European Junior Curling Challenge 2014 day 1

The European Junior Curling Challenge 2014 got under way in Lohja, Finland on Friday. The competition is being held at the Kisakallio Sports Institute and a total of 26 teams from 16 countries have come to compete for the final two places in the 2014 World Junior Curling Championships.

This is the 4th WCF curling event that Kisakallio is hosting and the head of the event organisation Lauri Ikävalko is very pleased with how everything has been working out. The organisation has gone smoothly and all of the teams have arrived safely. Also the playing conditions are looking great as the Head Ice Maker Jorgen Larsen has been preparing the venue for the past week. Ikävalko also mentioned how great it is that Kisakallio has been able to organise timers for the event, so that for the first time in the history of EJCC events, the young players get the experience of playing with time clocks.

Most of the ice time on Friday was dedicated for pre-event practice, but there was already one draw played this evening in which six teams from the junior men's A pool and four teams from the junior women's B pool played against each other.

The Dutch junior men's team had a strong start against Slovenia taking the game with a score of 9-1 after six ends. Both the Dutch skip Wouter Gösgens and vice-skip Laurens Hoekman were part of the same team that finished 3rd in the 2013 EJCC event. For all of the Slovenian players, this is their first appearance at this event.

In last year’s EJCC, Denmark's junior men's team had a great result finishing 2nd with a team skipped by Tobias Thune. This year they have an entirely new team representing their country. However, in their first game, this new team skipped by Kasper Jorgensen, took a convincing victory over England with a score of 10 to 1. For England's skip Ben Fowler and vice-skip Oliver Kendall, this is their fourth consecutive appearance in the EJCC events. In their next game, England will be playing against Slovenia.

The Austrian junior men's team also started with a win in a match that was slightly closer as they managed a 4-1 win over Spain.

In the two junior women's games that were played at the same time, Turkey made a great comeback against Poland with a score of three points in the 8th end to take the game into extra end. After a great extra end, they secured a 8-6 win over Poland with a steal of 2.

Also Estonia got a great start to the event in what turned out to be the closest game of the first round against Latvia. Latvia took a 5-0 lead in the first five ends of the game but once the Estonian team got their game going, they went on to steal the game, after scoring 2 in the 6th, stealing 1 in the 7th and finally stealing 3 in the eight end to eventually win the game 6-5.
The first games on Saturday start at 9.00 am local time.

Follow the results from the EJCC 2014 here: www.curling.fi/en/competitions/leagues/9638

A live webcast from the event can be seen here:
www.curling.fi/en/competitions/curling-channel

Report by Katja Kiiskinen
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WCF Member Associations that have already qualified teams for the World Junior Curling Championships 2014 are:

Junior Women: Russia (Gold 2013), Scotland (Silver 2013), Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, USA, Switzerland, and Canada.

Junior Men: Scotland (Gold 2013), Russia (Silver 2013), Canada (Bronze 2013), Sweden, Norway, Italy, USA and Switzerland.

Further information about the World Juniors 2014 can be seen here on the event website: http://wjcc2014.curlingevents.com

The Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships 2014 will take place in Harbin, China, from 9-14 January following a day of training on 8 January. It will be the 10th edition of the event.

Five junior men’s and five junior women’s teams from Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will compete in the event.

All teams will play a double round robin through to Monday 13 January. Semi-finals and finals will be held on Tuesday 14.

The winning junior men's and junior women's teams will qualify for the 2014 World Junior Championships in Flims.