Gushue and Paetz win in Basel and Stockholm

TS_CurlingKyleSmith-8 - Pertshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart
Kyle Smith delivers a stone. Pic: British Curling/Perthshire Picture Agency (Graeme Hart)

The quarter-finals proved the limit for the Scottish rinks in action this weekend, with Team Mouat’s unbeaten start to the season finally ending in Basel, while Team Jackson gave a good account of themselves in Stockholm.

Team Drummond joined Mouat in the Swiss Cup Basel last eight, but neither could go any further, as the big European titles were claimed by current/former world champions in Teams Gushue and Paetz.

***

There were four Scottish rinks in Switzerland for the Swiss Cup Basel – Teams Brewster, Drummond, Mouat and Smith.

Brewster (Tom Brewster, Duncan Menzies, Scott Andrews, Alasdair Schreiber) began with three straight wins – over Retornaz, Sciboz and Stjerne – to make the A-Road final, only for them to miss out 6-5 against Ulsrud of Norway.

That proved the beginning of the end for them, as two more 6-5 defeats – against Kauste and Van Dorp – finished their challenge.

Drummond (Greg Drummond, Ross Paterson, Gregor Cannon, Michael Goodfellow, Derrick Sloan) opened with a thumping 8-1 win over Wunderer, but then lost to Baumann and Bruggmann to drop to the C-Road.

But victories over Heinimann and Walstad took them to the C-Road final, where they won their rematch with Baumann 6-1 to secure a playoff spot.

Mouat (Bruce Mouat, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie, Hammy McMillan) had won two tournaments in Ontario last month without losing a match, and they made it W15 L0 in Basel by seeing off Hess, only for the winning record to come to an end against De Cruz.

They responded by beating Snitil and Van Dorp, only to lose to De Cruz again to drop to the C-Road, where another win over Hess put them into the C final against Smith.

Smith (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) had reached that point courtesy of wins over Staehli and Van Dorp, defeats to Gushue and Edin, and then victories against McCormick and Stjerne.

Team GB’s chosen ones for the Olympics lost to Mouat in the quarter-finals of the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, and it was the same story here – Mouat stealing their way into a 4-0 lead and winning 5-2.

That left Drummond and Mouat as the Scottish sides left standing for Sunday’s quarter-finals, but De Cruz scored twos in ends seven and eight to beat Drummond 7-4, while Mouat went toe-to-toe with Ulsrud but lost 5-4.

Canadian rink Gushue took their fifth Swiss Cup Basel title by defeating Ulsrud 5-2 in the final.

***

At the Stockholm Ladies Cup, Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Jen Dodds, Alice Spence, Vicky Wright) had their challenge ended early with three defeats – to Sundberg, Christensen and Paetz.

They did end on a high though, with a 5-4 win over Jentsch.

Team Jackson (Sophie Jackson, Naomi Brown, Mili Smith, Sophie Sinclair), meanwhile, edged into the playoffs (via draw shot) with a W2 L2 record – beating Matsumura and Wang, defeated by Sidorova and Wrana.

The quarter-finals pitted them against Paetz, and a three in end six proved crucial for the Swiss rink in their 6-4 win – and they went on to secure the competition crown, beating Kim 9-8 after an extra end in a high-scoring final.

***

Team Hamilton (Claire Hamilton, Gina Aitken, Rachael Halliday, Rachel Hannen), meanwhile, played their second competition in Canada – the Avonair Cash Spiel in Edmonton, Alberta.

They went out with three losses – to Marthaller, Kaufman and Nichol – although there was a Scottish winner of sorts… Nadine Scotland’s rink taking the title.

***

Finally, the Kinross Junior Classic (Asham Under-21 Slam) also took place over the weekend.

Teams Kinnear, Morton, Craik and Haswell qualified from men’s Groups A and B, with Teams Findlay, Bryce, Morrison and Davie progressing from the women’s pools.

The men’s final pitted Craik against Kinnear, and it was the former – made up of James Craik, Mark Watt, Angus Bryce, Niall Ryder – who triumphed, scoring three in end two and four in end four on their way to an 8-4 win.

The women’s final brought victory for Morrison (Rebecca Morrison, Amy MacDonald, Hailey Duff, Leeanne McKenzie), who scored two in end one and three in the fourth to beat Davie 5-3.

Advertisements

Aitken and Mouat win fourth Scottish mixed doubles title

aitkenmouat-scottish-champs-2016
Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken, Scottish champions (photo: facebook.com/royalcaledoniancurlingclub)

Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat rule the roost in Scottish mixed doubles curling once again, retaining their national title and securing their fourth in all.

They came out on top after a final with Judith and Lee McCleary where they stole their way to victory in Braehead.

Across the Atlantic, Teams Muirhead and Murdoch took part in the GSOC National, but unfortunately neither managed to make the playoffs.

