Kinross Hogmanay Pairs (Game 2)

Kinross Hogmanay Pairs
Kinross Curling Rink, 17th December 2011

H 1 2 3 4 5 Total
Michael Nicholson & Ted Edmunds 0 0 0 1 0 1
Lee McCleary & Judith McFarlane * 0 5 2 0 4 11

The second Edinburgh University entry in the Kinross Hogmanay Pairs went into this tournament without the same pressures of their counterparts.  While Alistair Wallace and David Jenkins were unfamiliar with one another and playing to qualify for the Scottish Pairs Championship, Michael Nicholson and Ted Edmunds were good friends and regular team-mates; they had also declared themselves to be playing only socially, with a view to later qualification as an Edinburgh representative.  This latter fact will have been all the more relieving upon sight of the fixture list, which drew the pair (each in only their fourth season curling, having first played at University) against Lee McCleary and Judith McFarlane, crowned Scottish Mixed Doubles Champions just six days previously.

Setting out simply to limit the damage, the students started brightly as an open and aggressive end saw them forcing McCleary to hit for the blank.  That proved the high-point, though, as the Kinross pair showed their quality.  Edmunds’ last shot in the second, a draw against four, was too light, gifting McCleary an easy draw for five.  Edmunds had not been aided by Nicholson, who failed to pull off any of the four shots called for him.

Nicholson continued to struggle in the third, allowing McFarlane in to lie two.  A nice hit and roll from Edmunds was followed by a four-foot draw from McCleary, which Edmunds couldn’t remove.  A double takeout with his third wrecked on his own stone, with both rolling out, while a triple (raising a McCleary guard onto his own two shot stones) with his last rock had a beautiful line but was far too light to have any impact.

Nicholson upped his game in the penultimate end, though not much, seeing one of his four shots coming off.  That shot was a hit and stick after McFarlane split the house, but his stone was soon removed, and another drawn in for the Scottish Champions to lie three.  Edmunds drew in to the four-foot to lie shot, but McCleary hit and stuck to up the pressure.  Edmunds, with his last, found himself facing seven but played a cool-headed shot under pressure, striking the shot McCleary stone and sticking to take a single point.

Nicholson and Edmunds opted to play on despite the large deficit, in order to gain more experience, but will have wished they had not.  Nicholson finally found his weight, but McFarlane’s drawing game was better, and she quickly split the house.   McCleary continued to raise the stakes, and was lying four by the time Edmunds played his last stone, a hit on the shot stone in the four foot, which saw the shooter roll away.  An easy draw for four put the nail in the coffin for the Edinburgh University team, and saw them drop into the B-road, while their opponents continued, as expected, in the A-road.

Michael Nicholson