SCOTTISH CONTENDERS TAKE ‘A’ ROUTE TO PLAY-OFFS AT PERTH MASTERS

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World junior silver medallist Ross Whyte believes his experience as fifth man for Team Mouat at the end of last year in a campaign that saw the Scots lift the European title, has put him in good stead for mixing with the men’s teams at the Mercure City of Perth Masters this week (3-6 January).

The Stirling based skip has secured three consecutive wins at Perth’s Dewars Centre, to stay in the A road in the triple knock out format tournament and he said his experience in Tallinn has contributed to his team’s successes to date.

“I learned a lot of stuff being on the bench at the Europeans with coaches Alan Hannah and Dave Murdoch as alternate at that event.

“They gave me a lot of different tactical information which has allowed me to bring that to the team this week. I learned a lot from Team Mouat too, about how to prepare for a championship and what to do before and after games, so it certainly gave me some insight into being more professional.

“We made the quarters last year and are hoping for a good run this year.

“The objective is to make the play-offs this week. We’d be happy with that and then take one game at a time,” said the 20 year old.

Ross Whyte joined the British Curling programme at the start of this season at Performance Foundation level and the University of Stirling student is keen that his team make their mark quickly in the company of European (Team Mouat) and Grand Slam (Team Paterson) champions, as well as the 2018 Olympians, now operating under Glen Muirhead as skip, whom he beat 4-2 this evening.

“This shows us what we can do against the top teams. We want people to realise we can play at that level and really compete. We are a young team, but I think people now know who we are, having been to the World Juniors and other events already and we have quite a bit of experience at junior level which helps a lot. So as much as we are still young, the physical aspect of the game now and the gym work everyone is doing, the game is getting that bit younger.

“The older teams can compete because they can always make the big shots, but the physical side means there are more younger teams coming through, especially in Scotland which is in a really good place just now.

“The other teams’ successes are really pushing us on. If we don’t make an impact early we’re not going to be looked upon as some of the top players, so we have to push on with everything we do, do it really professionally and make a statement that we can compete here,” said Whyte.

He must now face the team that he supported at the Europeans in November, after Team Mouat secured wins against Russia’s Team Vaskov and Steffen Mellemseter’s rink earlier in the day.

Skip Bruce Mouat said: “It was a great start against a tough Norwegian opponent. It is always nice to start the new year with a win.

“It’s a tough field here with some great European teams and this event is one of the best Europe has to offer and its always nice for us to play here in Scotland,” said Mouat.

Team Paterson, who met Mouat in an all Scottish final at the Boost National Grand Slam in their last event of 2018 have also secured two wins today, beating Switzerland’s Jan Hess at an extra end before beating Norway’s 2018 Olympic representatives Thomas Ulsrud’s rink.

Skip Paterson said of his first day of action at the World Curling Tour event: “We want to keep on winning and hopefully we can continue that this week as the Perth Masters is always an event we like playing in, as it is a great opportunity to test yourselves before the Scottish Championships next month.

“The Masters triple knock out format means there is an element of the unknown, the top ranked teams can easily drop a game that they shouldn’t and end up in the B or C road against another top ranked team. So it is a bit more unpredictable about who and when you might be playing, so it is an intense but also an exciting competition to be in and we all want to come out the other side of Saturday, as everyone wants to be still involved in the tournament on Sunday,” said Paterson.

Despite finishing last year on a high when they won their first Grand Slam title, Paterson is keen to point out they will not be complacent about their future ambitions.

“The goals we have set are very clear. Winning the Slam was a milestone, it is where we want to be, but we are not going to get carried away with ourselves after winning our first title together. We will prepare as well as we can for the Scottish champs as all of the British Curling teams want to be at those World Championships,” Paterson added.

Team Paterson now face Switzerland’s Olympic bronze medallists skipped by Peter de Cruz in their next match tomorrow on the penultimate day of the Perth Masters.

The prize pot for the event is £18,700 with a first prize of £7,200.

Coverage from the event is being screened on BBC ALBA and on the BBC iPlayer tomorrow as well as the quarter finals, semi finals and final on Sunday. In addition, the event is being supported by the World Curling Federation who will be providing live webcasts from Perth.

The BBC ALBA live coverage and World Curling Federation live webcasts are as follows:

Saturday 5th January

11:15 A Finals

17:30 B Finals

20:30 C Finals

Sunday 6th January

09:00 - Quarter Finals

12:00 - Semi Finals

15:00 - Final

Please click here for the schedule and further information from the 2019 Mercure City of Perth Masters

Or follow the link to the 2019 Mercure City of Perth Masters  Twitter @PerthMasters

Photos: Ross Whyte - WCF / Richard Gray  - Bruce Mouat and Ross Paterson - Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart. 

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