Olympic Hopefuls Make Winning Starts At Scottish Champs
The first day of the Scottish Championships got underway today at Perth’s Dewars Centre, with recent World University Games (WUGs) Champions Team Mouat among the first round match winners in the men’s tournament.
Skip Bruce Mouat, who already has a national title under his belt this season from the Mixed Doubles tournament as well as the world title the team claimed earlier this month, stressed that his team is feeling the benefit from recent competitive experience and felt they demonstrated that during their first outing.
“It was a solid game. We went out firing on all cylinders and put the other team under pressure. They had a few misses and that’s where our steals came from.”
Reflecting on the successes of the past few weeks, the Lothians based curler said: “Winning the WUGs was fantastic. We gained a lot from playing in a major championships and we’re one of the few teams in the tournament this week that have done that this year. It’s good experience coming into this week and we want to continue that good form from WUGs and hopefully get to the play-offs this week. From there anything can happen.
“So overall we’re just hoping for another good week. It’s been an amazing month and it was great being able to concentrate only on curling. You can see the improvements in our game having more time on ice and less time at University.”
Team Brewster got their national title defence off to a strong start beating Team Hamilton 8-3. Skip Tom Brewster said after their game: “We played quite solidly. I think they would admit they didn’t play too well, but it’s the first time they’ve been in Perth this year.
“They’ve all won titles and they know what they’re doing, but they missed one or two shots here and there and made our job a little bit easier.
“We were in control as soon as we got the three. We should have lost a two straight back. We gave them an opportunity when I think my last stone might have picked up, but they didn’t get it.
“Whenever we had the hammer we scored and we scored big, so that was nice to see.”
Brewster’s fellow Olympic silver medallists Team Murdoch also enjoyed a positive start to their campaign when they beat Team Taylor 4-2.
In what will be a hotly contested tournament this week, Murdoch and his men were able to keep their cool in testing conditions.
“There was a temperature change in the building which affected the ice speed after the break so we had to make some adjustments”, said Murdoch.
“Overall we’re super motivated for this week. We bossed the game and played smart.
“Every team here this week will give challenges in different ways. Today’s opponents were a bit of an unknown quantity, but you’ve just to deal with that.
“The team is feeling fresh, we’ve done our homework, we’ve got good confidence, it’s now about throwing the rocks and making the shots.
Locally based rink Team Smith skipped by Kyle Smith also enjoyed a first round victory over Team Fraser who they beat 6-1, whilst Team Hardie beat Team Whyte 7-3 in their first outing.
The winners of the national championships will go on to represent Scotland at the World Curling Championships and those teams will also be aiming to qualify GB for places at the next Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in 2018.
Defending champions Team Muirhead will be in action at Perth tomorrow when the women’s tournament gets underway.
For more information about tickets for the finals and results from the Scottish Curling Championships please click here.
Photo: Tom J Brydone.