EVE MUIRHEAD LIFTS EIGHTH NATIONAL TITLE
Eve Muirhead ended an anxious three year wait since her last Scottish Women’s Curling Championships win when she extended her record haul of titles as skip to eight with an emphatic victory in the final.
The 29-year-old, who has been the dominant figure in the Scottish women’s game over the past decade, admitted afterwards that there had been times when she feared she may not add to those magnificent seven previous successes after she underwent hip surgery two years ago.
However, the nature of the 8-3 victory she and colleagues Lauren Gray, Jen Dodds and Vicky Wright achieved over Team Wilson in the final was the latest evidence that she has fully recovered and is back to her best.
“It feels really good and probably just as good as the first, pretty special in its way because it’s the first one since my surgery and there are times after that when you’re wondering whether you’re going to be at the top of the podium again,” she said.
“For us to come out this week and stay really strong as a team and as a unit, putting together the performances we did, I’m really proud of the team and myself for being able to do that.”
Their confidence had already been lifted by a string of quality showings at previous tournaments this season, including reaching the European Championship final.
“Having a good season coming in helped us,” Muirhead acknowledged.
“Our silver at the Europeans was a great medal for us. We played some cracking games over that week, lost with the last stone of the final, which was gutting at the time, but we looked back and realised we are a team that’s building and we want to be strong in 2022.”
And they have also been helped by the recent recruitment of new tactical coach Kristian Lindström.
“Kristian’s been a great addition to this team,” she said.
“He used to be a very high class curler in his day and he still plays a bit of mixed doubles, so to get his knowledge and expertise shared with us has really helped. We’re going to work hard with him the next few weeks.”
As well as proving her physical fitness, the nature of this latest title win demonstrated that Muirhead has lost none of the drive that has taken the former world champion to the top.
“It’s been hard,” said Muirhead.
“There’s been a lot of preparation for the whole season, before every single game. I can never take my foot off the gas or I can’t curl that well. So, I’ve been really rigid with my pre-game warm up, my post-game cool down and really worked hard in between games to keep on top of my body. It’s hard work, but I do it because I love it and I can still make a few curling shots, so I’ll carry on as long as I can keep playing, because I love what I do.”
This victory means she and her team-mates can also look forward to a return to the biggest annual event in the sport, as well as setting sights on the pinnacle of the sport, the Winter Olympics which will take place in Beijing in 2022.
“To represent Scotland at the World Championships again is going to be great and Canada’s a country you always want to go to for the Worlds, while we’re also looking to bank up a few Olympic points,” she said.
“It’s very important to do this in the middle of an Olympic cycle. We still want to be the team going to the Olympic Games and obviously we don’t know the selection process yet, but of course this can also give us one foot forward when you win a Scottish title, so that was important. However, we just need to keep delivering as a team and that’s all we can do.”
Her own attention now switches in the shorter term to the new Olympic discipline in which she has formed a partnership with Bobby Lammie, who was competing against the team skipped by Muirhead’s brother Glen in the men’s final at the Scottish Championships as part of Team Mouat.
“Me and Bobby are a strong unit and we’ve got the mixed doubles in a couple of weeks which is here in Perth as well, so we’ll be giving it another good shot,” she said.
“That’s the next focus for us. The weekend off and then straight into that. We won the event in Aberdeen (in December), so we’re strong.
“There’s not much rest at all, but we’re heading up to the Fairmont in St Andrews, one of our sponsors tomorrow night, so there will be a few celebrations up there.”
“We’ve got a lot to be proud of from this week,” said their skip Maggie Wilson.
“We played a lot of good shots and had a lot of good games building on what we’ve done this season, so we’ve got a lot to take forward for next season. We know we can be back here next season and maybe get a different result.”
The World Women’s Curling Championships will be hosted in Prince George in Canada next month (14-22 March).
Please click here for the link to the results
Day 1 Results:
Team Wilson 7 Team MacDonald 4
Team Jackson 7 Team Muirhead 6 (EE)
Team Dakers 9 Team Kesley 1
Team Farmer 11 Team Davie 3
Day 2 Results:
Team Muirhead 11 Team Dakers 4
Team Jackson 8 Team Kesley 2
Team Wilson 10 Team Farmer 5
Team MacDonald 9 Team Davie 3
Team Muirhead 7 Team Farmer 5
Team Wilson 9 Team Jackson 5
Team Davie 12 Team Dakers 8
Team MacDonald 11 Team Kesley 4
Day 3 Results:
Team Wilson 7 Team Davie 2
Team Muirhead 13 Team Kesley 2
Team Jackson 11 Team Dakers 6
Team Farmer 6 Team MacDonald 5
Team Jackson 11 Team Davie 5
Team Wilson 11 Team Daker 4
Team Muirhead 7 Team MacDonald 2
Team Farmer 10 Team Kesley 4
Day 4 Results:
Team Muirhead 10 Team Davie 3
Team Farmer 10 Team Dakers 4
Team Wilson 7 Team Kesley 4
Team MacDonald 6 Team Jackson 3
Team Muirhead 11 Team Wilson 4
Team MacDonald 10 Team Dakers 4
Team Farmer 7 Team Jackson 4
Day 5 Results:
Play-offs 1 v 2
Team Muirhead 6 Team Wilson 3
Team Wilson 11 Team Farmer 4
Team Muirhead 8 Team Wilson 3