Five Scottish titles for Vicki

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Stranraer curlers Vicki Adams and Hamilton McMillan are Scottish curling champions are their respective teams won the championships at Perth last Saturday after a week of fiercely competitive curling.

Vicki and the rest of Team Muirhead will now represent Scotland at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Canada, 19th – 27th March.

But it was heartbreak for another Stranraer player with Vicky Wright playing a blinder for the beaten finalists.

In the final against Lauren Gray, Muirhead put the pressure on Gray from the start, with hammer in the first end. When Lauren freshed her first shot Eve took advantage to place a second counter, Lauren hit it with her second stone but rolled out, giving Eve the chance to draw into the house for two in the first end. Both teams seemed to have a bit of difficulty reading the ice in the second end. A couple of misses from Team Muirhead saw Team Gray sitting three with each skip having one stone left to play. Eve played a good freeze to force Lauren to make a difficult draw for two, which was just slightly too heavy – resulting in a one for Team Gray.

The third end saw Team Gray in control. A nice double from Team Gray’s Vicky Wright, left them lying two behind the guard, forcing Team Muirhead to peel the guard. Gray managed to keep her cool, and her yellow stones were consistently sitting shot. Eve’s first stone left her lying one, but after Lauren picked it out, Eve was forced draw for one with her final stone.

In the fourth Team Gray managed to get a stone tucked away nicely, Team Muirhead tried to freeze but there was a little bounce, which left Jennifer Dodds the opportunity to hit it. However without a roll Anna Sloan was easily able to take it out – but rolled out leaving Team Gray still lying shot. Eve’s first took a long time to curl, resulting in it ending up behind the tee-line, which gave Lauren the opportunity to hit and roll a tiny bit to be hidden behind the guard. Eve tried to come on on top of Lauren’s stone but was heavy, which left Team Gray a shot for three to put them in the lead.

Both teams were strong in the fifth end and by skips stones there was one yellow and one red in the house, with Muirhead lying shot. Both skips played straight take outs with their first stones, Lauren hit the red Muirhead stone out and rolled in behind her own stone, leaving her lying two, again forcing Muirhead to draw for one, making the score level with four each at the halfway point.

Eve seemed to have a slight upper hand in the sixth, some nicely placed stones resulted in the first steal of the game, with Muirhead getting two. Team Muirhead kept the seventh end as clear as possible, hoping to force a one, but when Eve’s last stone was swept out Lauren was able to throw through to blank the end, meaning she would retain hammer for the eighth end.

A good set up by Sarah Reid in the eighth end had team Gray chasing from the start, but a guard which over curled left Jennifer Dodds an opportunity to take a double. The guard ended up being significant as Team Muirhead got two stones buried and Lauren Gray was unable to reach the four foot, resulting in another steal of two, and an 8-4 lead for Muirhead.

The ninth end was kept fairly straight forward throughout and ended with Lauren Gray blanking. In the tenth Mairi Baird set up with two corner guards, but team Muirhead peeled them off and continued to run Team Gray out of stones, to win the game.

In the mens competition, Hamilton McMillan, as part of Team Brewster beat Teal Murdoch,and will now represent Scotland at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland, 2nd – 10th April.

The Brewster v Murdoch final started with a straight forward first end, resulting in a blank. The teams were still struggling to find the speed of the ice, but the addition of some guards made for a more interesting second end, however it still resulted in Brewster blanking the end.

With his last stone in the third David Murdoch played a hack weight take out around the centre guard, it was mostly hidden and Tom Brewster attempted to blank the end but although he removed the Murdoch counter, he wasn’t able to roll out and took a one shot lead.

The fourth end was more of an on-going battle than previous ends, with both teams playing good shots and having stones in play. With Brewster lying two after his last stone, and a double impossible due to a guard, Murdoch was content to hit and lie for a one.

Team Brewster seemed to have the edge right from the start of the fifth end, with lots of stones in the house. Team Murdoch were hitting, but Brewster kept managing to replace them. With Murdoch’s last stone he managed to take out one of the three red counters Brewster had lying in the house, however he didn’t manage a roll, so it was a straight hit for Tom Brewster to secure three, meaning he was leading 4-1 by the half time break.

In the sixth Brewster got stones in the house early on, but Murdoch didn’t let it faze him and by skips stones there were two yellows and two reds in the house, with Murdoch lying shot. Tom played a hit and roll to sit shot in the four foot, David managed to bump it back but left the option for a double. Brewster made the double, and left three sitting, forcing Murdoch to draw for one.

The seventh end saw Murdoch use his last stone to guard his yellow which was lying shot, but Brewster managed to take the double and score one.

David Murdoch set up the eighth end with corner guards, but Team Brewster wanted to keep it clean, and peeled them out. A tricky end for Murdoch left him looking at Brewster lying two stones, and was again forced to draw for one.

Brewster went into the ninth looking confident, hoping to keep it clean again. Ross Paterson managed to get rid of two of the three Murdoch guards with his first stone, and the third with his second, leaving one red and one yellow stone in the house, Tom Brewster opted to blank the end rather than take one and give away the hammer.

In the tenth end Murdoch was hoping to leave Brewster a draw, as Tom hadn’t yet played one. David only managed to get two into the house with his stones however, leaving Tom to remove one, and lose one in the end, in order to win the game 5-4 overall.