, Duncan Menzies and Michael Goodfellow, enjoyed an impressive rise in the world rankings in their first year together, which saw them participate in an historic all-Scottish final at the Boost National Grand Slam. Paterson’s rink beat defending champions Team Mouat in claiming their first Slam title and they join Mouat’s men in the world’s top ten, currently ranked seventh.
Bruce Mouat, Grant Hardie, Bobbie Lammie and Hammy McMillan jnr were crowned European Champions at the end of 2018 when they made their debut together at that event. They continued their fine form by starting 2019 with a World Curling Tour title at the Perth Masters before successfully defending their national title and representing Scotland at their second successive World Championships, where they again reached the play-off stages. They have retained their position as the top ranked Scottish team, currently fifth in the world rankings.
Bruce Mouat said:”Looking back at what we have achieved in our first two seasons together we have now set ourselves a number of benchmarks and it makes it even more exciting as we move into the second year of the Olympic cycle. It feels a major privilege to have this programme support and I know I would not get as much excitement from any other job I could possibly imagine for myself. We all feel privileged to be making headway for curling in Scotland as we travel the world looking to win more events.”
Mouat’s former Mixed Doubles teammate Gina Aitken teamed up with 2014 Sochi Olympic silver medallist Scott Andrews, who switched to the new Olympic discipline at the start of the 2018-19 season. In their third outing together, on returning to the scene of Andrews’ greatest success, they claimed the Sochi International Mixed Doubles title. After winning the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championships, Aitken prepared for her fifth appearance at the World Mixed Doubles having been partnered by Mouat on all four previous occasions. The Aitken/Andrews combination made it out of a tough group to reach the knock-out stages as they made their world debut together and have qualified Scotland for the next World Mixed Doubles Championships.
Team Jackson also enjoyed their first taste of the World Championships after debutants Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith and Sophie Sinclair became Scottish Champions for the first time and they look to build on that success in the season ahead.
One notable change to this year’s line-up led by former World and European Champion skip Eve Muirhead sees fellow Olympic bronze medallist Vicki Chalmers (formerly Adams) taking a career break after 10 successful years on Tour.
Muirhead paid tribute to her long-standing teammate after enjoying success at their last competitive outing this season, saying: “For Vicki to have played her last competitive game with Team Muirhead and to finish with a tournament win is a great note for her to hang up shoes on. With the Arctic Cup win being so late in the season, we will look to build on this into the next season.”
However it will be business as usual for the team who will take advantage of having operated a five person team last season, utilising Jen Dodds, Lauren Gray and Vicky Wright as they look forward to year two of the Beijing Olympiad.
Glen Muirhead’s PyeongChang Olympians, comprising younger brother Thomas Muirhead and siblings Kyle and Cammy Smith won their first Tour title together at the Ashley HomeStore Classic last November and are one of four Performance Foundation teams for the year ahead.
Ross Whyte, who led his team to bronze at the World University Games (WUGS) in Russia earlier this year, following a bronze medal finish at the World Junior Curling Championships in Canada, will skip his 2018 World Junior silver medal winning team mate Robin Brydone, along with Duncan McFadzean who was a member of that 2019 WUGS and World Junior Championship quartet and Euan Kyle, who was also part of the successful rink who made the podium in Novia Scotia.
2017 World Mixed Curling bronze medallist Cameron Bryce will skip Craig Waddell – younger brother of Olympian and 2018 Boost National Champion Kyle Waddell - Gregor Cannon, a member of Scotland’s 2016 World Junior Championship winning team and 2013 WUGS silver medallist Derrick Sloan.
2018 Scottish Junior Champion skip Rebecca Morrison has teamed up with Maggie Wilson, Jennifer Marshall and Eilidh Yeats for the year ahead, whilst Morrison’s former national championship team mates Amy MacDonald and Hailey Duff are supported as individuals at Performance Foundation level.
Interim Performance Director Phil Reid said: “Congratulations to all of the athletes who have been selected to the British Curling Performance Programme. Thanks to the commitment and support from all of our stakeholders, the World Class Performance Programme can continue to support our curlers as we build towards Beijing in 2022 and beyond.
“This season ahead will take us past the halfway point in the Olympic cycle and we look forward to continuing our progress on the international stage.”
Performance Foundation Teams and Individuals 2019-20
Team Glen Muirhead:
Images: Anil Mungal, Perthshire Picture Agency, WCF / Richard Gray