Team Muirhead defeated both 2015 Women’s World Championship finalists on their way to the Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup final, where they were beaten by the in-form and firing Team Homan of Canada.
Muirhead’s runners-up spot brought with it prize money of 60,000 Swedish Krona (around £4,700) and indicated that they are steadily building into the season, having made the quarter finals of the first Grand Slam of Curling event of 2015-16 earlier in the month.
The team (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) were one of three Scottish rinks to participate in the Curling Champions Tour event.
However, neither Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Lorna Vevers, Alice Spence, Abi Brown) nor Team Gray (Lauren Gray, Jen Dodds, Vicki Wright, Mhairi Baird) were able to win a match – despite coming close to a couple of notable upsets.
Team Fleming were drawn in a group with Olympic champions Team Jones of Canada, Team Sidorova of Russia, Team Jäggi from Switzerland and Team Kauste of Finland.
Their first match was against Sidorova, and they had a disastrous start, going 6-0 down after just three ends – and they were unable to recover, eventually losing 7-4.
They were then beaten 9-4 by Team Jäggi, before facing Team Jones.
The Scots came so close to pulling off a major surprise, taking a 6-3 lead into the eighth end, but a four for Jones at the death saw the 2015 Women’s World Championship silver medallists escape with a 7-6 win.
Team Fleming then lost 6-4 to Team Kauste, meaning that despite some positive performances they finished the competition on no wins and four defeats.
Team Gray’s pool contained Swiss world champions Team Pätz, Team Sigfridsson of Sweden, Team Matsumura from Japan and Team Barbezat, also of Switzerland.
Like Team Fleming, their first match saw them get off to a poor start – leaking points to Team Sigfridsson to go down 8-1 after five ends.
They performed much better against Team Pätz, matching their Swiss counterparts all the way to the eighth end, only to give up three right at the finale to lose 6-5.
However, they were unable to take momentum from giving the world champions such a scare, losing their remaining group games 8-4 to Matsumura and 5-4 to Barbezat (the latter after an extra end).
As for Team Muirhead, they were in a group alongside Team Feltscher of Switzerland, two Swedish teams – Östlund and Wranå – and Team Nielsen from Denmark.
Their opening game, against Östlund, went toe-to-toe all the way, with the Swedes going into the eighth end 6-5 up – and then stealing one to win the match 7-5.
They bounced back with a 9-3 win over Team Nielsen – sealed by a steal of four in end seven – and then defeated Team Feltscher 8-5.
A 6-4 win over Team Wranå saw them safely into the quarter finals with a P4 W3 L1 record.
There they came up against Team Pätz, and took the Swiss rink down 8-0, stealing two in end three and another five in end four.
In the semi finals, another five-ender put Team Muirhead 7-2 up on Team Jones, and they saw out the victory in a very high-scoring match, 11-7.
So the title decider was fought out between Team Muirhead and the rink which beat them in the Tour Challenge quarter finals, Team Homan.
The Canadians got into the swing of things quicker than their opponents, stealing singles in ends one and two, but Team Muirhead got back on track with a three in end three.
Team Homan took a 4-3 lead at the half-way mark and then stole two further singles to stretch their lead to 6-3.
That was too much for the Scots to make up, the final score being 7-5 – highlights of the match here.
It was, however, a very solid weekend’s competition for Team Muirhead – who next compete in Basel from October 9.
For pictures from the competition, visit the event’s Facebook photo albums page here.