DODDS & MOUAT BEAT REGULAR TEAM MATES TO MIXED DOUBLES ELITE FINAL TITLE
Jen Dodds admitted there was a ‘bittersweet’ element to claiming victory over her regular skip Eve Muirhead to claim victory in British Curling’s Mixed Doubles Elite Finals at the National Curling Academy, but reckoned the key to this season’s successes in both disciplines has been finding ways of keeping things fun.
Dodds was playing with Bruce Mouat, who was continuing an extraordinary run that has seen him win every men’s and mixed doubles tournament played on Scottish ice since the end of 2019, but they were pushed all the way by the pairing of Muirhead and Bobby Lammie, who is also a member’s of Mouat’s men’s team.
The opening end set the tone as Muirhead and Lammie stole a shot and it was nip and tuck from that point until, up against a powerplay, Mouat and Dodds managed to steal at the final end to clinch the 8-6 win in another superb encounter that, like the men’s and women’s Elite Finals, went to the final stone and was enjoyed by a BBC Sport audience.
“It was a really, really good game,” said Dodds.
“Both teams came out firing and it was just back and forth the whole way. They would have a good end, then we would , so we knew it was going to come down to those two ends of powerplay which are always quite tense.”
Both pairs facing regular teammates added an extra element, particularly since Mouat’s solitary competition loss to another Scottish team in more than a year had come when he and Dodds lost the final match of British Curling’s season-long mixed doubles league competition to allow Lammie and Muirhead to pip them to that title last month.
“It is very much bittersweet. Obviously you want your team mates to do well but at the same time if you want to do well you have to beat them,” Dodds observed.
“It is tough, but we all know once we are back together as a team we are strong together – we know it is not personal. After mixed doubles competitions or matches, though, it’s always about saying ‘we’ve got that out of the way and we’re back as a team now,’ so it doesn’t disrupt our team mentality.”
With training as well as competitions having to be played under special protocols throughout, it has been a challenging season in many ways, but Dodds said they had sought to make the very best of it.
“This season was always changing and I think making fun out of the situation that we have was important,” she said.
“Being in here every day, to stop it becoming monotonous you have to make it fun and your improvements come when you’re having fun.”
Mouat echoed that sentiment, noting that he had seized the opportunity to work on aspects of his game over recent months.
“I’ve actually quite enjoyed this season because we’ve had so much technical work that we’ve been able to do and I’ve been able to build my technique and probably throw it better than I ever have,” he explained.
“I feel really confident in my slide; I feel really confident with the guys because we’ve been together for months. It’s been a strange season, because I would love to be travelling and competing, but it’s been as good as we could have it and I feel really lucky to have had competitions that we’ve been able to play, so thanks to British Curling and the Scottish Government and sportscotland for allowing us to do this. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Following the disappointing cancellation of the women’s World Championships, selection of the teams that will represent Scotland at the respective men’s and mixed doubles World Championships which will also be qualifying competitions for next year’s Winter Olympics is expected to be finalised this month.
Mouat knows he has strengthened his case in both disciplines in recent weeks and, after missing out due to the cancellations of both when he and Dodds had won both team and mixed doubles Scottish Championships last year, he said his hunger had intensified, not least because he and then partner Gina Aitken missed out on Olympic qualification by the narrowest of margins three years ago.
“I’m absolutely starving for the opportunity this time around,” he said with a laugh.
“It meant a lot when we didn’t manage to do it in 2018 and the feelings we had back then were pretty bad so this is probably why this means so much to me right now because it felt like I was so close to getting to an Olympics before PyeongChang and this time around I am making sure I am doing everything right. Obviously moving home to Stirling was part of that and trying to train as much as possible is very important to me.”
While the lack of international competition this season means rival teams will be less familiar with one another than is normally the case, Mouat is confident that the Scots will be competitive.
“We don’t know what the Slams will look like in Canada when we get there as we have not played any international opponents all year but we are in a good place ourselves and we think when we do get to that point we will be playing the same way as we have done in the NCA,” he said.
