AITKEN CLAIMS FIFTH SCOTTISH MIXED DOUBLES TITLE WITH EMERGENCY REPLACEMENT
Gina Aitken has won her fifth Scottish Mixed Doubles title, with Grand Slam Champion Duncan Menzies putting in a stellar performance standing in as an emergency replacement for her regular playing partner Scott Andrews.
The pair beat defending champions Fraser Kingan and Jayne Stirling 7-4 in the final at Braehead, to complete an unbeaten run through the event having won all five of their pool matches, ahead of a 6-4 semi final win over Craig Waddell and Alice Spence.
Kingan and Stirling, the other British Curling supported rink in the competition, had also won all of their pool matches before beating former champions Lee and Judith McCLeary 6-5 in the other semi final.
“It feels amazing, especially with the change of line-up just before the event started,” said Aitken.
“This was probably the biggest build up to a Scottish Championships because of the investment and preparation in the Mixed Doubles squad this year and this one probably feels a bit more special and means more as a result.
“Our big aim for this season was obviously getting to the Worlds and it means so much to have overcome the challenges to get there.
“Duncan is on a roll and it’s great to have had a player of his calibre to step in, deal with this situation so well, making such a selfless gesture, since he won’t be going to the World Championships.”
Menzies had been called into action after Andrews was ruled out of the Scottish Championships after sustaining an injury, switching disciplines just days after returning home from Canada where he has been part of Team Paterson, who had won the first ever all-Scottish final at a Grand Slam event last Sunday.
“It is great to have won two titles back-to-back. I’m certainly riding a wave just now, but Gina made a ton of shots this week and made it easy for me which enabled us to keep the pressure on the other teams and it’s always nice to finish with a 100 per cent record,” he said.
Andrews expressed his gratitude to Menzies for the way he had performed in challenging circumstances.
“Duncan has been brilliant all week,” he said.
“They were the best team in the field and deserved to win. It was very generous of him. He’s a great friend who has qualified us for what will be my first Mixed Doubles World Championships in April and this has given me additional incentive to get fit as quickly as possible.”
An excellent weekend for the British Curling Mixed Doubles programme also saw English pair of Anna and Ben Fowler reach the final of the Italian Mixed Doubles Championships in Pinerolo.
“We had a fantastic weekend at the Italian Mixed Doubles Cup in Pinerolo, going unbeaten until the final. It was a great event and we worked hard to be on the podium, though we'd have liked the top spot!” said Anna Fowler.
“We have seen huge improvements in our game since the beginning of the season, and it's encouraging that this is showing in our results on the World Curling Tour. A big thanks goes to the British Curling coaches and support staff, who have given us the expertise to improve technically and tactically.
“We have one competition left now before the English Mixed Doubles Championships in mid-January where we will play some tough opposition in the Qualico Mixed Doubles Classic in Banff, Alberta (2-6 January),” she said.
All three programme teams will be competing in Banff.
British Curling Mixed Doubles Teams:
Photos (above): Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.
Photo (below: WCF / Richard Gray.