SPECTACULAR MATCH WINNER TAKES MOUAT’s MEN INTO GRAND SLAM FINAL
A spectacular shot from their skip earned Team Mouat a place in the final of the first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the season to complete a day that also saw them avenge their defeat to Sweden’s Team Edin in the final of the World Championships.
Bruce Mouat’s final delivery to claim the two at the final end brought an end to a superb day’s work at the Humpty’s Champions Cup and drew high praise from his teammates as they reached their third Grand Slam final.
“That wasn’t a bad day at the office at all,” said lead Hammy McMillan.
“It was nice to get one back over Niklas Edin and then we hung in there tight against Gushue and Bruce played an absolute clinker for the win, a barrier weight, half stone angled run and held the shooter in the 12 foot.”
Mouat reckoned that their efforts had been all the more satisfying because they had found a way to win without immediately performing at top level as they started the play-offs against the Swedes who had just completed a record breaking run of three successive world titles.
“We probably didn’t perform at our best against Team Edin, so it was nice that we can play like that and still win,” the skip observed.
“We put them under a lot of pressure in the last two ends and got some misses which may be uncharacteristic from them, but it was nice to get some revenge after the final we lost to them last week.”
That took them into the semi-finals and another re-match opportunity, this time against former Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue and his team who have been Canadian champions in three of the last five years and beat Mouat in the last match of the round-robin stages at this event the previous day.
“We had played Team Gushue just a couple of games ago in the round-robin and again we didn’t have our best game there, but we’re sticking together and making some really tough shots which has been great to see this week after a long week last week,” said Mouat.
“We’re having fun out there and it’s always nice to play well at the Slams. It was maybe a one in 10 shot to win the game, but we made it and it’s a nice way to end our day.”
They now face reigning Canadian Champions Team Bottcher in the final and they are again very familiar with these opponents, having faced them in their opening game at the World Championships, when the Scots suffered a narrow defeat, before getting the better of the host nation in the first round of the play-offs on their way to winning a silver medal.
“We know how to play them obviously because we’ve played them a couple of times on this trip already and we know how we’re going to have to play to beat them,” said Mouat.
In the women’s event at the Champions Cup, Scotland’s representatives Team Muirhead also made it through to the knock-out stages after beating Sweden’s Olympic champions Team Hasselborg in their opening match. However, they were beaten by Japan’s Team Fujisawa in the tie-breaker.
“We’re obviously a little disappointed after getting off to such a strong start here, then dropping our last three games, but I think we need to take a lot of really good stuff from it,” said their multiple Grand Slam winning skip Eve Muirhead.
This was Team Muirhead’s first international competition of the season and it is followed immediately by another, with play getting underway at The Players Championship at the same venue tomorrow, as they hone their preparations for the World Women’s Championship that will see them try to match Mouat’s men by securing a place for Team GB at next year’s Winter Olympics as well as hunting for more medals.
“We now move on to another Grand Slam and some of these games we had a lot of really great stuff go our way and some of them we had a lot of stuff not going our way, so let’s hope it can all come together and that we can bring some really solid performances next week,” said Muirhead.
“We’ve had a lot of great games already, all coming down to the last shot, the wins and the losses, so I think there’s a lot for us to build on towards the next Slam and I’ve always said that this is where you get the world’s best competition, so you can’t doubt how good this prep is going into the World Championships in a few weeks.”
The men’s final takes place at the WinSport Arena in Calgary today at 7pm (BST).
Please click here for the draw and more information.
Humpty’s Champions Cup Results:
Thursday 15 April
Muirhead v Hasselborg 6-5
Mouat v De Cruz 6-4
Friday 16 April
Muirhead v Tirinzoni 9-3
Mouat v McEwen 7-4
Mouat v Dunstone 6-3
Muirhead v Jones 5-7
Saturday 17 April
Muirhead v Fleury 6-7
Mouat v Gushue 4-7
Sunday 18 April
Draw 13 – Tiebreakers
Muirhead v Fujisawa 4-7
Men’s Quarter Final
Mouat vEdin 6-5
Men’s Semi Final
Mouat v Gusshue 5-4
Monday 19 April
Draw 16 – Men’s final
Mouat v Bottcher
Draw 17 – Women’s final
Tirinzoni v Homan
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Images: PPA Graeme Hart