Murrayfield Curling, 5th February 2012
Edinburgh University will wish they could simply chalk off the first end of this game, as a close encounter saw them succumb by the four points conceded there. Alison McAteer- fresh off a peel against Gogar Park Young Curlers, dropped down to third ,her place at skip assumed by Fraser Stockton, coming in directly after his three games in the Open Pairs. Schuyler Ward and Emma Wheeldon comprised the front-end.
Edinburgh- struggling in the league- were always second favourites in this game and made things difficult from themselves in the first, giving away a big early lead. A stolen single by Aegon seemed to be paving the way for a rout but the students had other ideas.
The front end, who started slowly, gathered impetus as each end passed, with Wheeldon’s improving guard play and Ward’s draws now giving Stockton a more solid foundation on which to build. A single in the third was a touch disappointing, but was followed up by a steal of one in the next; Stockton’s takeout had seen his shooter hang around, and his counterpart could not remove it. In the fifth, Aegon were restricted to a single of their own and the momentum was definitely switching to the students.
Edinburgh made full use of the hammer in the sixth, finally scoring a two when Stockton’s draw for seemed to be wrecking, but was well improvised into a tap-up which just stuck around. An incredible take-out from Ward in the seventh- just sneaking past an opposition guard- set the stage for a photo finish as Edinburgh clawed back another single to pull within one point.
The students simply couldn’t take advantage, though and, having lost just two points in the last six ends, yielded a three in the eighth.
Despite the result, there were some optimistic signs from this Edinburgh team. Normally very quick to let their heads drop after they go behind, the students instead worked even harder and put some real pressure on their opponents, and were ultimately unlucky to lose. McAteer’s performance too, was noteworthy, as she continued her comeback from a long-term injury in seemingly better form than ever. One has to wonder whether, had that early four not been lost, and had so much of the match not been played in the front of the house (restricting opportunities for draws and freezes) the result here might not have been different.