Edinburgh University 5 v 8 Heriot Watt University

Burgh Varsity
Murrayfield Curling, 14th March 2012

H 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Edinburgh University * 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 0 5
Heriot Watt University 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 4 8

Edinburgh University entered this Varsity match with high hopes of wresting away the title that Heriot-Watt has taken both years since the fixture’s inception.  Despite their opponents boasting two former Scottish Junior Champions, their front end appeared significantly weaker and, with a more-balanced team, this promised to be Edinburgh’s best opportunity to take the trophy.

Heriot Watt took the early advantage, stealing a single in the first after Andrew Grieve, the Edinburgh skip, twice wrecked on guards as he tried to displace Caitlin Barr’s shot stone.  Edinburgh played a better end in the second, securing their deuce when the Heriot Watt skip, Colin Howden, was wide and heavy with his freeze on the lone Edinburgh stone in the house, gifting Grieve an easy open draw for two.

Edinburgh continued their form into the third, lying two with only three shots to play after Grieve made a nice tap-back to sit with one in the front four-foot, and one in the back.  While the double looked easy, Howden’s hit was underswept and nosed the front rock, removing only one.  Grieve tried to draw in to lie two, but his shot took a big swing and wrecked.  Howden attempted a tricky angled raise for one but was too heavy, catching his guard too thinly and peeling it out to concede a steal of one.

The fourth end was the definite turning point as, though Edinburgh again stole a point, they spurned the chance to kill the game off as a contest.  With the house flooded with Edinburgh stones, Howden played a terrific peel to lie second shot, but left his rock completely exposed.  Grieve had the option to remove it and force Howden to draw against five; instead he drew the other side and was extremely fortunate to lie shot after his heavy draw tapped his own stone back.  Howden played the hit for two, but wrecked on his own guard.  Edinburgh may have scored one point, but a braver call by their skip could have seen them leading by as many as seven at the halfway point.

Heriot Watt, perhaps relieved to still be in the game, seemed more relaxed in the fifth and were unlucky not to take more than one.  Barr successfully drew behind cover, followed down by Grieve, who sat in the top four.  Howden peeled that rock out and Grieve’s second draw was overswept, sitting in the back eight and inviting an easy draw for two.  Howden couldn’t bring his weight down, though, and watched his shot flash through.  The score was levelled in the next end, when Grieve’s draw to the four foot against two came up well short.

Looking to take the hammer back for the eighth, Howden successfully set about restricting Edinburgh to a single in the seventh.  Some nice build-up play again left Grieve drawing against two, though this time he was more successful, hitting the back Heriot Watt stone out for his point.  The eighth proved to be a total washout for Edinburgh, though, as their opponents flooded the house with no meaningful reply.   Grieve, hitting against four with his last shot, couldn’t find his way through a tight port, and offered handshakes without Howden having to play his last.

 Michael Nicholson