Team Aitken Mouat Continue Winning Form At World Champs
Scotland has maintained a 100 per cent record with a victory over Ireland to stay on course for Olympic qualification at the World Mixed Doubles Championship in Canada (22-29 April).
Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat, who need a top eight finish to ensure that Team GB will be represented in every curling event in PyeongChang next year, moved clear at the top of Group B as the only unbeaten team thanks to the 8-5 victory over the father/daughter combination of Neil and Alison Fyffe.
The result was all the more satisfying because it had been a tricky encounter in more ways than one thanks to the way the schedule has worked out, as their coach David Aitken observed.
“It was quite a big break after our previous match so we had to make sure we were properly warmed up to meet Ireland who are a specialist mixed doubles pair we’ve come across a few times on tour events,” he said.
“We knew they would take a bit of beating, so the focus was making sure we got off to a good start, both in the end and on the scoreboard. We did that really well in the first few ends and halfway through each end we were always in a strong position. That was the key for the first half of the game.”
There were areas in which they feel they can still improve but the coach was pleased with the way they handled a difficult match.
“We lost a little bit of shape on the stones which let Ireland back in. Although I think we were controlling the game, we didn’t really get that onto the scoreboard, so after the four end break we were two up but feeling pretty good because the level of play was strong,” said Aitken.
“So second half of the game we carried on where we were. The key was the two powerplays both teams called. We played a pretty good one when we called it at the sixth end when we scored a three that should probably have been a four and that gave us the three shot lead which meant we went to the last end one up with the hammer.
"As ever in mixed doubles it’s not quite as easy to defend that as you’d like, but some good weight control from Bruce and Gina meant we didn’t have to play our last stone after they missed a raised take out.”
Overall there was a sense of satisfaction ahead of the fourth day’s play when they will meet both Wales, whose pairing of Dawn Watson and Adrian Meikle have won two of their three matches and Serbia who have lost all of their first three.
“It was actually one of our best games in terms of stats and general play. The Irish were as difficult opponents as we’d expected,” Aitken added.
"They played some good shots and put us under a bit of pressure, so it’s nice to win a game that was a bit of a battle and that helps us go into the next couple of games again battle ready with a bit of momentum.”
Scotland is one of six teams currently unbeaten in the tournament, the best result so far from the home nations. Ireland have claimed one win and two losses, whilst England’s brother and sister pairing of Anna and Ben Fowler lost their fourth match 6-4 to the Czech Republic and have two wins and two losses.
Scotland v Norway 6-3
Scotland v Bulgaria 10-3
Scotland v Ireland 8-5
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.
Please click here for full results
PHOTOS: WCF – Richard Gray