Warm up

The curlers selected to represent ParalympicsGB at PyeongChang 2018 warmed up for the South Korean cold with a runners-up spot at the British Open Wheelchair Championship.

Having come through the round robin phase in Hamilton with five wins from five matches, Aileen Neilson’s rink went into the semi-finals with hopes high but ended up losing to Korea in the final.

Neilson, along with Gregor Ewan, Hugh Nibloe, Robert McPherson and Angie Malone, played as Scotland in the event but will don the red, white and blue of ParalympicsGB in next month’s Paralympic Winter Games.

“The final was an extremely close game with only blank ends and singles being exchanged,” said Neilson.

“Team Scotland had to steal in the extra end and were lying shot until the Korean skip played a great take out through the port to take the victory.

“The event provided a great opportunity to compete in a high class line up and was a great confidence boost beating the German and Swedish Paralympic teams just before the Games.

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We have received lots of messages of support from friends and family and it is nice to know that everyone back home will be rooting for us when we are in PyeongChang competing for Great Britain.

Aileen Neilson

Not to be

Those round robin wins over international sides from Germany and Denmark were in addition to victories against some of the best wheelchair curling rinks from South Lanarkshire – which included several previous Paralympians.

A maximum of ten points, with 23 ends won, meant Scotland topped Group A after Sunday and Monday’s action.

Group B saw Korea match Scotland with a 100 per cent record, while Sweden also showed their strength to finish second with four wins from five matches.

That meant Scotland faced the Swedes in the semi-finals, with the home side edging the tie 5-4 in a closely-fought contest.

With Korea beating the rink skipped by Torino 2006 Paralympic silver medallist Michael McCreadie 6-4 in their semi-final, it set up a clash between the two unbeaten sides in Tuesday’s final.

It was not to be a third British Open title in a row for Neilson, though, as her rink were downed 6-3 by a strong Korean outfit in the extra end. 

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