Mouat and Aitken Crowned Scottish Mixed Doubles Champions
Curlers Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken won the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship for the third time in four years at Braehead yesterday and will represent Scotland at the World Mixed Doubles Championships hosted in Karlstad, Sweden next year.
Mouat (Edinburgh) and Aitken (Longniddry) topped the standings after the round robin stages before defeating defending champions Judith and Lee McCleary in the semi finals to take on Grant Hardie and Abigail Brown in the final.
Opening with the hammer Team Mouat got off to a strong start claiming a two at the first end and Team McCleary only managed a single in the next before Mouat scored doubles at the next two ends to lead 6-1 by the 4th end. A late surge from their opponents picking up a single at the next and then a three in the 6th left them one shot adrift of Mouat and Aitken who “kept their cool” to score singles in the last two ends to claim an 8-5 victory, to lift the title they previously held in 2012 and 2013.
Speaking after the final, 21 year old Mouat said, “It is very special to win a national title and to go on to represent your country at a World Championship is a great honour.
“Gina and I have not had a great amount of practice leading up to the Mixed Doubles but my rink has enjoyed good results leading up to this so I knew the form was there, even though for the doubles it is different as you have more stones in play.
“Our first few games went well so that helped to have a few wins under the belt, we then had a slight dip on Saturday and in the final I missed a hit in the 6th end and left Gina in a difficult position and our opponents were able to score a three there, but my team has a saying which is ‘bin it’ if you miss a shot, which basically means don’t over think it and just move on. Throughout the tournament we have been consistent.”
However, the 3rd year Edinburgh Napier student has more testing times ahead as he is due to sit two exams this week for his Festival and Events with Entrepreneurship degree.
“I feel like this is the business end of the season now so at this stage you really need to have your head down for studying and curling so you get the balance right. After Christmas I am looking forward to a six month placement so there will be less pressure and I can concentrate more on my curling and looking forward to the world’s. You have to find a balance, Gina also has her dissertation due around that time and maybe this demonstrates why we are able to cope with the pressure in the big ends and big events of competition.
He concluded, “Long term I want to get to an Olympics and whether that is as a duo now that the Mixed Doubles discipline has been introduced, or with my rink I will have to wait and see.”
The Mixed Doubles will be included as an Olympic discipline at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang (9-25 February) 2018.