Sunday, 8 February 2015

Season Update!

So there has been a bit of a Team Edwards blogging hiatus over the last couple months! Sorry about that, we will try and up our game from now on.

A fair amount of curling has happened since the last post so we will quickly run through it to get you all up to speed.

Kinross Open 2014!

We had won this event in 2012 and 2013 and we were keen to retain our title. We were in a group with Hannah Fleming and Hamish Geyer which we managed to top. We faced back to back McCleary's in the quarters and semis to run into our main challenger for the Scottish Curling Tour, Tom Brewster, in the final. Going into the last end we were sitting pretty well.

After                                           #pistol                                         Before
We were red with hammer. We required 2 for the win.

I know the pictures are the wrong way round but Tom was facing the situation on the right with his last stone and we were left with the situation on the left. We did not really have a shot for a two, or even a one, but Dave tried the ambitious and impossibly flat double off the stone on the right of the 12ft at barrier weight.

If anybody can see a shot that we could have played that was physically possible (for David Edwards), please let us know.

So Tom won Kinross which was a bit annoying as if we had won this event we would have all but sealed first place in the Scottish Curling Tour. So all the excitement and anticipation would have to wait until the final event of the SCT at the Aberdeen City Open!

Dumfries CCT

In Dumfries we were once again staying at the Edwards household right before Christmas. It goes without saying but we were phenomenally well fed and looked after as always!

John Penny breathing in hard.
3rd place at the Dumfries CCT
Nothing of note that I can remember happened, but we lost the semi final to Kyle Smith! Our quarter final against Ross McCleary is on youtube (link below) as is the semi against Kyle (link more below).

Team Edwards v Team R McCleary

Team Edwards v Team Smith

We won the 3/4 game against Thomas Lovold from Norway for a decent amount of cash!

Perth Masters

Billy was unavailable for selection for the first day of the Perth Masters. We were trying for weeks to try and find a sub for Billy, but as hard as we tried, we were unfortunately unable to find anyone suitable to play lead. That is why Cameron Bryce got the call to chuck lead stones for us in a couple of games! We managed to have the Friday afternoon off and had a bit of time to observe some curling and have a few drinks. It escalated quickly and unexpectedly.

Unfortunately we didn't win any silverware this weekend
We had a long day on the Saturday and we were on our last life in the C-final against Kyle Smith. We did not come out on top and we were out!

Scottish Qualifiers

Hosted by Meg again, the reviews for the accommodation on this occasion were also extremely high! Good effort!

So now we had to focus as it was now time for some important curling. Although we just had to finish top 5 in our group of 7, it was a fairly solid group. We started poorly and things were not looking awesome but we had a game against Scott's curling slide idol, Graeme Shaw, for qualification to Men's finals!

We got the win and had to book time off work for the Scottish.

Aberdeen City Open

Things were tight at the City Open with Tom Brewster sitting 6 points behind us in the Scottish Curling Tour. If we got to the final of the event that was enough for us to secure first place in the tour!

As Billy is a high flying professional he was once again unavailable for the first game so we requested the services of Canadian retired veteran lead, Kerr Drummond.

Kerr in action
We did not have many issues in the group stages and managed to qualify top. The Saturday night was a lot of fun with a Race Night that was excellently MC'd!

The Sunday morning was not as fuzzy as it was for the team last year and we managed to get through both Hannah Fleming and Lauren Gray to meet the recently crowned Junior Men's Champs in the final.

We got a wee lead against Bruce Mouat but started to crumble towards the end of the game. Dave had to draw the 4ft for the title which he made without any issues!

Billy invading Scott's personal space
I have been told to write in this blog that the ice at Curl Aberdeen was excellent over the weekend and to applaud the gruelling hours of work put in by the iceman*.

*I was told to write this by my flatmate so it is obviously completely impartial.

So with Tom Brewster getting knocked out in the quarter final we had won the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour! This is the second time we have been the overall winners of the tour.

But the more impressive record and the one we are most proud of as a team is that we had to play several women's teams this season and we managed to avoid losing on every single occasion! Congratulations to us. This has nothing to do with the retirement of Kerry Barr, Rachel Simms, Rhiann Macleod and Barbara McFarlane. That is just a complete coincidence.

So the leader board is above and it does not show how close it was. We are going to claim that we may have set a points record for the tour with 56? That could be a ridiculous claim though.

The Scottish Championships are up next but I will try and chuck out a blog before the event starts!

Team Edwards

Saturday, 6 December 2014

European Championships Review

So we got back from Champery last Sunday evening. It has taken until now for me to feel human enough again to actually write a blog!

