Murrayfield Curling, 4th December 2011
After forfeiting their first game against Edinburgh University in this years Linlithgow League owing to an inability to field a full team, 37 Club came into this reverse fixture with vengeance in mind. To face them, Edinburgh restored Michael Nicholson to skip, assisted in the head by Ted Edmunds, with rookies Schuyler Ward and Emma Wheeldon completing the rink.
Edinburgh started brightly and will be disappointed not to have taken more than a single in the first end. Edmundss second shot, a delicate hit and roll, saw his shooter buried well behind a guard. After the 37 Clubs skip was unable to remove it with either of his shots, Nicholson had the chance of a tap up for two but was ever so slightly too light with his stone. 37 Club responded quickly with a triple in the second end, the only real highlight of which was a beautiful double takeout from Ward.
A congested third end saw 37 Club place two of their stones on the button, with an Edinburgh guard in front. Nicholson, faced with no other options, attempted a very difficult barrier weight double-raise-double-takeout, looking to push an opposition guard onto his own, and into the lying counters. The shot drifted just slightly wide and 37 Club stole the two. Edinburgh responded with a single in the fourth, Nicholson again failing to make a hit for two.
37 Club really started to apply the pressure in the fifth, splitting the house with four stones. Nicholson, with his second, attempted a freeze onto a rock in the back of the four foot but was a touch heavy. 37 Club, guaranteed a four barring accidents, spurned an opportunity to add another point, coming up slightly short with the hammer.
Into the sixth, another double takeout from Ward was the real highlight as Edinburgh somewhat belatedly began to assert themselves. Following some good build up work to leave the house rather full, Edmunds stepped up to play a delicate flick off the lying opposition shot through a port of Edinburgh stones in the back of the house. The shot just missed, though, and 37 Club took full advantage, freezing another rock onto Edmundss squandered target and taking another two points.
A change in strategy saw Edinburgh revert to a hitting game in the seventh, with Ward adding still another double takeout- eclipsed only by Edmundss sublime barrier weight double; swept exceptionally well by Ward and Wheeldon, it crept past the guard into the lying counters in the back twelve. 37 Club lay shot with only the hammer to be played but a tap back from Nicholson would have given his team four had the shooter not drifted just an inch wide. A similar scenario faced him in the last end, where a tap back could have given him five shots- and a more respectable scoreline- but again he was slightly wide.
Edinburgh did not play badly by any means, simply coming up against a strong team who never gave an inch- each of their draws being played to a perfect tee weight. The front ends inability to get stones in the house undoubtedly put pressure on Edmunds and Nicholson, who seldom had a real choice of shots to play; but in truth the strength of 37 Clubs back end was such that a loss would have been the most likely outcome anyway.