Scottish Student Sport League
Dewars Centre, Perth, 26th October 2011
Edinburgh University has struggled in recent years when competing against other universities. After winning both the Scottish Universities League and Universities Open in 2007, the club has been in something of a terminal decline, winning only twice in the last sixteen games- both of those wins arising due to penalty points. Armed with this knowledge, the club ran trials early in the semester for this years team, a marked change from the more informal selection policies of the past.
Andrew Grieve, last years first choice skip, was returned to the team but has dropped down to third. Replacing him in the head is Katie McGaan, an experienced club curler playing her first full season after a serious knee injury. Club stalwart David Jenkins- normally a back end player- was selected to throw lead stones, while Dionne Clarke, a first year student and high level performer with Maggie Wilsons rink was drafted in at second. Fraser Stockton will serve as the first choice alternate, with club President Alison McAteer the next in line.
The first opposition for the newly assembled rink, Dundee University, have themselves suffered a decline (though not as pronounced as Edinburghs). From dominating the competitions in the 2010 2011 season (with a team boasting current Scottish Mixed champion Scott MacLeod) the Tayside team slipped to fourth in the league last year, winning just four of their matches. Both teams therefore had something to prove in this game.
Edinburgh started brightly, stealing one point in the first end as their opponents took time to settle in. A quick response followed though, Dundee gaining two with their last stone advantage in the second and quickly gaining momentum, adding a further single in the third. Edinburgh hit back with a single of their own in the fourth, but lost another double immediately afterwards.
Into the sixth, Edinburgh found themselves lying shot with only the Dundee skip to play. A takeout attempt missed and removed his own second shot, gifting two to Edinburgh. A great comeback seemed well and truly on the cards in the seventh and final end, with McGaan playing an aggressive game, culminating in her team lying four. This time, though, the Dundee skips shot was perfect, tapping up one of his own stones (after deciding against a tricky hit) to take a single point.
That the game ended up being so close is testament to how far Edinburgh have come, and provided a glimpse into what this newly formed rink might be able to achieve further down the line. If they are able to stick together as a unit (and with one first, one second, one third and one fourth year, only minor changes will be needed in the next year or two) then there is every reason to be optimistic about Edinburgh Universitys future in the Scottish Student Sport competitions. Whether pushing on for more than mid-table respectability is a possibility will, though, remain to be seen.
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