***

Eight pairs took part in the Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles Championship, battling it out for the national title and a spot at the next World Mixed Doubles Championship in Canada.

Sophie Jackson and Ross Whyte had a bumpy start to the competition, beaten 8-1 by Judith and Lee McCleary, but from there they reeled off six straight wins, including defeating reigning champions Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat 7-6 after an extra end.

Joining Jackson/Whyte at the top of the round robin standings on W6 L1 were Aitken/Mouat and McCleary/McCleary, the former winning their head-to-head clash 6-5, also after an extra end.

Aitken/Mouat’s draw shot saw them placed top, so in the semi-finals they would face the winner of the tiebreaker between Karina Aitken/David Aitken and Sarah Reid/Ross Paterson, who both finished the round robin on W3 L4 records.

Aitken/Aitken won the tiebreaker 10-7 but were no match for Aitken/Mouat in their family affair semi-final (Gina’s mother Morna standing in for the unwell Karina), the holders scoring three in end one and stealing twos in ends two and three for a rapid 7-0 lead.

There was a four for Aitken/Aitken in end four, but Aitken/Mouat hit back with a four of their own in the fifth, and a further steal of one wrapped up the game 12-4.

In the other last four match, McCleary/McCleary also got off to a fast start, scoring two in the first end before stealing one in end two and two in end three.

Jackson/Whyte scored two in end four but a four for the McClearys in end five meant that, despite two in end six and one in the seventh for the younger pair, it was they who won out 9-5.

And so the final pitted Scotland’s most established mixed doubles pairings against one another, being regulars on the Curling Champions Tour mixed doubles circuit.

McCleary/McCleary forced Aitken/Mouat to one in the first end, but from there the latter rode the steal train to victory.

After a stolen single in end two, Aitken/Mouat added a further two to their tally when Lee McCleary’s last came up light – and another couple of fine draws claimed another steal of one for 5-0 at halfway.

McCleary/McCleary missed a difficult double takeout opportunity in end five, giving up another steal of one, before more well-placed stones from Aitken/Mouat drew further steals in ends six and seven, handshakes offered at 8-0.

Gina Aitken told British Curling: “We got stronger towards the end of the week, we have played a lot of mixed doubles this year leading up to this national title, so whereas other teams are having to shake off the dust and get into mixed doubles format, we were just ready for it.

“Now this is an Olympic discipline it is interesting to see the level of interest increasing and curlers taking this more seriously as there is more at stake.

“We are really excited that we have qualified to represent Scotland again at the world championships in Canada next April. Playing in Canada is just great.

“Our main goal is to qualify GB for the Olympics and if we peak at the right time hopefully we can bring back a medal.”

Aitken and Mouat will fly the Scottish flag in Lethbridge, Canada, at next year’s World Mixed Curling Championships, on April 22-29.

Joining them there will be Anna and Ben Fowler, the siblings once again qualifying to represent England on the international stage.

***

The latest Grand Slam of Curling event, the National, took place in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and involved two Scottish rinks.

Team Murdoch (David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow) gave up twos in ends two and five as they lost their opening pool stage match 6-1 to Team De Cruz of Switzerland.

Further losses to Teams Epping (5-3), Morris (7-6, losing a two in end eight) and Koe (6-4) saw them exit the competition without scoring a victory.

Team Muirhead (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray) fared little better, beginning with defeat against Team Sidorova of Russia, losing 6-5 having given up three in end four.

The Scots hit back in style, scoring three in end three and two in end four as they overcame Team Rocque 8-3, but losses against Teams Einarson (5-3) and Tirinzoni (6-3) sealed their fate.

The men’s semi-finals saw Team Carruthers overwhelm Team Edin 7-0 and Team Jacobs defeat Team Gushue (their skip Brad back to full fitness) 5-3.

The final then ended in triumph for Jacobs in their hometown, stealing singles in ends six and eight to beat Carruthers 4-2.

In the last four of the women’s section, Einarson won out 9-6 against Team Feltscher, while Tirinzoni edged McCarville 6-5.

And Einarson made it a Canadian double (non-Canadian teams have been doing so well at Grand Slams this season that the fact is noteworthy!) with an 5-3 victory over Tirinzoni in the final, stealing one in end five and scoring two in the seventh for their first career Slam title.

***

Finally, the Skill Awards Challenge took place in Perth, with 16 teams made up of young curlers who have all achieved an RCCC Skill Award playing four-end matches.

Team Stranraer (Niall Ryder, Harry Glasgow, Finlay Alldred, Rory Dodds) won the high road final 3-2 against Perth YC 1 – see all linescores here.

#scc2016 day five: Tiebreaker tangles

G Drummond 2
Greg Drummond of Team Murdoch, who overcame Team Smith in a tiebreaker for playoffs (photo: Tom Brydone (facebook.com/brydoneimages))

Teams Mouat and Murdoch survived tiebreakers on a dramatic final day of round robin action at the Scottish Curling Championships.

