At last, after two days of waiting, the England junior teams played their first games at the EJCC today. The girls were on first against a Hungarian team who had already had one game today when they had beaten Poland by 8-4.
It was a close affair all the way - the English girls started well, playing a straightforward game in the house, trying to force a miss from Hungary but it never came until the third end, when after two blanked ends they forced the Hungarians to take 1. A well crafted 4th end got them the two they wanted and it was 2-1 at the half time break. More pressure on Hungary in the 5th end and their skip had to draw to take a one to level the scores at 2-2.
A chance to take 2 in the 6th end was squandered and the 1 that resulted was matched by Hungary in the 7th end but we were peels with hammer playing the last end. As often happens, problems with peeling guards and some unfortunate ricochets left us facing one Hungarian counter as Hetty Garnier came to play her last draw - the way was open but she was a bit light and the first steal of the game unfortunately resulted in a 3-4 defeat.
Then the boys came up against an Austrian team who played a really good, if simple, game hitting with great accuracy and power once they had forged a 3-0 lead. In the end they were just too strong for England and won 6-2.
After this quiet start it is a busy day tomorrow with both teams playing 2 games and so a long day down at the rink with games beginning at 0900 and the last game off the ice about 2130.
The organisers have been experimenting with web streaming here in Prague and tested it on two games, one of which was the England v Hungary game. Commentary was provided by Dan Raphael, the Czech Republic coach who has no teams to supervise this week as both are in the Worlds already. At one stage I believe 46 people were watching including ECA President Alison Arthur who was passing me instructions to tell Dan to speak up!! I do not know if this will continue - it is basically one cameraman and it really can only be used on the end sheet - on which England have no more games!!!!
Those of you who have visited the website will have seen the team pictures - my apologies for the Mr Michelin man look - I blame it on the camera lens the photographer was using. Many thanks to all those who have sent messages to the teams - keep them coming - it is always good for them to know that people are following their progress.
Hopefully I will find time to update regularly tomorrow - problem is that the wi-fi at the rink is very temperamental and cannot be relied upon to be available long enough to do very much posting and so I have to wait until I get back to the hotel in the evening.