SCOTLAND’S WHEELCHAIR CURLERS WIN SILVER AT STIRLING INTERNATIONAL
A sterling performance from Scotland’s wheelchair curlers saw them narrowly miss out 5-4 to World silver medallists Russia in the final round of the Stirling Wheelchair International, hosted at The Peak in Stirling (17-20 October). In a closely fought game which could have gone either way for the world bronze medallists, it was Team Russia that claimed the title with a final stone take out.
Head Wheelchair Coach Sheila Swan commended the team, Paralympic bronze medallists Aileen Neilson, Angie Malone, Gregor Ewan and Robert McPherson as well as Hugh Nibloe and John Doyle for their performances throughout the week among a high calibre field.
“It was a world class field this week at Stirling with a number of Paralympic nations competing so it was important for the team to have a good week and I am really pleased with their performances,” she said.
“We have been rotating the line up all week and despite those constant changes they have all responded really well to the challenge.”
Swan, a member of Jackie Lockhart’s world championship quartet back in 2002 is well aware of the sacrifices a team has to make to ensure they remain at the top of the game.
“We have witnessed how other countries are constantly getting better and we know that we need to keep improving. After a month of hard work and training in the summer we had some mixed performances in Denmark and Wetzikon, so it is pleasing to see the fruits of those labours back in August starting to shine through in results on the ice.
“All of the competing nations can provide stiff opposition and win games but those nations who are consistent in their games are the ones that do well at major championships and our team certainly found that level of consistency this week, which they now need to maintain.”
It was a sentiment echoed by skip Aileen Neilson, who said after the final: “It was a good result for us but the hard work is not over. We have to maintain that level of performance if we are to kick on and get better and improve our results. So whilst it was good to get a silver here in Stirling which will be a boost to all of the team who played well, we have to now build on that.”
The squad will embark on their American and Canadian campaign next month time ahead of the final selection of the team to go to the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang next year.
Swan added: “It will be good to take the team out to America and Canada as it is a few years since we have been out there and they undoubtedly have a bigger strength and depth to their club environment. All of the teams will be good and we will also have the chance to play against the Canadian and USA national teams, whom we have not played since the last world championships so there will be lots of good competitive experiences ahead of the Paralympic selection later this year.”
John Doyle (Stonehouse)
Gregor Ewan (Elgin)
Angie Malone (Glasgow)
Robert McPherson (Bellshill)
Aileen Neilson (Strathaven) – Skip
Hugh Nibloe (Stranraer)
4th Stirling Wheelchair Curling International Results:
Scotland v Czech Republic 11-4
Scotland v Norway 7-6
Scotland v Korea 6-4
Scotland v England 10-2
Scotland v Switzerland 5-6
Scotland v Finland 10-1
Scotland v Russia 4-5
PHOTO: PERTHSHIRE PICTURE AGENCY – GRAEME HART.