TEAM MOUAT MAKE MORE HISTORY WITH GRAND SLAM WIN AT CHAMPIONS CUP
Bruce Mouat hailed his team’s fighting spirit as they battled their way back from an early deficit to become the first Scottish team to become multiple Grand Slam winners with victory over the recently crowned Canadian Champions on their home ice in Calgary.
Having claimed revenge in their quarter-final over Sweden’s Team Edin, who had beaten them in the previous weekend’s World Championship final, then seen off former Olympic Champion Brad Gushue’s rink in the semi, they were put under early pressure by Alberta local boys Team Bottcher who scored a two at the opening end.
The Canadian quartet, who won their first national title in the same arena last month, maintained that two shot advantage after the teams forced one another to take singles at each of the next two ends.
However, Mouat and teammates Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan, then moved into another gear over the next two ends as they levelled things up at the halfway stage with a two, then stole another two at the fifth to gain control of the game.
A blanked sixth end was followed by another Scottish steal at the seventh, allowing them to run their opponents out of stones at the last to claim a convincing 6-3 win.
“We didn’t start off very strong, but we got better as it went on, put pressure on them and got some misses and played a good game,” said Mouat.
“We’ve had to fight for every win this week and it’s good to have that ability to come back and win games like that.”
The victory was particularly satisfying for vice skip Grant Hardie, whose first ever taste of Grand Slam curling had been at this event with his previous rink five years ago, when they lost all four matches in the pool stages.
“The Champions Cup back in 2017 wasn’t the best week for us results wise, so it’s really good to come back to a venue we know, having been here a few times and we obviously had the Worlds here last week, so to play well again here was good and we’re very happy,” said Hardie.
“It was a brilliant all round performance. We gave Bruce a lot more to work with today. In the quarter and semi-final yesterday it took some special shots from Bruce to get us over the line, but it was nice to give him a bit more to play with and he made a lot of key shots again and it was great that we were able to perform and come out with a win.”
While the then newly formed team had shocked the game’s superstars in 2017 when they turned up at their first Grand Slam event, at the Boost National and walked away with the title, becoming the first Scottish men’s team to win one of these prestigious titles, Mouat suggested that this win had been more significant since there is no longer any chance of opponents taking last week’s World Championship finalists lightly.
“It’s great to win a second Slam,” he said.
“The first one was obviously a bit of a surprise for all of us in our first Grand Slam event , but we’ve been really close a few times since, so it’s nice to get over that hump and win another one.”
There was little time to celebrate, however, since they are immediately back in action in another Grand Slam event that will round off their visit to Canada and the luck of the draw means they are immediately up against Brendan Bottcher and his team again.
“The Players Championship will be another great opportunity for us to get some good games under our belt before the end of the season and it’s funny that the way the draw works out we get to play Bottcher again at 4pm here, so I’m sure we’re going to have to make sure we’re playing well to beat them again,” Mouat observed.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship gets underway tomorrow and concludes on Sunday (20-25 April).
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 6-3
Draw 17 – Women’s final
Tirinzoni v Homan
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Photo credit Mike Cleasby / Grand Slam of Curling.