Season review Q&As – part two

smith edi
Team Smith, Edinburgh International winners (photo: twitter.com/VikKjell/status/663401877388795906)

Following on from part one of my season review Q&As with Scottish/British teams, here are five more teams’ reflections on 2015-16.

Thanks to Eve Muirhead, David Murdoch, Katie Murray, Jamie Fletcher and Kyle Smith for providing me with the answers.

***

Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid)
Q: At which competition do you feel you played best as a team?
A: We lost Anna at the end of the season due to injury which was a massive loss to our team. She is making a speedy recovery and will be back stronger. Looking back at the season I feel we played well in several events. Silver medal at the Europeans was great and we played well enough to win it. The new Perth ladies event was great – fantastic ice conditions and we won it with some great play. Following that the Players Championships win. This is the pinnacle of Grand Slam events and you could argue it’s a better field than Worlds and Olympics as it’s the top 10 teams in the world… mainly Canadian.

Q: Which event did you enjoy most (atmosphere/socially)?
A: I love the Players Championship in Toronto. It’s the third time it’s been held there and it’s fantastic. It is played in the old Maple Leaf Gardens arena, five minutes walk from downtown (yes, great shopping!!!) and also next door to the hotel. The atmosphere is electric, crowds great and it’s a very social event with all the other teams.

Q: What was your shot of the year?
A: I think the shot for me would be the draw against five in the first end of the Players Championship final v Team Jones. It was crucial it was made to have a chance of victory. Skips get the glory when you make it but unfortunately the slack when you miss!

Q: Anna had a stint in the commentary box during the Perth Ladies International – which of her team-mates would be best at following in her footsteps and getting behind the mic?
A: Good question… I think Vicki would be the best. She is the curling knowledge bomb! If you have a question regarding any player, tournament etc, she knows the answer!

Q: Finally, at what stage are you regarding next season?
A: Still finishing up last season really. Briefly looked at a possible schedule but all the planning is still to come in the next few weeks. [Since Eve replied, Team Muirhead announced the departures of Sarah Reid and coach David Hay ahead of next season.]

***

Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow)
Q: At which competition do you feel you played best as a team?
A: We had such a hugely successful season on tour with four World Curling Tour wins and other great results in various events, but I would say our performances at the European Masters would rank highest.

Q: Which event did you enjoy most (atmosphere/socially)?
A: We really enjoyed the Grand Slams this year which we played well in and I would say the Players Championship had the best atmosphere. It was played in the old Maple Leaf Gardens which is in the heart of downtown Toronto. We had a great week on ice, making the semi-finals, it was a lot of fun and the crowds were fantastic.

Q: What was your shot of the year?
A: Well we played 109 games this year so I’m sure there are a bunch to choose from every player but we think a shot to win an event is always special. We had a tricky back line tap back and lie in an extra end to beat Team Canada’s Pat Simmons at the Karuizawa International in Japan. It was a full team effort, with a big sweep from Scotty… It made us millionaires!! Shame about the currency though…

Q: Name and shame time. Which team member had the most embarrassing moment this season?
A: I was going to say ‘we’ but actually Scott is to blame for hitting a large deer and almost writing off our rental van in Nova Scotia, Canada. There was a lot of damage but I’m told it could have been worse but for Scott’s quick reaction. The deer I’m sure blames Scott, we blame Scott… but he blames it on Ian Tetley!!

Q: If you needed a ‘super sub’ from one of the teams you’ve played this season, who would it be and why?
A: We would probably go with Marc Kennedy. The guy is a total pro on and off the ice and has won everything in the game.

Q: Finally, at what stage are you regarding next season?
A: We are currently detailing next season’s schedule. There is a huge amount of work to be put in and every day has to have a detailed plan so we can continue to learn and improve as a team. We really want to push the boundaries next season so we can achieve our goals.

***

Team Murray (Katie Murray, Rebecca Morrison, Hailey Duff, Mili Smith)
Q: At which competition do you feel you played best as a team?
A: Throughout the season I feel that we played well as a team, with good results in the Asham Slam and a second place finish at the Scottish Juniors. I feel the Glynhill Ladies was our best team performance. We may not have qualified for the later stages of the competition but we had some good solid wins over tough opposition and learned a lot from playing against teams like Anna Sidorova’s.

