SCOTLAND’S WHEELCHAIR CURLERS FINALISTS AT KISAKALLIO CUP
Scotland’s wheelchair curlers for the World Championships in Wetzikon, Switzerland next month (29 February – 7 March 2020) have boosted their confidence ahead of that event by reaching the final of the Kisakallio Cup in Finland.
British and Scottish Head Wheelchair Coach Sheila Swan is pleased with the progress the team has made this season, exemplified by their result this week.
“It is probably the strongest field the team has competed in this season, with only three teams (Canada, Slovakia and China) missing from the line-up this week that will feature in the World Champs next month,” she said.
“Although we are a little disappointed that we did not get over the line this time and finish the job, we can however take a lot of confidence from this result and it certainly shows how this team can step up to the challenge of playing and competing with the world’s best.
“Overall I am pleased with the performance. There are lots of positives to take away and it was good to get wins under belts in the round robin and continue that in the play-off stages. Getting into the winning habit is always helpful at this stage. It was a close final and it demonstrates that there is still more work to do in training over the next five weeks to make sure we taper properly for our biggest target of the year.”
Hugh Nibloe skipped the Scotland representatives in Finland, having stepped up to that role this season after Aileen Neilson decided to take a break from top flight competition. Sochi bronze medallist and fellow Paralympian Robert McPherson was also in the line-up along with Charlotte McKenna, who like Nibloe and McPherson will be representing Scotland at the Worlds next month, hoping to replicate the form that took the team to the final in Stirling last year.
Also in action in the absence of David Melrose, the fourth member of the team selected for the World Championships, were Gary Smith and Meggan Dawson-Farrell, both of whom are relative newcomers to the programme with Dawson-Farrell only being selected this season.
“This week has been a good test for a team that has a real mixture of experience and fresh new talent,” said Swan. “For McKenna who will be making her world debut it has helped her to get used to back to back, two game days which she will experience in Switzerland in her biggest event yet, plus the tournament has enabled me to give our programme newcomers a taste of world class action and again replicating that world championship experience and overall it has been a really satisfying week.
“Knowing the challenges of the Worlds given the number of matches the curlers compete in over the course of the event, it is vital we are as best prepared as we can be. Giving squad members this kind of competition experience is a valuable opportunity for them and also provides us with the chance for contingency planning, in the event of scenarios such as injury and illness, so really helps our preparation process.”
The Scots have one more event at the Euro Super League next weekend in their final push ahead of the last stages of training and following that, Swan will be looking to select the fifth and final member of the team for Switzerland.
“We are moving in the right direction ahead of the Worlds with a different team this time around and we are looking forward to our last event next weekend when it will be great to keep building on the positives from this week,” she added.
Kisakallio Cup Team:
Hugh Nibloe (skip)
Players selected for World Championships:
Please click here for results from the Kisakallio Cup .
Please click here for more information on the World Wheelchair Curling Championships.
Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.