Tom's smile is fantastic
The Aberdeen contingent of the team met up with Billy and the girls in Amsterdam and we were then on our way to Geneva. We had a day in Champery to figure out the lay of the land and find the good places to eat. What we learned about the places to eat was that they were all ridiculously expensive. During one of the first meals we had, we met a couple of Korean coaches. With this, John Penny took an enormous lead in the "dumbest quote of the week" competition. Tom's tweet captured the moment particularly well.

We created a very basic map to help John in the future to figure out if a country is playing in the EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP.

I know Israel and Iceland are not in the circle, but we are still trying to master the basics with JP.

So after that ridiculous statement we had the opening ceremony. This involved all the standard waiting around for ages and then marching about for a bit. We got bored and took a Team Scotland selfie.

What is Dave looking at?

As usual, we will not really talk too much about the curling. We ended up on a 3-6 record.

We beat;

Czech Republic

We were beaten by;

Everyone else

We had one televised game on Eurosport which was against Germany. With all the exposure we had from this we are just waiting for the modelling contracts to come rolling in.

Below are the links to both the full game and the 4 minute highlights of the game.

Full game


The last stone in the 9th end was a fair bool by the German. It is worth a watch. So is the end of the 8th end.

Half way through the week, disaster struck the team. No, it was not when Billy had to come off ill half way through a game, it was when Greig Henderson lost his beloved hat. Greig was constantly on the look out for the hat thief following that. He was determined that the crime would not go unpunished.

Raging. He will catch the bastard one day.
Greig even got the World Curling Federation on the case. He really wanted his hat back.

Despite Greig's best efforts, the hat was never found. As we have not come up for a use of the Rory McIlroy cap, Jenson Button helmet or the Jessica Ennis shirt as of yet, anyone who can return Greig's hat unharmed will get the choice to select any one of these three items. Don't waste your time trying to find a replica, Greig will know a fake from a mile away.

Back to the curling. So after all that we were tied for 7th place with the Germans. As 8th place would be involved in the World Challenge playoff, we had to play a tiebreaker against Germany. I do not think there was an opponent that could have gotten us more up for this game than the Germans given the conclusion of the round robin game.

Thankfully, we managed to win. Which was a massive relief.

All in all there were a couple really good days, some terrible days and a couple where we felt we were a bit unlucky. But it was a great experience and hopefully that will help us in the future.

A big thanks has to go out to Greig, Tom and Soren for all of their guidance and assistance over the course the week. I know it probably was not a very pleasurable experience watching us curl! Also to Maggie for the brutally painful physio! Thanks also to all of the Scotland supporters that came out to cheer us on over the course of the week, it is much appreciated!

So after all of that, we were out the competition with 3 days to spare. So what do you when you have 3 days to spare without having to curl? Well we are all finely tuned athletes, so we obviously did not do anything that would compromise that.

Our next competition is the Kinross Open next weekend. This has the weirdest format of any competition I have ever seen.

A four group, three team, double round robin. Should be interesting. One big positive from this is that we get to beat Hannah Fleming twice! There are some tough teams in this event so it should be a good one.

Team Edwards

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

European Curling Championships 2014

So we are just about to head off to Switzerland for the European Curling Championship! This is our first go at representing Scotland on the men's international scene after what feels like years and years of trying to get there.

In preparation for the event we had a training day at Curl Aberdeen last Sunday with everyone that would be travelling out with us. We established what we were doing at the pre-game and pre-tournament practices and played a few fun games between ourselves.

As well as this, a short phsyio session with Maggie Bush was organised so she had an idea of the physical mess she would be inheriting the responsibility for in Champery. We were supposed to have 15 minutes each, but as John is generally falling to pieces, he managed to burn through the entire teams time himself. 

We got all of the playing kit and off ice gear on Sunday which was handy.

We have had Team Edwards cards made for the European Championships to dish out throughout the course of the week. Team Edwards superfan, Rory Byers, was first in the queue to get a hold of the much sought after card. He has the goal to get all of the teams signatures by the end of the season so he has a valuable piece of curling memorabilia for the future. With the most valuable signature already acquired, he is well on his way to achieving this goal. 

Created by Graphic Designing superstar, Stuart McLachlan.
Unfortunately for Rory, when the team is in Switzerland we are going to be signing all of the cards anyway. 

We have got the flights booked going from Aberdeen-Amsterdam-Geneva. I have checked, they are for November 19th 2014. Which is the day, month and year we want to go. But after the issues we experienced with the flights going to Russia, here is evidence to put everyone's mind at ease.

Billy is heading out with the girls from Edinburgh and we will meet up with the rest of the crew in Amsterdam for the final leg!

