The first women’s games at the Scottish Curling Championships took place, with Team Muirhead winning twice.
Teams Gray and Jackson also won both of their matches, but the biggest test of their credentials comes tomorrow – both play Muirhead.
In the men’s competition, Team Murdoch continue to lead the way on four wins, but there are four teams – Brewster, Bryce, Hardie and Mouat – sitting on W3 L1.
The first women’s draw saw a few nervous moments for Team Muirhead as they let a 3-0 lead slip, Team Young stealing in ends four and five to lead 4-3.
But a steal for Muirhead in end seven tied it up at 5-5 and they scored three in end nine, before running Young out of stones to win 8-5.
Last year’s runners-up Team Fleming scored three in end one and four in end four to race into a 7-1 lead against Team K Aitken.
A steal of two in end seven effectively killed the game off, Aitken shaking hands after eight ends at 10-5.
Scottish Junior champions Team Jackson also scored 10, scoring three in end two then reeling off the steals – one in end three, four in end four, one in end five and one in end six as they beat Team G Aitken 10-2 in seven.
Team Gray, meanwhile, faced Team Murray, this season’s Asham U21 Slam winners. Gray scored three in end one but found themselves dragged back to 4-4 after five.
But from there it was Gray who kicked on, stealing two in end seven and one in end eight on their way to winning 8-5.
Skip Lauren Gray said: “The main thing is getting to grips with the ice and getting wins on the board.
“It’s great to have more teams this year, and those that have come up are very good junior teams.”
The third men’s draw saw both Team Bryce and Team Murdoch keep up their winning starts.
Bryce stole ones in ends four and seven in a game against Team Macleod that saw no more than one scored in any end, running out victors 5-2.
Murdoch, meanwhile, won the rematch of the 2015 championships final, beating Team MacDonald 7-3 courtesy of threes in ends one and eight – and handed MacDonald their third consecutive defeat.
Team Smith, however, couldn’t take their third win – beaten 6-3 by Team Brewster in a tight game that was blown open by a four for Brewster in end eight.
Tom Brewster said afterwards: “We just have to make sure we’re in the playoffs at the end of the week – that’s what it’s all about.
“We’ll probably lose some more, and win some more, so we just need to win more than we lose.”
In the other games, Team Mouat gained their second win by beating Team Brydone 7-2 courtesy of twos in ends three, four and six, while Team Hardie also picked up win number two after defeating Combe 10-4 with threes in ends one and two and two in end five.
In the second women’s draw, Muirhead were on fire against Fleming, the two teams who contested last year’s final.
They scored two in end two, stole one in end three, scored a huge four in end five and stole another one in end six to win 8-2.
Afterwards Eve Muirhead said: “We played OK today – in the second game we were right on with our line and weight.
“The ice is great – we just need to adapt to the speed, curl and temperature faster than our opponents this week.”
Joining Muirhead on two wins were Gray – who finished strongly with a five in end eight and steal of two in nine to beat G Aitken 8-4 – and Jackson.
Jackson roared into an 8-2 lead in end four only to see it cut to 8-7 by end seven… then scoring four in end eight to kill off a topsy-turvy encounter.
Skip Sophie Jackson said: “We had to pick it up after a couple of slack ends and come back. We used our coping strategies and stuck together.
“I’m pleased with the team performances, building on our success from Juniors.”
In the fourth match, K Aitken and Young went to an extra end tied at 7-7 – Young used hammer to win the game, hitting and sticking to take the game 8-7.
The fourth men’s draw saw Murdoch continue their relentless start to the competition, their steal of two in end seven proving the difference in an otherwise tight match with Smith – won 6-4.
But there are now four teams on W3 L1 records – Brewster took their third win and handed Bryce their first loss with a four in end three and three in end six as they took it 8-3.
Also on three wins are Mouat, who meted out another defeat to MacDonald, 10-6, courtesy of twos in ends two, four and five and three in end eight.
And Hardie are quietly going about their business, notching a third victory with three in end three and two in eight en route to beating Macleod 7-3.
In the fifth match of the night, Brydone picked up their first win of the competition, letting slip a 5-2 lead but scoring one in end 10 to see off Combe 6-5.
Tomorrow sees four more draws – the women at 8am (inc. Jackson v Muirhead), men at noon (inc. Brewster v Mouat), women at 4pm (inc. Gray v Muirhead) and men at 8pm (inc. Bryce v Mouat).