TEAM MOUAT WINS FIRST CURLING MAJOR AND BECOMES FIRST BRITISH AND SCOTTISH TEAM TO CLAIM A GRAND SLAM
British Curling’s Team Mouat have become the first British and Scottish men’s team to win a Grand Slam title, after they beat South Korea’s Team Kim 9-4 in the final of the Grand Slam of Curling Boost National, Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario (14-19 November).
Entering the record books in claiming their first major, 23 year old Bruce Mouat also warrants a separate mention in becoming the youngest skip to win a Grand Slam in only his second appearance at a Slam. The 2016 World Junior Champion made his debut in the same year as his world title at Humpty’s Champions Cup.
Mouat’s newly formed line up at the beginning of the season comprising Grant Hardie at third – who became a World Mixed Champion earlier this season, Bobbie Lammie at second and Hammy McMillan at lead has proved to be a winning combination from the outset.
In their first Canadian campaign together they won back to back titles at the Biosteel Oakville Fall Classic and Stu Sells Trophy in September, beating Chang-Min Kim’s quartet in both of those finals before a third encounter where they eliminating them again at the Boost National final, where Mouat’s men again reigned supreme.
Mouat who hails from Edinburgh said: “It’s been one hell of a week. The final was closer than the score suggests but we managed to take control after a few missed shots from myself in the second and third ends with a big three in the fourth.
“After that we kept control – well as much as possible in the five rock rule, The guys set up a great end in the seventh and we capitalised on a few missed shots from them to take the four and the game.
“It’s unbelievable to think we are the first Scottish Men’s team to win a Slam. I am so proud of our effort this week and the fact that we never doubted ourselves when we were playing the top teams in the game,” he said.
Their coach Allan Hannah added: “It was a great series of performances on great ice conditions against many of the world’s best to claim this young team’s first Grand Slam win for Scotland, fantastic!
“Wins against Jacobs, Koe and McEwan, three of the world’s best, is a great achievement for these young guys.
“This fantastic result sets the team up for many great opportunities in the remainder of the season and beyond,” said Hannah.
It was an impressive run throughout the tournament with the team list reading like the who’s who of curling in the line-up. Team Mouat’s only defeats in the pool stages had been to Brad Gushue's reigning world champions at an extra end and his fellow Canadian Mike McEwen, victories in their other two matches taking them into a tie-breaker with reigning Olympic champion Brad Jacobs’ rink.
Also facing a noisy home support for the local favourite and defending champion, the Edinburgh-based quartet claimed a three at the opening end and maintained that advantage throughout in registering a 5-2 win.
That shock victory took them into a quarter-final against last year’s world champions skipped by Kevin Koe, another of the great names of the modern game and, with the bit between their teeth, they completely dominated that match, wining 7-1 to set up a re-match in the semis with McEwen and they were never headed in that match either, a three at the fourth end sending them on their way to a 6-4 win.
They are only the second British men’s team to reach a Grand Slam final after Kyle Smith’s rink finished runners up at the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in Cranbrook last season, demonstrating the level of form coming out of the British Curling elite programme. .
British Curling’s Performance Director Graeme Thompson said: “Team Mouat made an excellent start to their season with a then untested rink winning back to back titles in their first Canadian campaign together and then becoming the first Scottish and British men’s team to win a slam, in doing so beating some of the biggest names in the game, has been exceptional. It is a tremendous performance from a young and hard working rink. “
Please click here for results from the GSOC Boost National
PHOTOS: (above) Perthshire Picture Agency – Graeme Hart (below) Alan Hannah.