#scc2016 day three: Tight at the top

B Mouat
Bruce Mouat and his rink are in contention for a playoff place (Photo: Tom Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

While Team Muirhead continue to blaze a trail in the women’s section at the Scottish Curling Championships, the men’s competition is much tighter, with no teams left unbeaten.

Teams Brewster, Hardie and Murdoch all sit on five wins and one defeat, while Teams Bryce and Mouat are just behind on W4 L2.

Behind Muirhead, Team Gray hold a W3 L1 record, ahead of Teams G Aitken, Fleming and Jackson, all on two wins and two losses.

***

Team Muirhead faced another unbeaten rink in the third women’s draw, but blew Team Jackson away, just as they had Team Fleming yesterday.

A four in end one was followed by a steal of one in end two and two in end three.

Jackson scored one in end four but when Muirhead took another one in end six, handshakes were offered.

Team Gray joined Muirhead on three wins by seeing off Team K Aitken, thanks to another strong finish akin to yesterday’s against Team Young.

Gray scored three in end four to lead 4-1 but then saw their lead wiped out by end eight. One in end nine and a steal of two in end 10 decided the game 7-4 in Gray’s favour, however.

Team G Aitken picked up their first win of the competition by beating Fleming 8-6, exchanging twos throughout the match before stealing two in end 10 as Hannah Fleming’s last draw was heavy.

Also winning their first #scc2016 game were Team Murray, who lost a 4-2 lead to Young as the match went to an extra end – but two for Murray in the extra finished the job.

Skip Katie Murray said: “It’s good to get on the board. It was a better team performance.

“We want to build on it for the rest of the week and stick together.”

***

D Murdoch
David Murdoch’s unbeaten record didn’t survive day three (photo: Tom Brydone)

The fifth men’s draw saw the last unbeaten record vanish, Team Bryce drawing in well to block off David Murdoch’s route to the button and stealing four in end seven.

Team Murdoch couldn’t recover from that, losing 8-4.

Alongside Bryce and Murdoch on W4 L1 were Team Brewster – who needed an extra end to defeat Team Mouat 7-6, having led 4-2 after four and 6-4 after nine but giving up two in end 10, meaning that Tom Brewster had to draw the four foot in the extra to win.

Team Hardie also notched their fourth win, recovering from losing a three in end one to see off Team Smith 9-4, courtesy of steals in ends three and four, two in end six and three in the ninth.

Holders Team MacDonald picked up their first win of the championships by defeating Combe 10-6, by taking two in end one, four in end six and two in end nine.

Team Brydone, meanwhile, got their second win against Macleod, 9-6 – scoring twos in ends three, six and nine.

***

The pick of the games in women’s draw four was Gray v Muirhead, as the two teams with three wins met.

Gray kept it tight early on, something Muirhead’s last two opponents couldn’t manage, before giving up twos in ends four and six that ultimately decided the game, won 5-3.

Lauren Gray was pleased with her team’s performance nonetheless, saying: “We’re going well, we’re three and one, and we’re encouraged by that performance.

“[Team Muirhead] are just so consistent, they have the quality and experience to constantly have you under pressure.”

G Aitken 2
Gina Aitken (photo: Tom Brydone)

G Aitken got their second win of the day, beating Young 10-0 in six ends, and Fleming joined them on two wins and two losses by defeating Murray 6-5.

Hannah Fleming, who drew for the winning point in end 10, said: “That was a real big one. We’re not playing badly – teams are just getting key shots at the right time against us.

“We needed confidence [from the win]; if we keep going as we are there’s no reason we can’t make the playoffs.”

K Aitken, meanwhile, got their first win of the event by beating Jackson 11-10, having led 6-0 and 11-6, and just about holding on for the victory.

***

Murdoch were back to winning ways in men’s draw six, stealing two in end five and three in end eight to beat Macleod 8-1.

Ewan MacDonald
Ewan MacDonald (photo: Tom Brydone)

Brewster were narrow victors over MacDonald, their three in end three pivotal in a 5-4 win that went down to the wire on the time clock.

 

Also making it to five wins for the competition were Hardie, who scored twos in ends three and six to see off Brydone 4-1.

Bryce suffered a nightmare two ends against Mouat – giving up three in end two and a steal of four in end three – that saw handshakes after just six ends at 8-2, and places both teams on W4 L2 records.

Bruce Mouat said afterwards: “We’re playing pretty well. The guys [have high stats]… I have a bit of a cold but I just stand there!”

On what they learned from making the playoffs last year, he added: “You have to pick it up from the round robin – keep playing well or even better.”

Smith halted their run of defeats and kept their playoff hopes alive by beating Combe 7-5, but it looks like they will need to win all of their remaining games to make the final four.

***

Tomorrow is the last full day of round robin games, starting with the fifth women’s draw at 8am, including G Aitken v Muirhead and Fleming v Jackson.

The seventh men’s draw is at noon (inc. Brewster v Murdoch), before the sixth women’s draw at 4pm (inc. Gray v Jackson) and the eighth men’s draw at 8pm (inc. Hardie v Mouat).

Updates, quotes and photos to come on the Roaring Game Blog’s Facebook and Twitter.

And there will be shot-by-shot coverage throughout the day on CurlingGeek, as well as linescores on the event page here.

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