Silver for Scotland’s wheelchair curlers at Stirling International
Scotland’s wheelchair curlers triumphed on home ice with a silver medal at the Stirling International but the team are already looking ahead to even more success.
The six-strong squad – Paralympic bronze medallists Aileen Neilson, Angie Malone, Gregor Ewan and Robert McPherson as well as Hugh Nibloe and John Doyle – competed among a high calibre field, facing World Championship silver medallists Russia in the final round.
Scotland, themselves world bronze medallists, pushed the Russians all the way in a tightly fought game, but it was their opponents who clinched a 5-4 win – and the title – with a final stone take out.
It had been a remarkable run to the final round for Scotland, with emphatic victories over the Czech Republic, England and Finland, with the Scots amassing double figures against all three.
But, not content with their lot, the team’s attentions have already switched to where their next medal will come from.
“It was a good result for us but the hard work is not over,” said skip Neilson.
“We have to maintain that level of performance if we are to kick on and get better and improve our results.
"While 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." Aileen Nielson
“So while 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.”
With the Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang now just five months away, team selection is looming as the squad await to discover who will be on the plane to South Korea.
They will soon travel across the Atlantic to face the USA and Canadian national teams, something which will be of valuable experience to the entire team.
“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,” said Sheila Swan, head wheelchair coach.
“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.”
Photo: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart