It went to an extra end as the clock ticked towards midnight, but Team Murdoch eventually saw off Team Mouat to sit on two wins at the end of day one of the Scottish Curling Championships.
Teams Bryce and Smith also won their opening two games, but it was a tough start for Team MacDonald in their title defence, losing twice.
There were just the two draws on the first day of #scc2016, both men’s, but still the viewing area at the Dewars Centre attracted a decent crowd.
The opening draw saw a clash between reigning Scottish champions Team MacDonald and Scotland’s representatives at the 2015 European Championships, Team Smith.
It was Smith who made the better start, stealing one in end one and forcing one from MacDonald in end two.
A draw for two and a lead of 3-1 followed, but they were let off the hook in end four when MacDonald’s draw for two was light and only narrowed the gap by one.
MacDonald’s last stone was light again in end five, allowing Smith to draw in for another two, and although MacDonald scored twos in ends six and nine, Smith took two of their own in end seven and stole one in eight on their way to winning 8-7.
Team Murdoch picked up a steal of one in end two versus Team Brydone, then blew it open with a steal of four in the next end.
Brydone scored two in end seven but two for Murdoch in eight saw the game conceded with Murdoch 8-3 up.
Team Combe hit and stuck instead of blanking end one against Brewster, and Brewster scored three in end three for a lead which they never relinquished.
They scored two in end six, stole one in end seven and ran Combe out of stones in 10 to win 7-4.
Team Mouat scored two in end two versus Team Macleod, then stole a single in end three, two in end four and two in end five to lead 7-0.
Although Macleod got two back in end six, the game was essentially gone and they shook hands in end eight – victory going to Mouat 8-3.
The tightest game of the opening draw was between Teams Bryce and Hardie. Bryce scored three in end two to lead 3-1, but Hardie levelled at 4-4 after five.
Hardie then stole one in end six, before Bryce scored one in end seven and stole one in end eight to tip the balance back their way.
After forcing Hardie to one in end nine, Bryce scored the one they needed in end 10 for a 7-6 triumph.
The second draw of the day brought together two form teams: Mouat and Murdoch.
Their match did not disappoint either, as the sides traded ones up to end four, then twos to end eight – every time Murdoch got their noses in front, Mouat levelled immediately.
Ones in ends nine and 10 meant an extra end was needed, and Mouat piled on the pressure, only for skip David Murdoch to execute a tough double takeout to win.
Afterwards, he said: “Absolutely delighted [to start with two wins]. It’s a tough field, and everyone’s still figuring out the ice.
“It wasn’t the best extra end we’ve ever played but I just needed the guys to give me a final shot. Bruce [Mouat] played a great last shot and I had to make a downweight double… it was nice to make that at the end.
“Ahead of day two we need to switch off, get some sleep and chill out. It’s a tough week, the games come thick and fast like the Worlds or Europeans, but there’s a good flow to it.”
If that game was topsy-turvy then that was nothing on Bryce v MacDonald. Bryce led 4-0 after four ends, but MacDonald scored five in end five and four in end seven to lead 9-5.
Yet Bryce scored two in end eight, stole three in end nine and forced MacDonald to one in end 10 – allowing them to win it in the extra end, 11-10.
Smith’s second win came against Brydone, scoring two in end three and stealing two in end eight en route to a 7-4 victory.
Brewster, by contrast, came unstuck against Hardie, trading twos and then ones through to end 10, where Hardie used hammer to score one and win the game 5-4.
And Macleod secured victory against Combe, scoring two in end five, three in end seven and two in end nine to prompt handshakes at 8-3.
The first women’s draw is from 8am tomorrow, with Team Muirhead kicking off against Team Young, Team Fleming facing Team K Aitken, Team Gray playing Team Murray and Team Jackson versus Team G Aitken.
That is followed by the third men’s draw at noon, the second women’s draw at 4pm and fourth men’s draw at 8pm.