We are staying at the Le Beau-Sejour hotel which sounds pretty French and is looking pretty awesome.

The schedule of play can be found HERE. We are straight in at the deep end against the current world champions from Norway.

The Eurosport schedule says that our game against Germany will be shown on Monday 24th November at 1pm on Eurosport 1. There are then one hour of highlights at 5pm the same day on Eurosport 2. The World Curling TV youtube channel will probably be showing more of games over the course of the week which can be found HERE.

At the moment there are two of our games being streamed on youtube.

Draw 2: Scotland vs Denmark
Draw 5: Scotland vs Germany

Thanks very much to all of the sponsors that have given us support and stuff over the last couple of weeks in the run up to the event! It has been a great help!

So wish us luck when we are out there please! We will try our best!

Team Edwards

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Edinburgh International

Last weekend we competed in the Edinburgh International Curling Championship. We were attempting to retain our title as we won the trophy and all of that lovely, lovely money last year.

This year our group contained;

Jaap Van Dorp - Netherlands
SHAWZER - Scotland
Paul Stevenson - Scotland
Kalle Kiiskinen - Finland

Team photo!
Overall, the curling we produced over the course of the weekend was pretty forgettable. We lost to Van Dorp in the first game and then had a lot of time to kill before our second game later that evening. We decided that we were going to do some ten pin bowling to entertain ourselves. Prior to that, John had to pick up a new van for work.

Red van man
We played 3 games of ten pin bowling. For Scott and Dave, a lot of similarities between their peeling techniques and ten pin bowling techniques could be found. Pretty much, Dave was boring, controlled and weak while Scott came out swinging but was ridiculously erratic. A wee snipet of how things went is shown below.

There was a significant division in results between the front end and the back end. John and Dave were really not very good while Scott and Billy dominated and were tied at the top.

After the ten pin bowling, we played some doubles in pool. Dave & Billy teamed up against John & Scott. It was an extremely tight series with both teams tied at 6 games a piece with one game to go. Things were looking very bad for John & Scott coming towards the tail end of the final game. This was until Scott came to the table. He cleared up 5 balls and left himself with a straight forward shot on the black for the victory to claim the series. In what Billy described as "one of the worst misses I have ever seen", Scott bottled it and rattled the jaws to hand the championship to Dave & Billy. Chopper.

All the excitement of the ten pin bowling and pool was too much for Dave and had worn him out. To be sure he was in peak shape for the final game of the day, he thought he would catch a couple Z's before heading onto the ice against SHAWZER. We obviously took a photo. 

It was a pretty ropey game but we got our first win. We were staying at the Barr household for the weekend as John has done a phenomenal job of not getting dumped yet. Caitlin was also up for the weekend, but because Jane and Bob had A-listers staying, she was rightfully shunted to the caravan!

She was allowed into the house for the group brushing of teeth. 
We got up on the Saturday morning and experienced the industrial style jet wash of a shower that the Barr's have. It is so good. We had a couple games on the Saturday, the first was against Paul Stevenson who had hired John Hamilton to stand in for him at skip. We dug a massive hole for ourselves after 5 ends but we managed to take a 4 in the 6th to tie it up and set ourselves up for the win. Our last game was against Kiiskinen from Finland which we lost. Because of that, we had 4 end tie breaker against Kiiskinen again. Which we also lost. That was curtains for us as we were eliminated in the group stages.

It was not the end of the weekend for us though as we took the opportunity to socialise and have a couple beers. This carried on back at the Barr's where the activities got a wee bit too much for some people.

Thanks to Jane and Bob for hosting us over the weekend! It is much appreciated!

Team Edwards

Monday, 27 October 2014

Forfar Open

This weekend we made the trip down south for the Forfar Open! This was our second event of the Goldline Scottish Curling Tour which took place only four short days after the European Playdowns in Perth.

Before the details of the tournament, it is time for the third and final sponsor plug of the season!

Ventrolla transforms your old, rattling or rotten windows into beautiful, draught-free, working windows. There are 10 great reasons to choose Ventrolla which can be viewed HERE. But in overview, Ventrolla's range of timber window energy saving measures includes replacement timber double glazing sashes that, in conjunction with their renowned Perimeter Sealing System (VPSS), offer customers a combination of high performance, comfort and style

They are recommended by the top heavy Sarah Beeny, so you know they must be good.

There is a personal interest in generating business for this sponsor as it directly increases the amount of inheritance that Scott will receive in the future so BUY BUY BUY!

