Former Mearns Academy pupil James Craik is off to Canada this week with dreams of bringing home a world junior curling title with his team.
James, 17, from Edzell, has won Scottish Asham U14, U17 and U21 tour titles – all by the time he was 16 – but just last month he won the big one.
James was part of Team Whyte, which secured the right to represent Scotland by winning the National Championships in Aberdeen, going nine games undefeated to book their ticket to Canada.
This victory was not just done in a week though; this was the culmination of years of training, travelling, playing, practice and sacrifices, with a few different personnel. In fact James left his own team just last season to join Team Whyte, such were the opportunities he saw ahead.
This season alone James has competed in some very high profile competitions and taken some memorable scalps along the way, even finding himself on TV a couple of times, but going to the worlds was what this season was always about.
“I joined this team with the absolute goal and belief in winning our national title and going out to the World Championships,” James said before departing for Canada. “We went out to Canada at the start of the season to compete but more to learn about each other’s game and start our season’s preparations.
“The other three guys in the team have all been to the worlds before and have that experience behind them so I know they will help with any nerves I might feel.
“We have Olympic and world silver medallist Greg Drummond with us as coach whose knowledge at international level will prove invaluable. I have also been fortunate enough in the past to represent Scotland at European and World Championships at Taekwondo, and with this I have a good idea of how to channel any nerves I may be feeling positively. I just want to get out on the ice now and go for it to be honest.”
James continued: “I would not be nearly as close to where I am without the support I have been given over the years. My parents, family and friends have always been there to drive, support and help in any way, but also local businesses and associations have helped make things possible.
“DM Carnegie, AP Jess, McPhees of Inverbervie, Forfar Indoor Sports, Ross Survival, Esk Glazing, Turriffs of Montrose, Angus Tyres, Edzell Golf Club, along with The Brechin Guildry, Laurencekirk & District Rotary, Edzell Curling Club and The Burn House have all given support to me.
“The Scottish Curling Academy, National Athlete Support Angus, Mearns Fitness and Forfar Young Curlers have also assisted with my training.
“I hope to do myself, family, supporters and country proud over in Canada and maybe bring home a medal.”
James left Mearns Academy last year having gained his entry requirements to Stirling University, which he deferred to start in September 2019.
James works at The Burn House, Edzell where he says he is very fortunate that they allow him the time off required to train and compete.
When he starts university his curling will not slow down though, as Stirling is the site of the national training centre.
The Scottish Curling social media page will keep everyone up to date on Team Whyte’s results in Canada.