2013-14 Scottish Curling Pairs Championship Report
Twenty four teams competed in the Scottish Curling Pairs Championship Finals at Stranraer over the weekend of 21-23 March.
Of the eight quarter finalist teams, there were just two pairings who had won the Championships previously with Ayr’s Neil Kennedy & Ricky Goldie being victorious in 2010 and 2012, and defending Champions Ross McCleary & Craig Gudmundsson (Kinross). Both teams were to miss out on semi-final places with narrow defeats to Braehead’s Allan Hannah & Alasdair Schrieber and Kirkcaldy’s Kyle Smith & Allan Marshall respectively; this meant it was to be a new pairing for the 2013-14 Scottish Curling Pairs Championship.
Lee McCleary & Judith McCleary (The Peak) faced Sandy Christie & Gary Rutherford (Dewars) in a very closely contested semi-final. In the third end, Sandy Christie played a raised double take out to lift two shot stones from the four foot to lie 1 and level the score at 1-1. Entering the final end, Lee & Judith were one up without the hammer and had some great attacking play leaving Sandy with only a tricky tap back to the full four foot to try and take the game to an extra end. It wasn’t to be and the game ended 5-2.
The other semi-final saw Kyle Smith & Allan Marshall (Kirkcaldy) up against Alan Hannah & Alasdair Schreiber (Braehead). With a score of 3 in the second end, Kirkcaldy’s Kyle & Allan looked to be in control however a couple of loose shots gave Alan & Alasdair the opportunity to come right back with a score of 3. Braehead stole 2 in the fifth end and the game was concluded at a score of 5-3 when Kyle & Allan then ran out of stones.
In the final Lee McCleary & Judith McCleary grasped the speed of the ice quickly and dominated the game early on. At a score of 5-0 after 3 ends, Lee & Judith limited their risk through defensive play and Alan & Alasdair were unable to score more than singles in the fourth and fifth ends. The final end saw the McCleary duo clear guards and when they removed Alan’s second stone from the house, handshakes were offered.
The 2013-14 Scottish Curling Pairs Champions are only the third team in the competition’s 33 years to include a female in the winning side with Gail Munro being the last female winner alongside brother Hammy McMillan in 2011.
Pictured top are 2013-14 Scottish Curling Pairs Champions Lee McCleary & Judith McCleary (The Peak) receiving the trophy from Mary-Anne McWilliam on behalf of the RCCC.