The European Mixed Curling Championship 2012 was formally opened in Erzurum, Turkey at 7 PM Sunday.
The wonderful ice arena – built two years ago for the FISU Winter Universiade – is staging this competition hosted by the Turkish Ice Skating Federation and its Curling Committee.
The colourful opening ceremony of the European Mixed Championship, in which 24 countries are taking part , began with the participating countries marching into the Ice Arena.
Mrs Jeanette Johnston, Competition Director of the European Curling Federation and Mr Murat Akin the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee welcomed the participants.
After raising the banner of the European Curling Federation and the national flag of Turkey the first stone of the competition was thrown by the Chairman of the of the Turkish Curling Committee Mr Nurretin Arican.
An enthusiastic crowd supported the Turkish team in its close match against Norway – who won by 2 shots.
From an Irish viewpoint the event got off to a highly successful first day in Erzurum on Monday with convincing wins over Slovenia (8-3) and France (9-4), in what has become known as the “Group of Death”.
Here, Irish Curling Association team member and “Galloway Gazette” journalist Louise Kerr brings us up to date with those Irish victories.
Ireland 8 Slovenia 3:
Ireland: Robin GRAY, Louise KERR, Johnjo KENNY, Hazel GORMLEY-LEAHY
Slovenia: Gregor VERBINC, Valentina JURINCIC, Jost LAJOVEC, Nadja PIPAN
“Ireland got off to a good start in the European Mixed Curling Championships here in Erzurum, Turkey. This was despite losing a three at the first end. The Irish team had played a steady end but the Slovakian ship played a great two stones to get his deuce.
However, after that hiccup Ireland were totally in control of the rest of the game and were never really under any real pressure. After scoring two twos and singles in the next four ends there were handshakes offered.
Skip Robin Gray said: “It was good to get a win in the group of death as God knows where the next one will come from.”
Well he – and we – had not long to wait for later on Monday evening came the win against the French.
Ireland 9 France 4:
Ireland: Robin GRAY, Louise KERR, Johnjo KENNY, Hazel GORMLEY-LEAHY.
France: Sandrine LEVEQUE, Stephane VERGANUD, Nathalie LEVEQUE, Michel DUVERNE
“The Irish team got their second win in the European Mixed Championships when they beat France 9 – 4.
This was a more patchy performance than the earlier game. A two in the first end and a big four in the sixth end – which would have been a 5 if Robin Gray´s last stone had not picked up. They still have not yet been taken to the full 8 ends”.
Today Ireland faces two stiff tests – first off against one of the favourites Scotland in early afternoon followed by a night time tussle with Italy led by Alessandro Zisa and Violetta Caldart.
Scotland especially, with Ewan MacDonald and Eve Muirhead in their quartet, will prove a real handful for the Irish this afternoon.
Later in the week the Irish side meets Russia ,Switzerland and Sweden, so as Robin Gray says a real ‘Group of Death’.