TEAM SCOTLAND READY FOR ACTION AT EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Paterson’s quartet secured their place as Scotland’s men’s representatives at Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden (16-23 November 2019), following their success in a three way play-off, beating Team Glen Muirhead in the final. With Bruce Mouat’s men having already been eliminated from that contest, skip Ross Paterson can take great confidence from having overcome two world class teams to earn the right to compete with the best in Europe.
“A few teams will fancy their chances at this event but we want to defend the title for Scotland. We want to win it we are not going to deny that,” said skip Ross Paterson.
“We want to perform well and to the best of our ability and we know if we do that we are putting ourselves in the best possible place to achieve that goal.
“We are at the stage now where we just want to get going. We have put in a lot of good work, not just at tournaments, but the last few weeks when we have been at home preparing for this. Not competing recently has certainly made us hungry to get back out there on the ice and it was probably important to have that bit of a break to ensure we are totally ready.”
While Sweden’s six-time European Champions Niklas Edin’s team will be counting on home advantage, Paterson knows that many travelling Scottish supporters will make their presence known in the Helsingborg Ice Rinks.
“We are lucky as Scotland tends to get a lot of supporters coming out to a Europeans, so it can feel like a home event and we will certainly be looking to maximise that,” he said.
“We are looking forward to our first game on Saturday and we will not put too much pressure on ourselves. Our first job is to get us to qualify and the second is to have some good games after that as well.”
With the week-long format, teams will play in nine round robin games before reaching the play-off stages and Paterson is not fazed by the marathon event.
“We know the challenge represented by this format and we are ready for it as we are well seasoned. With the adrenalin as well, that keeps you going and we want a good run. We know what we are here for,” he added.
“I have high expectations of myself having medalled at eight European Champs in a row and I think the field is getting stronger every year, with new faces coming along in teams who have earned the right to represent their countries,” said Scotland’s women’s skip.
“However we are ready for this first major of the year. We have had a win on Tour, we have qualified for the knock-out stages in the majority of events we have played in so far, so we feel like we are in a good place and this event has come into our calendar at the right time for us.
“This time last year was a little tougher. I think we went in with expectations which were too high with a new team and I was just coming back from my injury. This time around we are much better prepared and we are ready to take this on.”
Now a vastly experienced skip whose European Championship appearances are now into double figures, Muirhead is keen to pass on that knowledge as her team mate Vicky Wright makes her playing debut at the 45th staging of the event.
“For Vicky it is her first European Championships and she is excited and of course apprehensive as well. That is normal. To get new experience all you can do is play these events, so for her it will be good and for Sophie Sinclair our fifth, events like this are just going to give her heaps and heaps of confidence. I hope she will be able to learn quite a lot from being around us, as an experienced team.
“What we are hoping for is to come away and really know that we have done the best that we can, to know we have performed well throughout the whole week, support each other the best we can and leave no stone unturned. Hopefully if we can do all that, the performances will take care of themselves,” she added.
Scotland’s men and women take on Norway in their opening matches on Saturday 16 November with the round robin phase continuing until Thursday 21 November. The men’s semi-finals will take place on Thursday 21 November, while the women’s semi-finals will be held on Friday 22 November. The bronze medal matches take place on Friday 22 November, and the finals on Saturday 24 November.
A total of 26 national Member Associations will be represented in the European Championships, with ten men’s and women’s teams in the A division.
The ten A-Division women’s teams are: Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (qualified from last season’s B-Division), Germany, Latvia, Norway (qualified from last season’s B-Division), Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.
The ten A-Division men’s teams are: Denmark (qualified from last season’s B-Division), England (qualified from last season’s B-Division), Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.
At the European Championships (hosted by Sweden for a fifth time), seven women’s and men’s teams will qualify their countries for the 2020 world championships, at which nations compete for qualifying points for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The World Women’s Curling Championships will be hosted at the CN Centre in Prince George, in British Columbia, Canada from 14-22 March 2020.
Scotland has qualified for the LGT World Men’s Curling Championships as hosts and the event will be staged at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow from 28 March - 5 April 2020. More details on that event and tickets can be found at: www.wmcc2020.com
Craig Waddell (alternate)
Sophie Sinclair (alternate)
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