Top Scots Aim For Flying Start To New Year On Home Ice
The 43rd Mercure City of Perth Masters gets underway tomorrow with the fair city hosting the first World Curling Tour event of the year in Scotland. The world class event has again attracted curlers from around the world, with nine different countries represented and Scotland boasts the top ranked rink among the 26 teams competing across the four days of action (3-6 January).
European Champions Team Mouat, ranked number five in the world are bidding to add this title to their CV for the first time.
“We have had some great highs in our first half of the season and we are looking forward to taking on the second half starting at the Perth Masters,” said skip Bruce Mouat from Edinburgh.
“As usual they have secured a strong field and we are hoping to start off with a good performance.
“We have a busy January ahead with some exciting competitions before the Scottish Championships, where we will be aiming to retain our title.”
Compatriots Team Paterson have steadily climbed the rankings since being formed last summer and are looking to continue their excellent form, winning their first Grand Slam title at the Boost National in an epic all Scottish final with the 2017 title holders Team Mouat last month.
“It feels like this year we are on track to where we want to be. There has been a lot of hard work to get us to this place and it is important that we carry that into the start of 2019 and the Perth Masters has always been the perfect opportunity to kick-start the New Year with your intentions for the year ahead,” said Ross Paterson.
“Over the last couple of months we have managed to find a bit more consistency in our game, which is the difference between the good teams and the very good teams. Again that is something that we are looking to build on at the Perth Masters and also at our first World Cup event in Sweden.
“The British Curling programme teams have had the opportunity to train at the National Curling Academy (NCA) for a few days between Christmas and New Year. It was important for us to have a break in such a busy schedule as we have been away so much this season, but at the same time to have the facility there gave us the chance to catch up and build on some of our technical and tactical work on ice with the coaches which has been important. Hopefully that will be of benefit to us so that we can be sharp from the very start of the event.”
Team Glen Muirhead, who were all members of Team GB at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang last year, will also be hoping to continue their fine form after they won the Ashley HomeStore Curling Classic in November, as well as claiming bronze in their last competitive outing of 2018 at the Qinghai Curling Elite in China. The Perthshire-based rink, skipped by Glen Muirhead this year, will be guaranteed lots of local support at the Dewar’s Centre this week.
A total of 11 Scottish teams are in the field, while the top ranked overseas contenders, Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz and his Olympic bronze medal winning team will aim to go one better this time after reaching the final last year. Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud’s rink – the 2013 champions and twice runners up in the event in 2016 and 2009 – will also be among the favourites for the prize pot of £18,700 with a first prize of £7,200.
Coverage from the event will be screened on BBC ALBA and on the BBC iPlayer as eleven games will be televised live from the opening day of action tomorrow, through to the quarter finals, semi finals and final on Sunday. In addition, the event is being supported by the World Curling Federation who will be providing live webcasts from Perth.
The BBC ALBA live coverage and World Curling Federation live webcasts are as follows:
Thursday 3rd January
Friday 4th January
Saturday 5th January
11:15 A Finals
17:30 B Finals
20:30 C Finals
Sunday 6th January
09:00 - Quarter Finals
12:00 - Semi Finals
15:00 - Final
Please click here for the schedule and further information from the 2019 Mercure City of Perth Masters.
Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.