Team Aitken Mouat Make Strong Start At World Champs

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Scots duo Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken got their World Mixed Doubles Championship campaign off to a good start In Lethbridge, Canada, winning their opening matches against Norway and Bulgaria.

Team Aitken Mouat Coach, David Aitken said: “We had really good preparation for the tournament with practise games in Calgary, then good build-up once we got here.

“Playing Norway first was one of the toughest draws for both teams, probably two of the favoured teams in the section, but we were really up for playing them early on after the build-up we’ve had and we came out strong as we normally do, got a bit of a lead going on the scoreboard and pretty much got good starts in most of the ends which is important in mixed doubles.

“We got a good foothold in the game and the ends, a few loose shots from time to time probably kept it a bit tighter than we would have hoped. At the fourth end break it was level, but we played a really good second half of the game. A key part was when we defended their power play when there was just one shot between the teams and we stole one, which was a real result because on a power play you’re generally looking to keep the opposition down to two. So that put us in the driving seat.

“We’re really pleased with the win. There’s still a little bit of tidying up to do in terms of the shot making but I think the first game the emphasis is always on getting on top of the conditions. The ice was really good, but it had characteristics we needed to adjust to, so we need to learn from that first game, build on that and get some momentum going for the rest of the event.”

In their second match Scotland, who are targeting a top eight finish to ensure they get the qualifying points necessary for Team GB to be represented in mixed doubles at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang next year, made an impressive start against Bulgaria and from the first end gained a dominant position which they maintained throughout, eventually winning the match 10-3.

Commenting after that game Aitken said: “Bulgaria are mixed doubles specialists and we’ve met them once or twice in tour events.

“We got off to a really good start, getting a five at the first end and our first four ends were really good. We got good starts at the ends again and just kept that going, putting a lot of pressure on them and converted it so that it was quite a commanding score at the halfway point.

“So it was important that we just kept our discipline with a strong, professional performance and we closed the game off in six ends. It was a slightly better performance in terms of reading the ice conditions and just generally settling in which was a good sign building on our first game,” he added.

Scotland play Ireland’s Neil and Alison Fyffe in their next match who have won one and lost one, a similar record to another of the home unions Wales represented by Dawn Watson and Adrian Meikle, who are also in Group B. England’s Anna and Ben Fowler are drawn in Group B and have won two matches and suffered one defeat to the USA 7-2.

Groups at Lethbridge:

Group A: Belarus, Brazil, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Japan, and Latvia
Group B: Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Serbia, and Wales
Group C: Australia, Austria, China, Israel, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden
Group D: hosts Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Turkey and USA
Group E: New Zealand, Romania, defending champions Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland

The round-robin stage runs from Saturday 22 April until Thursday 27 April. 16 teams will proceed to the knock out stage and the medal games take place on Saturday 29 April.

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PHOTOS: WCF – Richard Gray

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