Both had earlier lost to Teams Smith and Hardie respectively to see five teams finish on six wins and three losses, but they bounced back in the evening’s deciding games.

By contrast, the race for the women’s playoff places was cleaner, with Teams Muirhead, Fleming and Gray the top three, Fleming leapfrogging Gray to make the 1v2 game.

***

Team Muirhead finished the women’s round robin with seven wins from seven, thanks to another comprehensive victory – 9-1 against Team Murray.

They scored three in end two, stole two in end three, stole another one in end four, and scored three in end six to prompt handshakes.

Muirhead will face Team Fleming in tomorrow’s 1v2 game after they defeated Team Gray 8-7, courtesy of threes in ends six and eight.

Skip Hannah Fleming said afterwards: “We had to be patient; the three [in end six] settled us and we kept it together.

“Sheer determination [got us through]. We would have been absolutely devastated not to qualify for playoffs.”

Both Fleming and Gray finished on W4 L3 records, but Fleming got second spot in the rankings on head-to-head basis; Gray await the loser of the 1v2 game in the semi-final.

Murray finished below those teams on W3 L4, as did Teams Jackson and Young, after Young defeated Jackson 7-3 in the final draw, stealing one in end four, two in end five and two in end seven.

And the two Aitken rinks ended on W2 L5, Team K Aitken beating Team G Aitken 12-4 courtesy of  three in end one, twos in ends five and seven, and a steal of three in end nine.

***

If the last women’s draw was relatively straightforward, the ninth and final men’s draw couldn’t have been more different.

Team Brewster were the only team assured of a playoff place before the draw and it remained that way after the draw too!

Brewster finished the round robin W8 L1 by beating Team Macleod 4-2, but the real drama was happening on the other sheets.

Team Bryce moved to W6 L3 with a 10-5 win over Team Combe, scoring two in end one, three in end three and five in end six.

But by the end of the draw there were four more teams on W6 L3 records – Teams Hardie, Mouat, Murdoch and Smith.

Hardie kept it tight against Murdoch before stealing one in end 10 to win 5-4, while Mouat v Smith went to an extra end, Smith coming back from 6-3 down and stealing one in the extra when Bruce Mouat’s draw was just too heavy.

Those results meant a wait to find out the playoff picture. The teams were called down by the umpires, and it emerged that Bryce had the best last stone draw of the event, so went into the 1v2 game with Brewster, while Hardie v Mouat and Murdoch v Smith were the tiebreakers.

The fifth match of the draw saw Team MacDonald pick up their fourth win, beating Team Brydone 7-3, to end a disappointing title defence on something of a high.

Skip Ewan MacDonald said: “We’re disappointed – we won last year and wanted to defend it. It’s been a difficult year with injuries, not playing a lot.

“We weren’t sharp enough. You need game time, and we weren’t able to prepare as well as we could have.

“We had a good second half [of the week]. A few inches here and there and it might have been different – we’re good enough to be in the [playoff] mix.”

***

The evening’s tiebreakers saw a ruthless Murdoch performance against Smith, playing a brutally effective game, keeping it simple by taking twos with hammer in ends two and four, forcing Smith to ones and stealing four in end eight to finish it off 9-2.

After, David Murdoch said: “We were frustrated after the loss [to Hardie]. We came out all guns blazing and had one of our best performances of the week.

“Kyle [Smith] has a great team, so to beat them like that gives us confidence for tomorrow.”

A Dowall
Team Mouat’s lead Angus Dowell (photo: Tom Brydone)

The other tiebreaker was considerably closer – Mouat scoring two in end four but being pegged back by a Hardie two in end eight.

When Mouat was forced to one to tie 4-4 after nine ends, it looked to be advantage Hardie, but Grant Hardie’s last draw went too far and gave up a steal of two – 6-4 Mouat.

Bruce Mouat said: “[After losing to Smith] we regrouped over dinner and refocused on this game and playing well.

“We’re making a lot of good shots; we played a good game against Murdoch before, so there’s no reason we can’t win tomorrow.”

***

Tomorrow we have see the results of today’s dust settling.

At noon, we have the page playoffs: Muirhead v Fleming in the women’s 1v2 game (winner into final); Brewster v Bryce in the men’s 1v2 game (winner into final) and Mouat v Murdoch in the men’s 3v4 (loser out).

Then at 7pm, the semi-finals: the loser of the Muirhead-Fleming game plays Gray for a place in Saturday’s women’s final (loser out); and the loser of the Brewster-Bryce game plays the winner of the Mouat-Murdoch match to get into the men’s final (again, loser out).

You can get updates throughout the day on the Roaring Game Blog Facebook and Twitter, plus shot-by-shot coverage from several of those vital games on CurlingGeek.

And for linescores, team information and more, see the RCCC event page here.