“Team Muirhead and Team Mouat are among the top ranked teams in the world, so we are great teams and to take individuals out of those teams and into Mixed Doubles they are obviously going to be strong partnerships and strong contenders, too.”
Ahead of that final selection process, British Curling’s Executive Performance Director Nigel Holl registered enormous satisfaction with the way the organisation had responded to the challenges of the season.
“This was the first time British Curling had staged full-blown tournaments for the athletes on our Olympic programme and to generate such vibrant and meaningful competition throughout the season has been a credit to all of our staff and players,” he said.
“In terms of generating the data required to maximise our chances of success on the world stage, it has been utterly invaluable and I am grateful to all concerned.
“It has been an additional bonus to have been able to produce a streaming service of such high quality that it has encouraged BBC Sport to offer unprecedented coverage of British curling over a series of events and their audiences have been treated to some magnificent matches, particularly during our Elite Finals series.”
FINAL AVAILABLE ON BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/sport/featured
Line scores available from @Curling Zone.
British Curling *Live streamed games available from https://www.youtube.com/c/britishcurling
The event and new guidelines:
- The return to training and the internal competition at the NCA follows approval from the Scottish Government /sportscotland and includes specific protocols such as daily medical monitoring for all athletes and staff, venue specific changes, cleaning and sanitising routines.
- British curling notes the latest restrictions introduced as a result of COVID and has ensured that the approach to the internal competition and ongoing training thereafter complies fully and athletes and staff have been fully briefed on the latest guidance and their responsibilities as a result.
Wednesday 10 February
0830 – Draw 1
Gray/Waddell v K McMillan/C Bryce 4-8
Davis/Kyle v Morrison/H McMillan 7-6
E Yeats /N Ryder v Joiner/Cannon 9-8(EE)
Duff/Whyte v Dodds/Mouat 4-7
1145 – Draw 2
Wilson/Brydone v Wright/Hardie* 6-7
Bousie/Haswell v Henderon/Craik 3-9
Muirhead/Lammie v Fowler/Fowler 7-0
Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean v Aitken/Paterson 7-6
1500 – Draw 3
Smith/Goodfellow v Farmer/Watt 7-9
Sinclair/Menzies v Stirling/Kingan* 8-5
1815 – Draw 4
Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean v Muirhead/Lammie 6-9
Fowler/Fowler v Aitken/Paterson* 7-6
Wright/Hardie v Bousie/Haswell 7-6
Wilson/Brydone v Henderson/Craik 8-7
Thursday 11 February
0830 – Draw 5
Davis/Kyle v Duff/Whyte 8-3
Gray/Waddell v Joiner/Cannon 6-4
Dodds/Mouat v Morrison/H McMillan 7-6 (EE)
K McMillan/C Bryce v E Yeats/N Ryder 7-3
1145 – Draw 6
Wright/Hardie v Fowler/Fowler 5-4
Wilson/Brydone v Muirhead/Lammie 8-7 (EE)
Farmer/Watt v Henderson/Craik* 4-6
Bousie/Haswell v Smith/Goodfellow 2-11
1500 – Draw 7
K McMillan/C Bryce v Dodds/Mouat 5-10
E Yeats/N Ryder v Sinclair/Menzies 3-8
