Scotland’s men’s senior curling champions, including Norman Brown and Hugh Aitken from Stranraer, cruised to two wins in the opening day of the world senior curling championships in Sochi, Russia.
They beat the Czech Republic 8-4 this morning and Japan 9-3 this afternoon.
Against Japan, the Scottish men opened strongly, scoring two in the first end and stealing three in the second, then a further single shot in the third for a 6-0 lead. The teams swapped singles in the next two ends and then, with the score at 7-1, skip Gordon Muirhead’s final draw in the seventh was short, giving Japan a score of two to reduce Scotland’s lead to 7-3. But the Scots bounced back with another score of two in the seventh and the Japanese shook hands, at 9-3.
After the game, Muirhead said,” it’s always good to get off to a good start. These teams – you should beat them nine times out of ten – but they can end up as banana skins. But we played quite well today so we’re happy.”
The Scottish men gave themselves the start they were looking for with an 8-4 win over the Czech Republic in Saturday morning’s opening session of play. They scored five in the first end with two good hits by skip Gordon Muirhead and controlled the game after that.
Eventually in the sixth end, with the score at 5-2 to Scotland after the Czechs had stolen a single in the fourth end, Muirhead drew his last stone into the house to score three for an 8-2 lead. Muirhead had a miss in the seventh end and this allowed the Czechs to draw for two and an 8-4 score-line, which became the final score when the Czechs ran out of stones in the eighth and last end.
Afterwards, Muirhead said, “we played a very solid first end. The ice was quite brutal to start with, but we got on top of it before they did. I played a good hit and roll with my first and another hit with my second, so that’s an ideal start.”
More generally, he added, “it’s a bit scary out there…the ice has been so bendy, it’s unbelievable. But it’s starting to settle down – it will settle down. That win was crucial confidence-wise. This is not the easiest section, but we’ll try to stay on top of them.”
Stranraer’s other representative, Neil Fyfe, got Ireland off to a flying start when he and his teammates thumped Kazachstan 9-1.