Scottish Student Sport League
Dewars Centre, Perth, 30th November 2011
|Strathclyde University 1||*||1||1||1||2||1||2||x||x||8|
* Denotes hammer
Edinburgh Universitys trips to Perth for the Scottish Student Sport league have not proven particularly fruitful of late, it being over a year since they recorded a win in the competition (with even that victory requiring penalty points to be awarded against their opposition). In stark contrast, Stathclyde University have been an almost indomitable force, taking the league championship last year and beginning this with impressive results against Robert Gordon and Glasgow Universities- their only loss so far coming at the hands of their own second team. In short, Edinburgh entered this game as marked underdogs, knowing that they needed a strong performance to upset the apple cart.
The team had to be rearranged once again, as Katie McGaan withdrew from the squad; Andrew Grieve moved up to skip, and Dionne Clark to third. As in the last game (where Clark had been absent) David Jenkins played second and Fraser Stockton came in at lead.
A strong start from Edinburgh in the first end saw them lying directly on the button, frozen onto a couple of stones, with more frozen onto their own. Strathclydes skip, with no obvious shot to play, tapped up their own guard with some force to send the cluster of rocks flying. When the stones had come to rest, it was Strathclyde who were lying shot, and they- somewhat fortuitously- took a single. Another point followed in the next end, when Grieves draw into the house came up short.
Into the third, Grieve faced a blockade of guards and beyond that only a secondary phalanx of opposition stones in the front of the house. With no other options, a peel weight was optimistically called, with no real strategy other than to punch through. Grieves positivity wasnt entirely without foundation, as he limited Strathclyde to another single when many more points could have been surrendered.
In the fourth, Edinburgh were sitting with two when Clark stepped up to play her second shot. The sweepers went down on it too quickly and allowed it to clip a Strathclyde guard, which promptly made its way straight to the button. Grieve was powerless to remove it and another Strathclyde chalked up a further two points. Strathclyde added another point in the fifth, when some lovely guards protected their lying shot, and still another point followed in the sixth when Grieve missed his final draw before the bell brought an end to proceedings.
On paper, this result seems a humiliation for the students from the Capital, but with due respect to Strathclyde- who deserved their win- the game was much closer than the scoreline suggests. Edinburgh simply found themselves up against superior opponents, and deserve credit for mitigating the result in the way they did, never conceding more than two in any end. Strathclyde must surely be regarded as the front-runners to retain the league they won last year; for Edinburgh, the search for a win against university opposition continues.