Team Jackson Win World B Champs And Qualify For World Juniors
Team Jackson pulled off an impressive performance at their first competitive outing of 2017 winning the World Junior B Curling Championships in Ostersund and qualifying Scotland for the World Junior Championships next month.
After they topped the European Junior Curling Tour rankings at the end of last year they continued that solid form to ease through the round robin stages of the tournament unbeaten, before they went on to defeat Norway 8-2 in the quarter final. They followed that up with a 6-2 semi final victory over China, a result which confirmed Scotland’s place at the World Junior Curling Championships which will be hosted in Gangneung in the Republic of Korea (19-26 February).
In the final against Turkey they led throughout, securing a double at the first which was followed by an exchange of singles over the next two ends. However a big steal of three by the Scots in the fourth end proved pivotal and despite the Turkish rink skipped by Dilsat Yildiz responding with a two at the next, it was not enough to muster a serious challenge and after a further exchange of singles the Scots claimed their ninth straight victory 7-4 to be crowned champions.
“It was our main goal this past week and we were well prepared for the tournament and although we had to leave for this champs at the end of last year we took all of that in our stride and it was quite nice seeing in the New Year in snowy Sweden and it has all been worth it”, said skip Sophie Jackson.
“We had a couple of slow starts but we always controlled the latter stages of our games and we always managed to stay in front. It was difficult at times avoiding the temptation to start looking at standings and other team results but Naomi (Brown) is very good at keeping us chilled and reminding us to keep the focus and take one step at a time.
“We have a wee bit of time when we get back to recharge our batteries before we compete in the Scottish Junior Champs in Aberdeen to win the right to compete at the World Juniors. The event is staged the same way, it is the same length and same amount of games so we need to repeat what we have done here again.
“As a team we have bonded well, we are good at keeping each other’s heads up when the pressure is on and their support certainly helps me.
After skipping the team that was relegated from the World Junior Curling Championships last year, Jackson said it was important to redeem herself and re-qualify.
“For both me and Naomi being part of that team last year we felt as though we had let Scotland down. We are such an important curling nation it was important to both of us to get back up as Scotland should be represented at the world juniors so we had a job to do and it is good to have that success”, she observed.
“However we need to keep up the hard work and keep bringing our A game and not get too far ahead of ourselves as we want to be that team in Korea.”
Team Coach Cate Brewster added: “They are a focused group of young ladies who planned for this event and competed in a lot of tournaments prior to this to prepare themselves as best as they could. They have had every possible competitive scenario and challenge put in front of them and they have coped with every eventuality extremely well and kept very level headed.
“They stuck to the plan this week and I am really happy with them and how they played throughout this championship. They have a strong leadership in their team and this is working very well for them.”
England’s men and women were also competing in the tournament but unfortunately did not progress out of the group stages.
For more information and results from the World B Junior Curling Championships please click here. http://worldcurling.org/wjcc2017/wjbcc-schedule
Laura Barr (alternate)
Photo copyright: WCF / Jorgen Nilsson.