Upsets, triumphs and redemption at national championships
Find out how teams across the globe fared in their respective national championships.
Several teams have given themselves one last chance of qualifying for the Curling World Cup Grand Final in Beijing by sealing their places in their respective world championships over the weekend.
Scotland’s Team Sophie Jackson denied the Eve Muirhead an eighth Scottish National title on Sunday with an 11-7 victory in the women’s final in Perth.
The youthful Team Jackson were the dominant force all week, boasting two wins over Team Muirhead in the round robin as well as in Sunday’s showpiece, in which a huge score of five by Jackson in the eighth end proved the decisive blow.
Twelve months on from travelling as an alternate to the world championships, Sophie Jackson will now skip her rink following Scottish Curling’s decision to allow the national champions to represent them in Canada.
Team Bruce Mouat, who represented Scotland in Curling World Cup legs one and two, sealed their place in the World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 in Lethbridge, Canada, by beating Team Glen Muirhead 7-5 in Perth.
Scotland’s men have sealed a place in May’s Grand Final by virtue of their Curling World Cup ranking points total over the three legs, but Scottish Curling must choose between sending Team Ross Paterson or Team Mouat. If Mouat win the world title, they would get an automatic place in Beijing.
In Japan, Pacific-Asia champions, Team Yuta Matsumura, will return to the World Curling Championship after a four-year period following their 6-2 success over Team Junpei Kanda in Sapporo.
Team Magnus Ramsfjell stunned former world champions Team Thomas Ulsrud to earn the right to represent Norway in Canada, defeating Ulsrud’s rink 7-5.
Ramsfjell is son of the legendary curler Eigil Ramsfjell and nephew of Bent Ramsjell – a former Olympic champion who was on the same junior team as Ulsrud. His sister Maia, is also skipping a team at this week’s juniors.
After missing out on flying the flag for Switzerland at leg three in Jonkoping in a shoot-out to Yannick Schwaller’s rink, Team Peter de Cruz found redemption by defeating their rivals in Thun.
The Geneva-based rink went into the final with an unbeaten record during the round-robin stage and this time they held their nerve to triumph in an extra end to win 8-7.
At the United States national championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan it was Omaha champions Team John Shuster that regained their title after defeating the defending champions Team Ruohonen 8-4 in Sunday’s final.
If Shuster win a maiden world title in Canada, they will hand a Grand Final spot to Norway by way of Curling World Cup ranking points.
Champions!! Excited to be heading back to the @worldcurling Women’s World Championship in Denmark next month as @TeamUSA!!!! #TeamSinclair #TeamGoldline #curling #2019nats #champs 🥇🥌🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/2SgdcVSj4D— Team Sinclair (@TeamJSinclair) February 16, 2019
Also in Michigan, Team Jamie Sinclair booked their tickets to Denmark and recaptured the national title after defeating Team Nina Roth 6-4.
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts – Canada’s national women’s championship – got under way last weekend, with the men’s event, Tim Horton’s Briers, beginning next week.
Russia’s showdown for world championship entry gets started this weekend with Team Alina Kovaleva and Team Anna Sidorova locking horns, and with a spot for Russia in Beijing’s Grand Final also up for grabs, expect a fiercely competitive event in Sochi.