Olympic bronze medallist Eve Muirhead and compatriot Lauren Gray both failed to impress in last week’s Stockholm Ladies Cup, although both can take heart in the fact that they only narrowly missed out on a place in the quarter finals.
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Eve Muirhead and the team at Sochi 2014
Muirhead, teamed up with usual suspects Anna Sloan, the third for Great Britain at Sochi 2014, and second Vicki Adams, as well as relative new girl Sarah Reid. The quartet got off to a fantastic start with a “dominant win” against Canada’s Sherry Middaugh, although they were edged out of the day’s second game, losing 5-7 to Michèle Jäggi of Switzerland. The damage was done in the fifth end with a loss of 3 points which Muirhead’s rink never recovered from.
It was another tight affair in the third game, taking the fight against Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg to an extra end before the eventual tournament winners stole the honours. Despite saving the scoring in the fourth and final match against Swede Jonna McManus to the end, the Scots managed to win 6-3, ending the weekend 2-2 overall. Unfortunately, although they matched Middaugh and Jäggi with their performances, the ranking was decided on the Draw Shot Challenge, an average of the Last Stone Draws over the weekend. These “LSDs” are used before a match to determine who plays first and Muirhead’s average proximity to the centre of the target proved to be the worst of the trio.
Also representing Scotland, Gray, accompanied by Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and Mhairi Baird, found themselves in a tough Group D. Although they picked up a win against Melanie Barbezat from Switzerland, they were also thumped 2-9 by home favourite Margaretha Sigfridsson. In the end, they were level with two other rinks and shouldn’t feel too hard done by in a tough international competition.
Similarly, Muirhead’s team won’t feel too bad about the performance over the weekend. It is still early in a long curling season and they will still be finding their way with Reid joining the team as the new lead. Olympian Claire Hamilton opted to leave the rink in May of this year to pursue other goals but Reid’s appointment isn’t entirely out of the blue; Reid was Muirhead’s skip in her debut year back in 2006 before Muirhead quickly moved on to her team. This new move could lead to further glories when the European Championships come around in November.
Whilst the ladies toiled in Stockholm this weekend, the men’s teams were chilling out up in Gleneagles, watching the European golfers stomp on their American counterparts in the 2014 Ryder Cup. David Murdoch and his rink will be back in action next week for the Swiss Cup Basel. He won’t be alone either, as he will face competition from “Podium Potential” skips Tom Brewster and Kyle Smith amongst the 32-strong field.
To take a look at the tight match between Muirhead and Hasselborg (the team known as Golldreson for sponsorship reasons), check out this video on the Curling Champions Tour Youtube channel.