Q: Which event did you enjoy most (atmosphere/socially)?
A: The event that I enjoyed most this season would be the EJCT in Thun. It’s always nice to compete abroad against teams outwith the Scottish circuit.

Q: If you needed a ‘super sub’ from one of the teams you’ve played this season, who would it be and why?
A: Sophie Jackson – she was a member of Team Murray for four years before taking on her own team. I know how she plays and she can easily fit into any position on the team.

Q: Finally, at what stage are you regarding next season?
A: The World Mixed will be my only competition of next season as I am taking a year out to focus on my career. I will miss the girls and the game a lot, but I wish them the best with their new teams for next season.

***

Team Pougher (James Pougher, Rhys Phillips, Gary Coombs, Jamie Fletcher, Simon Pougher)
Q: At which competition do you feel you played best as a team?
A: Our best team performance probably came at the Edinburgh International. Despite the fact that we didn’t manage a win, we were able to keep up with some very skilled teams. It gave us a lot of confidence heading into Europeans.

Q: Which event did you enjoy most (atmosphere/socially)?
A: The European Curling Championships in Esbjerg was a great event. Having the A and the B Divisions so close together really helped to maintain the atmosphere, and the social area between the two rinks encouraged the teams to socialise with one another.

Q: What was your shot of the year?
A: There are quite a few contenders for this crown, but our shot of the year was the last stone we played at Europeans. Up 7-4, with hammer, in the eighth end, we were sitting second and third shot as we went to throw our last stone. The Croatian shot stone was half buried and in a good position to jam if we didn’t get to the inside. James, our skip, threw it perfectly, navigating the guard and pushing the shot stone through the house to score three, end the game, and secure our position in the B group for another year.

wales men
Team Pougher at the Europeans in Esbjerg (photo: WCF)

Q: Name and shame time. Which team member had the most embarrassing moment this season?
A: During a game at Europeans we had just finished our between end meeting so James started to make his way to the other end while the rest of us went to set up for our first stone. Out of nowhere, we heard a huge crash and the three of us turned around to find James picking himself up off the ice, trying to figure out what had happened! We all had a good laugh at that one.

Q: If you needed a ‘super sub’ from one of the teams you’ve played this season, who would it be and why?
A: Well, based on how badly we lost to them, and the incredible performance they had at the World Championship, the easy answer here would be Rasmus Stjerne. I think it’s also worth mentioning Radek Bohac as well, though. We played David Sik at the Edinburgh International in November – Radek is his third. No matter what we did in that game, he always found a way to put us under pressure. He was also just a pleasure to be around on and off the ice. He’d be more than welcome as a super sub on our team.

Q: Finally, at what stage are you regarding next season?
A: There were several factors that went into my decision to take next season off, but I’ll still be doing whatever I can to help out off the ice. As for next season, there are still a few question marks around what line-up we’ll have for each competition, but the team that will compete at Europeans in Braehead will include Adrian Meikle. We’re still working out what our schedule will look like in the run up to Europeans, but it’s likely to include several Scottish Curling Tour events and at least one on the Curling Champions Tour.

***

Team Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith)
Q: At which competition do you feel you played best as a team?
A: I felt we had a really strong start to the season and had our best results then. We played our best at the European playdowns and the Edinburgh International, I felt.

Q: Which event did you enjoy most (atmosphere/socially)?
A: I think there are a lot of great events on the tour and we were lucky to play in some brilliant competitions this season. Our team had a great time in Newfoundland and Labrador at the Tour Challenge (tier 2) Grand Slam. We also thoroughly  enjoyed our experience at the European Championships! But some of our favourite events on the European tour are the Perth Masters, Swiss Cup Basel and the end of season European Masters in St Gallen. There are so many good events though – there’s not an event we play in where we don’t enjoy our curling.

Q: Name and shame time. Which team member had the most embarrassing moment this season?
A: Probably me! I managed to leave my curling stuff at home before a game at the Scottish Championships this year, so had to race back to the house to grab it to make it on time!!

Q: If you needed a ‘super sub’ from one of the teams you’ve played this season, who would it be and why?
A: Probably Jim Cotter. We played him in Canada and he is just a great player with a lot of experience that we would definitely look up to.

Q: Finally, at what stage are you regarding next season?
A: We are at the stage that we have decided to play again and are just trying to put together a schedule to give ourselves the best chance to be prepared for the Scottish Championships. We are looking at our training schedules as well to see how we can improve them from what we have done in recent seasons.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s