I've had a couple of questions about what's happening in the B Divisions, and how the World Challenge is organised. I must admit that it's not easy to get one's head around all that is going on here in Aberdeen, outwith the confines of the Linx Arena.
Let's start with the women's B Division. As I began writing this the two teams that have come to the top, Latvia and the Netherlands, were battling it out for the Division B title. Both these teams will play in the A Division at the next Euro event in Champery. The winner also gets the chance to try gain a place in this season's world championship. That team is Latvia, who pipped the Dutch at an extra end! You can get to all the linescores here.
The reason is that the European Championships double up as the qualification event for the Worlds. Think of it as the European Zone, which usually supplies eight teams, joining with two from the Pacific Zone and two from the Americas to make up the twelve that compete in the Worlds.
So Latvia now has to win a challenge series against the team that finished eighth in the A rankings after the round robin. Why the eighth? The ninth and tenth teams are not going to the worlds, and indeed are relegated to the B Divisions at next year's Europeans. Finland finished eighth in the women's round robin. Their place in Swift Current is open to challenge, and the challenge is a best of three games this evening and tomorrow, at both Curl Aberdeen and at the Linx. Are you following me?
Now, you would think the men would be the same, but this year it's not! Look at the teams at the bottom of the men's rankings. Denmark was ranked 7th, Czech Republic 8th, Finland 9th and Italy 10th, and it needed a tiebreaker to decide 8th and 9th when both countries finished on the same round robin record. For next year's Europeans, there's no problem. The Czech Republic and Italy are relegated, and their places taken by Russia and the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is the B Champion, and in a normal year they would challenge the eighth placed team ie the Czech Republic. But this is not a 'normal' year. Italy is the host of the upcoming World Championships in Cortina, and the host gets an automatic place at the world event. So there are this year just seven teams going forward to the worlds from the Aberdeen 'qualifier'. The bottom ranked of these is the team that finished in seventh place after the round robin, Denmark, and so this year the Danes have to face the challenge. It does seem somewhat odd, but that's the way that it has been agreed in the rules. These can be found within the WCF Rulebook which can be downloaded from here.