Scott is not taller than everyone, he is just ridiculously inflexible. 
Some of you may have noticed that Billy is looking significantly more athletic and fresh faced than he has in the past. Don't be fooled, Billy has not been on on an intense training regime and detox diet. He was not able to make this weekend so we had to call upon the services of Forfar Young Curlers to provide a sub. They provided a very good sub in Adam Flint pictured on the far left.

In the group games, we lost to Lee McCleary first up then beat everyone else. We topped the section and ran into Colin Howden in the quarters. It looked like we were going to lose for a while but managed take it home in the 8th. The semi against Lee McCleary was up and down but a very nice shot for 4 by Dave swayed the game in our favour.

We had done well to avoid playing any women's teams throughout the tournament, but unfortunately, that time was up, we had to play Hannah Fleming in the final.

Face off. In boxing, my money is on Hannah.
It was a good final and we had the hammer and a lead going into the last end. A couple of doubles sealed the deal and we had won our second Scottish Curling Tour event and managed to finally overcome the curse of women that had followed us around for the last season!

Men's and Women's winners!
This has set us up pretty well on the Scottish Curling Tour rankings with the best start we have had by an extremely long way!

Thanks to Mike for once again organising and hosting an entertaining weekend at Forfar Indoor Sports. Mike also celebrated his 65th birthday over the weekend. Many happy returns! A big thanks to Adam for subbing over the weekend, he played great!

Team Edwards

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

European Playdowns

Last weekend we competed in the European Playdowns at the Dewars Centre in Perth. This event included David Murdoch, Tom Brewster and Ewan MacDonald and would determine Scotland's representative at the 2014 European Curling Championship in Champery, Switzerland.

In the run up to the event we were at the ice rink a lot trying to find some kind of form so we would not embarrass ourselves at the playdowns. On Monday evening, Dave & Scott played against Brian Gray's Latvians at Curl Aberdeen. Thomas Halder and Fraser Kingan stepped in for Billy and the 'Apprentice Joiner of the Year' as he was away getting his awards. We are pleased to announce that John did receive the award for the second year in a row and we are all very proud of him.

It was not a great start for the Latvian's as the skip unfortunately left his curling shoes and trousers in Stonehaven.

Copyright of Rory Byers
I did feel sorry for him as I have curled in jeans before and they are tight in all the wrong areas. After a few mini games and couple switch-ups of positions, we managed to get the win.

The European Playdowns had a brutal schedule. Through the double round robin we had 6 games over the course of 48 hours. We were tied for second on 3-3 with Tom Brewster which meant that we had an extra game to play. We got by Tom in a close game to reach the final against Murdoch.

Between games we found a decent new restaurant next to Sportsters. While we were contemplating what to order, the waitress asked us what we would like to drink.

Billy - Pint of draught coke please
John - Same please
Scott - Pint of water
Dave - Can I please have a glass of sparkling mineral water?

Billy, with an absolutely horrified look of disgust on his face at the drink order that Dave had just placed, instantly questioned the decision he had made about joining our team and was wondering what he had got himself in to.

Billy lost it when Dave then ordered a seafood risotto.

Risotto and Mineral Water - Too healthy for Billy.
Beating Brewster in the tiebreaker resulted in us having to be in Perth until Sunday. We had not booked a hotel so we had to search for the cheapest options and see what was available. We managed to get into the Lovat Hotel just round the corner which was decent.

It was a best of three final which was turning the weekend into an absolute marathon!

In the first game we got a couple of steals which kept our noses ahead and we took it home in the 10th.

The last two finals were on the Sunday so we had a night to recover before starting all over again.

We fell behind slightly early on but got the steal train running towards the tenth. Murdoch made a relatively simple hit for the win to take it to the third final.

It was an up and down game with a few misses, but that is what happens after 30 hours of curling in 4 days! At points, the game was looking at getting away from us but a 3 in the 8th put us in a good position. Murdoch measured for his second point in the 9th which required us to take a two in the 10th for the win. Dave Edwards had a delicate hack weight hit on a partially visible stone for the game. It didn't curl quite enough and after a lot of sweeping from both John and Greg it was only one and onto the extra. Things were looking OK in the extra with two of our stones biting the top of the 4ft. Murdoch elected to play an inturn draw. He was heavy which left us with a steal of two and the chance to represent Scotland at the European Championships!

Curl Aberdeen posted a video of the last stone.

Team Scotland
Here are a couple news reports from the event.

Big guns have to put their Euro plans on ice...
Muirhead and Edwards lead Scotland's bid
Eve Muirhead through as David Murdoch bows out
Amateur rink are a stone's throw away from World Championships

We have noticed that a lot of the newspaper and TV stuff has been more focused on Murdoch losing than us winning, but we can live with that!

