Murrayfield Curling, 13th November 2011
Edinburgh University fielded two debutants in this Linlithgow League fixture, as Emma Wheeldon (lead) and Joergen Joergensen (second) both stepped up for their first competitive game; Lewis Drennan returned for only his second match after a few years absence, slotting in at third. Michael Nicholson completed the quartet, taking the head against DAFS for the second time in as many seasons, the previous effort being a heavy 3 v 15 loss.
From the start of the match, it seemed that a similar thrashing was on the cards with Nicholson completely failing to get a read on the very swingy ice, and his teammates all struggling to find their weight. Despite winning the toss Edinburgh could not capitalise, their skip unable to draw to the four foot to beat his counterparts lying shot. Three successive steals of two points followed, but it could easily have been more, Nicholsons hit and roll in the third end limiting the damage when faced with losing five.
In the fourth end, though, Edinburgh had shown signs of resuscitation. Following a quick chat with his skip at the end of the third, Drennan pared his takeout weight back to a more measured level, and played two excellent strikes to clear the DAFS guards from the front of the house. However, it was DAFS who capitalised, two perfect tee weight draws proving impossible for Edinburghs skip to match.
In the fifth, with the game seemingly over as a contest, the DAFS third managed to bury his second stone perfectly behind a couple of his own guards. Nicholson responded with a terrific shot, a lovely corner freeze that left him lying shot with a further two stones in the house. The DAFS skip could do nothing to remove the stone so, with his second, Nicholson needed only to follow his previous line down with a bit more weight to tap the opposition rock back and take four, which surely would have shifted the momentum of the game. His shot was poor though, his line some two feet out despite the perfect weight, and Edinburgh counted only the single.
With the hammer for the first time in the match, DAFS went in for the kill and scored a big three in the sixth to put the game completely out of Edinburghs reach, with a further single in the seventh for good measure.
With nothing but pride to play for in the eighth, Edinburgh finally (but belatedly) enjoyed a bit of luck. Drennan followed one good barrier weight takeout with a second sublime (and slightly ridiculous) one; with DAFS lying four, his shooter removed one of their stones and jammed in between the other three, frozen onto each of them- one off to the left, and one each in front of and behind the Edinburgh stone, which lay just slightly off the centre of the button. DAFS could not get anywhere near it with their last shot so Nicholson faced a delicate draw weight takeout to take two, needing to hit the side-lying DAFS stone on the nose to push it and their back stone away. Unfortunately, the shot proved too big for him, his stone drifting mere inches wide.
Put simply, this was not a good game for Edinburgh University. Faced with superior opposition, the inexperience of the team shone through and too many easy shots were missed by all. Undoubtedly, had DAFS abandoned their lovely guard play for a more aggressive approach, the scoreline could have been higher. Edinburgh- and especially Nicholson- can take solace in the fact that the losing margin was lower than that of the previous fixture (where a very experienced team had played for them) but will not be looking for a third fixture against DAFS any time soon.
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