Gray/Waddell v Duff/Whyte* 6-8
Stirling/Kingan v Joiner/Cannon 8-5
1815 – Draw 8
Bousie/Haswell v Aitken/Paterson 5-6
Henderson/Craik v Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean 4-9
Smith/Goodfellow v Wilson/Brydone* 8-9 (EE)
Wright/Hardie v Farmer/Watt 3-7
Friday 12 February
0830 – Draw 9
E Yeats/N Ryder v Morrison/H McMillan 6-9
K McMillan/C Bryce v Stirling/Kingan 5-4
Joiner/Cannon v Davis/Kyle 1-11
Sinclair/Menzies v Gray/Waddell 6-8
1145 – Draw 10
Henderson/Craik v Smith/Goodfellow 4-11
Farmer/Watt v Bousie/Haswell 7-8
Fowler/Fowler v Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean 7-6 (EE)
Aitken/Paterson v Muirhead/Lammie* 6-7
1500 – Draw 11
Joiner/Cannon v Sinclair/Menzies* 1-13
Morrison/H McMillan v Duff/Whyte 4-9
Stirling/Kingan v E Yeats/N Ryder 7-6
Dodds/Mouat v Davis/Kyle 8-1
1815 – Draw 12
Aitken/Paterson v Wilson/Brydone 9-6
Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean v Wright/Hardie* 3-10
Bousie/Haswell v Muirhead/Lammie 3-10
Henderson/Craik v Fowler/Fowler 9-4
Saturday 13 February
0830 – Draw 13
Duff/Whyte v Stirling/Kingan 12-6
Gray/Waddell v Davis/Kyle 7-6
Sinclair/Menzies v Dodds/Mouat 9-7 (EE)
Morrison H McMillan v K McMillan/ C Bryce 7-10
1145 – Draw 14
Muirhead/Lammie v Farmer/Watt 8-2
Smith/Goodfellow v Fowler/Fowler 8-9 (EE)
Aitken/Paterson v Wright/Hardie* 4-6
Wilson/Brydone v Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean 10-2
1500 – Draw 15
Morrison/H McMillan v Gray/Waddell* 9-7 (EE)
Joiner/Cannon v Dodds/Mouat 2-14
Davis/Kyle v K McMillan/C Bryce 4-9
E Yeats/ N Ryder v Duff/Whyte 3-8
1815 – Draw16
Fowler/Fowler v Bousie/Haswell 2-8
Muirhead/Lammie v Henderson/Craik 11-7
Wilson/Brydone v Farmer/Watt 3-9
Smith/Goodfellow v Wright/Hardie* 4-9
Sunday 14 February
0830 – Draw 17
Dodds/Mouat v E Yeats/N Ryder 8-6
Sinclair/Menzies v K McMillan/C Bryce 3-13
Duff/Whyte v Joiner/Cannon 7-3
Gray/Waddell v Stirling/Kingan 6-5 (EE)
1145 – Draw 18
Wright/Hardie v Henderson/Craik 8-3
Bousie/Haswell v Wilson/Brydone* 7-4
Wilkie-Milne/ McFadzean v Smith/Goodfellow 6-9
Farmer/Watt v Aitken/Paterson 5-6 (EE)
1500 – Draw 19
K McMillan/C Bryce v Joiner/Cannon 11-4
Stirling/Kingan v Morrison/ H McMillan* 7-8
E Yeats/N Ryder v Gray/Waddell 2-9
Davis/Kyle v Sinclair/Menzies 3-8
1815 – Draw 20
Smith/Goodfellow v Muirhead/Lammie* 6-9
Fowler/Fowler v Farmer/Watt 9-6
Henderson/Craik v Aitken/Paterson 11-4
Wilkie-Milne/McFadzean v Bousie/Haswell 3-10
Monday 15 February
0830 – Draw 21
Sinclair/Menzies v Duff/Whyte 8-3
Davis/Kyle v E Yeats/N Ryder 7-5
Dodds/Mouat v Stirling/Kingan 7-1
Joiner/Cannon v Morrison/H McMillan 7-6
1145 – Draw 22
Muirhead/Lammie v Wright/Hardie* 7-6
Fowler/Fowler v Wilson/Brydone 3-10
1500 – Draw 23
Dodds/Mouat v Gray/Waddell* 10-2
Morrison/H McMillan v Sinclair/Menzies 4-7
Duff/Whyte v K McMillan/C Bryce 10-4
Tuesday 16 February
1000 – Draw 24 Quarter Finals*
Wright/Hardie v Sinclair/Menzies 6-3
K McMillan/Bryce v Wilson/Brydone* 7-8
1500 – Draw 25 Semi Finals*
Wright/Hardie v Dodds/Mouat 2-9
Wilson/Brydone v Muirhead/Lammie 3-7
Wednesday 17 February
1100-Draw 26 FINAL*
Dodds/Mouat v Muirhead/Lammie 8-6
Images: PPA Graeme Hart