Aitken/Mouat back to back Mixed Doubles Champions
Team Aitken/Mouat were crowned Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles Champions after an 8-0 win against Team McCleary/McCleary – in the final at intu Braehead this afternoon (Sunday 11th December).
At the conclusion of the round robin there were three teams sitting on six wins and one loss – Aitken/Mouat, McCleary/McCleary and Jackson/Whyte. Two teams – Aitken/Aitken and Paterson/Reid – were tied on three wins and four losses so there was a tiebreaker on Saturday night to determine the team that would fill the last semi-final slot. The teams were fairly evenly matched and traded ends throughout the game. A three in the seventh for the Aitkens, followed by the first steal of the game in the final end saw Aitken/Aitken through to the semi-finals, end score 10-7.
Both semi-finals saw early leads taken by the eventual winners. Aitken/Mouat managed to seal their spot in the final in just six ends, with a 12-4 win over Aitken/Aitken (pictured left). The other semi-final looked like the McCleary’s had control after getting 5-0 up in three ends, however Jackson/Whyte weren’t going down without a fight! They took a two in the fourth but the loss of a four in the fifth would turn out to be crucial. Although they managed to come back with what had the potential to be a big end in the sixth, they eventually had to settle for another two. A steal of one in the seventh wasn’t enough, and when McCleary/McCleary used their power play in the last end, Jackson/Whyte (pictured below, right) were run out of stones and handshakes were offered, final score 9-5.
Going into the final were two seasoned Mixed Doubles teams; Judith and Lee McCleary; two time Scottish Mixed Doubles Champions and regulars on the Curling Champions Tour (CCT), joined by Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken; three time Scottish Mixed Doubles Champions who finished just outside of medal position at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Sweden earlier this year and who currently lead the CCT Mixed Doubles.
The final started with the McCleary’s forcing Bruce and Gina to take a one in the first, but they then gave away an opportunity to take a bigger score in the second end, resulting in a steal of one for Aitken/Mouat. In the third end Aitken/Mouat managed to get a couple of stones nicely tucked away, a light last stone from Lee McCleary giving them a two. Bruce and Gina set themselves up nicely again in the fourth with two more stones hidden behind guards – try as they might Lee and Judith couldn’t remove both of the red counters and had to settle with giving up another single, with the score 5-0 to Aitken/Mouat at the halfway point.
A couple of mistakes from Aitken/Mouat at the start of the fifth end gave McCleary/McCleary (pictured left) a chance to get back in the game – Bruce had the chance for a triple take out, but his stone stayed straight and he was only able to remove one yellow, but was left sitting shot. A hit and roll from Judith left the McCleary’s sitting four with two stones still to come from each team. Bruce’s next stone finished freezing and counting one, which Judith tried to remove with an angled take out – although she did manage to move the stone, it still remained in play. A slightly heavy draw from Gina left the McCleary’s a tricky double for four, Lee just missed it – resulting in another steal of one for Aitken/Mouat.
Aitken/Mouat (pictured right) left McCleary/McCleary another difficult last shot in the sixth, it didn’t quite come off, which gave them another steal of one. With a lot of stones in play in the seventh and desperately needing some points on the board, McCleary/McCleary tried to open things up with their penultimate stone, they moved the long guards out front but all the stones stayed in play. Gina then took out a yellow that was sitting out the front and rolled into the house behind a guard, Lee tried his best with a big weight with his final stone, but it wasn’t meant to be and handshakes were offered.
Bruce and Gina secured their fourth Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles title with a final score of 8-0. They will represent Scotland at the 2017 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Canada from 22nd – 29th April 2017.
Clive Thomson (RCCC President 2016/17) presented the medals to all four finalists. After accepting their medals, Bruce thanked the umpires for all their work and commented on the high standard of competition this year, finishing his speech by mentioning their opposition in the finals, “We’d like to thank Jude and Lee for a good final, we got some lucky breaks there … we’ll probably see you about on [the Curling Champions] Tour!”
The presentations: Below left, Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles Champions 2016 Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken with RCCC President Clive Thomson.
Right, runners up Judith McCleary and Lee McCleary.
All photos (excluding presentation photos) © Jeff Holmes Pix