ABERDEEN TITLE WIN FOR NEW MUIRHEAD AND LAMMIE COMBO
Former world and two-time European women’s curling champion Eve Muirhead demonstrated her versatility when she and Bobby Lammie teamed up to claim the Aberdeen Mixed Doubles Championship title over the weekend.
Playing in their first tournament together in the new discipline that was introduced to the Winter Olympics last year, they gelled well from the off, losing just one of their five round-robin matches in earning a place in the knockout stages.
An 8-0 defeat of Sophie Sinclair and Duncan Menzies in the quarter-final, followed by a much tighter semi-final in which they required an extra end to get the better of Maia Ramsfjell and Duncan McFadzean took them through to a title decider with their respective regular teammates on tour, Vicky Wright and Grant Hardie.
A three at the opening end put them in early control of the final and singles were exchanged from that point until Wright and Hardie registered a two at the sixth end to get within a shot at 5-4. Another three from Muirhead and Lammie at the seventh wrapped up their 8-4 win and earned the most successful British curler of her generation yet another title.
“We’re really delighted with the result,” said Muirhead.
“It was a good weekend for both of us. We both played some really good curling and the ice in Aberdeen was excellent, so that always makes for a good combination.
“Some time off at Christmas always sounds nice, but we’re really pleased with how this went and it’s good to get a Christmas bonus.”
With all of the British Curling elite programme’s leading players having been encouraged to get involved in the mixed doubles format, Muirhead reckoned that their victory had set them up perfectly for next year’s national championships, the winners of which will represent Scotland at the World Championships.
“It was a high calibre of teams that were in this event and for us to have such a good tournament before the Scottish Mixed Doubles was an excellent dry run for us, because we haven’t actually played a lot together,” she observed.
While the spectator-friendly, shorter, sharper version of the sport makes different demands of the players when only two are available to sweep stones into the house, the experienced skip laughed as she noted that she still reckons things work better when she takes on more of an overseeing role.
“My arms are actually OK… I’m not too sure about Bobby’s, because the way we work he actually does the majority, or basically all the sweeping and I kind of take care of the ice reading, just to make sure that we make it easier to make the shots,” she explained.
“So I’m focused on watching the ice and how it’s moving and keeping an eye on the speeds, which means we’ve got a pretty good way of working.”
Lammie also reckoned that the way they had shared responsibilities had worked perfectly.
For Lammie it was only his second serious mixed doubles competition, having reached the final of the Scottish Championships with Rachel Hannen two years ago when they were beaten in the final by Jayne Stirling and Fraser Kingan, who reached the semi-finals in Aberdeen, losing out to Hardie and Wright.
“Even though we’ve not played much in this format Eve and I were confident about our chances and both went in believing we could win it and we’re going to try to replicate this at the Scottish Championships,” he said.
The change of pace and style had been welcome, too.
“It’s a different way of looking at the sport compared with playing in a four man team. It was actually more relaxed and we didn’t put as much pressure on ourselves, so all-in-all it was a really nice way to finish 2019,” said Lammie.
Eve Muirhead & Bobby Lammie
Jen Dodds & Bruce Mouat
Lauren Gray & Kyle Waddell
Vicky Wright & Grant Hardie
Sophie Jackson & Hammy McMillan
Naomi Brown & Michael Goodfellow
Mili Smith & Ross Paterson
Sophie Sinclair & Duncan Menzies
Gina Aitken & Scott Andrews
Please click here for results.
Images: Graeme Hart