Dave was interviewed this afternoon at Curl Aberdeen, so he should be on STV news tonight so tune in if you want a more in-depth review than the BBC!

We have selected Tom Brewster as our 5th man and Greig Henderson got the pass from Kate to attend!

We are really looking forward to head out to Champery next month and are trying to get a lot of things organised between now and then!

Team Edwards

Friday, 10 October 2014

Dumfries Open

So we received our new foxglide gear prior to the Dumfries Open. We think the kit looks great and have once again bolstered our position as the best looking team in the world. Pictures of the kit will be peppered throughout the blog. First of all, one of the logos we have on our new kit belongs to Don Valley.

Don Valley have very kindly offered to sponsor the team this year, so it is only fair we give them a plug on the blog!

Don Valley is a family owned specialist turf & seeds company established in 2001 based near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. They supply a comprehensive range of lawn turf, as well as a range of additional products including grass seeds, top soil and garden bark for all your gardening needs. So please check out their website for more details! If you purchase a product from Don Valley due to this plug, Team Edwards are providing a limited offer that one member of the team (of your choosing), will provide you with one hour of gardening services. We can not guarantee any quality or skill, or even that your garden will look better afterwards, but there will be endless amounts of enthusiasm. (*please see terms and conditions)

(T&C* all equipment, medical bills and lawyers fees must be paid for by the owner of the garden.)

So to the curling. The RCCC posted a preview of the event HERE. Amongst the teams competing were several performance programme teams and two teams from China.

All the Aberdeen boys had the Friday off work and made their way down to Dumfries at a leisurely pace where they would meet Billy for the first competition of the season. We stopped off at the Dewar's Centre for a short practice.

We hit the ice for our first game against the always entertaining Michael Opel from England. We generated a good lead but leaked a couple points towards the end. One event of note from this game was a peel from Scott. With it being the early season, the timing of his slide is not quite where it should be yet. Without a piece of teflon touching the ice at any point, Scott's max effort peel turned into a double knee slide to the top of the house, where he stopped, composed himself, then shoved the stone down the rest of the sheet which then rocked its way towards the sideboard. Amateur. Despite this, we managed to come out on top and headed back the Edwards household to watch some boxing.

New gear

Our next game was against Brad Askew's prodigies from China. It was a one sided affair with us coming out on top 10-0. Two of the Chinese team were having an extremely emotionally charged 'discussion' after the game. After they cooled off we managed to have a drink with them and play a bit of cards.

We beat Ken Horton in our last group game to qualify for the quarters.

We were once again hosted and fed by the Edwards household which was much appreciated! The new grandparents have already been thinking about Iona's future and acquired a bike for the 4 month old which should be suitable for her within the next decade. Here is a picture of Dave testing out the new wheels prior to letting his daughter loose on it.

We faced Jennifer Martin's team in the quarters. They played well but we got very lucky in the first end and got a slightly undeserved 3-0 lead. We ran it home from there and got a place in the semi's.

Bruce Mouat was up next. It was a tied game until the 5th where we took a five. They conceded and it was on to the final.

David Hardie skipped the team with the man with the shiniest head in Scottish Curling throwing last stones. It was a tight and defensive game with Boobsy just missing a 20ft runback in the 8th end which would have taken the game to an extra. This meant we had won the Sulwath Open!

Dave was unhappy with Scott's unzipped jacket. 
This result has propelled us to the top of the Scottish Curling Tour rankings tied with Tom Brewster.
You can read the Scottish Curling Tour's review of the event HERE.

Next week we have a game against a Latvian Men's curling team that are having a training week in Aberdeen. As the game is in Aberdeen, we were not expecting Billy to make the trek up north for just 8 ends. Saying that, we were hopeful that John would be able to make the game. John informed Dave that he would not be able to play against the Latvians. The reason? This is no word of a lie, John Penny is unable to make the game due to him attending an awards dinner where he is to receive the award for 'Joiner of the Year' from Aberdeen College. Congratulations to the young man.

Joiner of the Year 2014
So in place of John and Billy we have acquired the services of Thomas Halder and Fraser Kingan for the evening.

The new tops generated a couple of comments about how 'tight' our new shirts fitted. Keeping that in mind, Mr Stuart McLachlan is a hefty man. Following the strenuous, back breaking labour that he has put in over the last few months installing the ice at Curl Aberdeen, Pye was feeling slim and backed himself to fit into one of Scott's small shirts. To be fair to him, he did get in it. Kind of.


Scott now has two small Team Edwards shirts and one XXXL.

Team Edwards