BRITISH CURLING’S TEAM FOWLER WIN ENGLISH MIXED DOUBLES TITLE
Two British Curling teams will compete in the World Mixed Doubles Championships when it is hosted in Norway in April after Team Fowler won the English Championships in Dumfries today.
The brother and sister duo, Ben and Anna Fowler who joined the British Curling squad at the start of the season to become the first English athletes on the programme said they were both ‘relieved and pleased’ to have become national champions again.
They beat Jonathan Havercroft and Canadian born Lisa Farnell 8-7 in the final, the only team they had lost to during the round robin phase of the tournament hosted at Dumfries Ice Bowl this week.
For Anna success at the second time of asking proved them worthy winners of the championships. “”It was great to play them again in the final and obviously to win this time around and good that we managed to beat everyone in the field to take the title,” she said.
For the 27 year old it represented a successful defence of the title she won with partner Tom Jaeggi last year, having previously won the championships with brother Ben in 2016 and 2017. She relocated to Stirling in August last year to work with Ben who had already moved north of the border and is already witnessing the benefits from receiving coaching and training at the National Curling Academy (NCA).
“There was probably more expectation about us heading into the championships this week and the planning of the rest of our season was revolving around the outcome of this result, so there was lots of pressure but I think we came into this more prepared,” said Anna.
“Being on the programme has improved every single area of our game. We have overhauled our technique which has made a huge difference to the shots we are now able to make, plus our ice reading – picking up on conditions and changing ice throughout a game has really helped. We figured out the ice quicker than our opposition this week and our preparation is better than ever before.
“It was a massive commitment being away from family and friends moving here but we have already seen fantastic changes and we know we are extremely lucky to be in this position, to be able to take our game to a different level with excellent coaching and help from all of the support team. We know we could not have achieved this on our own.
“We are now excited to be heading to the World Championships again and it is always an honour to represent England at the worlds and with the backing of British Curling we hope to perform better than ever before,” she added.
British Curling Coach Nancy Smith, who oversees the Mixed Doubles programme said: “It is a great result for the programme having two supported teams at the World Championships.
As their coach, I am delighted for Anna and Ben as they are a great team to work with and have taken a lot on board since joining the programme and this week were really good at reading the ice conditions and can take a lot of confidence from their performance into the World Championships.”
Smith was also hugely encouraged by the overall standard of play, which indicated how the sport is progressing in England.
“It was a a very good standard of play this week, perfectly demonstrated by the tightest of finishes to the final, which saw Anna have to draw her final stone to the button, perfectly swept by Ben,” she observed.
The World Mixed Doubles Championships take place in Stavanger, Norway from 20-27 April. Team Fowler join their British Curling squad mates, Gina Aitken and Scott Andrews, who will be representing Scotland after they won the Scottish title in Braehead, in December 2018.
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Anna Fowler, 27, (Stirling)
Ben Fowler 25, (Glasgow)