Muirhead and MacDonald Scottish Curling Champions
The finals of the Scottish Curling Championships took place at a packed Dewars Centre, Perth on Sunday 22nd February with Team Muirhead and Team MacDonald being crowned 2015 Scottish Curling Champions. Team Muirhead will now represent Scotland at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan from 14 – 22 March and Team MacDonald will represent Scotland at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from 28 Mar – 4 Apr.
Women’s Final: Team Muirhead v Team Fleming
After a blanked first end, Team Muirhead were looking good to take a two in the second after Hannah Fleming double attempt failed to remove both counters but Muirhead’s attempted hit and stick overcurled leaving only a single.
This was to be a real tit for tat encounter with the teams exchanging singles for the next three ends with neither team able to build a multiple score, both skips asked questions of their opposition number and both delivered with their last stone. Hannah Fleming faced three opposition stones with her last stone of the fifth and played a hit and roll to the button to score one to level the scores at 2-2 going into the break. Following the restart the game continued in the same vein with the teams trading ones in the 6th and 7th ends.
The turning point of the game came in the 8th end when Team Muirhead capitalised on slack play from Team Fleming despite pick-ups for both teams. Hannah Fleming attempted a triple take out with her first stone but was only able to remove one Muirhead stone. Muirhead left the door ajar when her draw came up light but Fleming’s attempted freeze two Muirhead stones in the 8ft, bounced too far leaving Muirhead an open hit to score three and move into a 6-3 lead going into the 9th end.
Team Muirhead kept the pressure on forcing Team Fleming to draw for a single in the ninth. Team Fleming were unable to get the cover they needed in the final end and Team Muirhead successfully removed one of the open counters to claim the title.
Pictured top L-R: David Hay (coach), Sarah Reid, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead.
Men’s Final: Team MacDonald v Team Murdoch
Team Murdoch got off to a good start taking a two in the 1st end. MacDonald was then forced to take a one in the second after facing three Murdoch counters to bring the score to 2-1. Murdoch blanked the 3rd end to maintain hammer in the 4th end but was forced to take single to make the score to 3-1.
MacDonald capitalised on slack play from their opposition in the 5th end forcing Murdoch to attempt a raised take out with his first, which only removed one counter, MacDonald added a fourth counter leaving Murdoch attempting a double take out with his last to try and limit the damage but it was high and only removed a single stone allowing MacDonald to draw for 4 and move into a 5-3 lead going into the break.
Good draws from Greg Drummond in the 6th set up an open take out for Murdoch to take two and level the score at 5-5. Ewan MacDonald was not to be outdone however and played a couple of great shots of his own to once again gain the lead by a score of 7-5.
A perfect draw around a guard from MacDonald in the 8th end saw them lying one frozen on the button, Murdoch attempted the takeout but wasn’t able to do enough to remove the counter giving up a steal of one to extend MacDonald’s lead to 8-5.
MacDonald handed Murdoch a tough choice in the 9th whether to take the one or blank the end. In the end David Murdoch opted to draw for one and they moved into the 10th end trailing by two with a score of 8-6 and without hammer.
Team MacDonald kept front clear in the 10th end leaving Ewan MacDonald an open take out for the title. Ewan MacDonald kept his nerve to retain the Scottish Curling Men’s Championship title.
Pictured L-R: Ewan MacDonald, Duncan Fernie, Ruairidh Greeenwood, Euan Byers, Dave Reid (coach and alternate)
The Leslie Ingram Brown Spirit of Curling Award which is also voted for by the players was awarded to Cameron Bryce (right)
Dougie Vipond will present highlights of the women’s final on BBC 2 Scotland on Tuesday 24th February at 00:20 with commentary from Bob Kelly and Jackie Lockhart. Highlights of the men’s final will be shown on Wednesday 25th February at 23:50 with commentary from Bob Kelly and Logan Gray.
All photos ©Richard Gray.