Wednesday, September 21, 2011

McCreadie steers Scotland II to season opening win in Denmark

 Scotland II winners of the 5th Danish Open
Gregor Ewan, Ian Donaldson, Gill Keith, Jim Gault and Michael McCreadie
[photo Aileen Neilson via Bob Cowan's blog]
The 5th Annual Danish Open in Tårnby September 9-11 attracted a full complement of ten teams to open the 2011/2012 competitive curling season. Scotland, Russia and Norway each sent two teams, and Germany, Finland, Czech Republic and Denmark also competed.

Scotland II and the Czechs topped their groups (which were scored on more than won/loss records) with the Scots running our easy winners in the crossover gold medal game and Russia I taking 3rd. Gregor Ewan moved from Scotland I for the final two games replacing an injured Jim Gault, and did a fine job of calming any rookie nerves from Ian Donaldson and Gill Keith, according to coach Tony Zummack.

Final Standings - teams played a final crossover game between the two pools.
GB 2  beat Czech Republic for  Gold
Russia 1 beat Norway I for  Bronze
Russia 2 beat Finland for 5th  
GB 1 beat  Denmark  for 7th 
Germany beat Norway 2 for 9th

The Scots were coming from an intensive two week camp that straddled the end of August, one of several innovations their full-time coach has introduced this season. As reported by Bob Cowan, the wheelchair curlers attended as part of the newly integrated Royal Club/British Curling World Class Performance Programme, sharing ice and classroom time.

Gregor Ewan practicing his delivery line
[photo courtesy Bob Cowan's blog]
"It was a really good camp," said Zummack, and after eight days we had the opportunity to bring in some other competitive wheelchair curlers for a day, and then finish with a well-attended "give-it-a-go" session for wheelchair users and people interested in coaching, that several senior players stayed around for.

"We're spending a lot of time on the ice in supervised practice," he said, possible with a full-time national wheelchair coach. "From now on the squad of eight will be spending at least two 4-hour practice sessions a week, some where they will come to me, and some where I will travel to them. This hasn't been done in Scotland before, and we'll see how it goes this season, then evaluate.

"Six of the squad are using a parallel delivery and seven are using the (Eales) off-side brace, but the most important thing is they use a delivery that fits their body and with which they feel comfortable." It also appears they have dropped the long-range shooting style favoured by the previous regime.

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