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Eve Muirhead’s new combination for the 2019-20 season proved to be a winning one as they beat Switzerland’s World Champions Team Tirinzoni 5-2 in the final to claim the Oakville Fall Classic title in Ontario.

It was the perfect start to the season for the former world champion and team-mates Lauren Gray, Jen Dodds and Vicky Wright who changed their playing positions during their pre-season training and came through this first test in a high quality field with flying colours.

Their only loss came as the round-robin stages of the event got underway, losing their opening match to Korea’s Team Un-Chi Gim, but that was their only setback as they went on to win their next three matches, to cruise into the play-offs. Once there they saw off another Korean rink, Team Kim, before earning that meeting with Tirinzoni by beating two Canadian quartets, Teams Balsdon and Team Rocque.

After a difficult 2018-19 season that had begun with their skip recovering from hip surgery, there could have been no better way to begin their new campaign.

“We’re absolutely delighted to win the first title of the season,” said Muirhead.

“It means a lot for us as a team. That was our plan to come out pretty strong at the start because we know we have some points to chase to guarantee our Grand Slam spots. 

“For myself it has been a mountain to climb coming back from injury and it has been a very hard summer with a lot of rehab focused work, while we are a new combination of players, but things just gelled and went really well.

“As always there are things that we want to get better at, but there are a lot of things we can take a lot of positives from and keep getting the small things even better.

“We have put down a marker to show that Team Muirhead is back on track, hopefully winning more titles to come and all of us are delighted. It was a great game in the final and we managed to get a nice four shot ender in there that put us up on the scoreboard and saw away the game with a lot of great short play, which did the trick.” 

The victory was also a boost for their new coach Nancy Smith in her first tournament working with Team Muirhead.

“The team have settled in really well into their new playing positions and they were playing in harmony together, reading the ice well and executing great shots,” said Smith.

“When all that comes together you are able to beat some great teams and beating the world champs in the final says it all. The girls can now take a lot of confidence from this early win as they prepare for the rest of this Canadian campaign and the rest of the season.” 

Team Bryce represented Scottish interests in the men’s event and maintained a 100% record until the semi final, where they lost out 9-3 to Korea’s Chang Min-Kim.

Please click here for more information and results from the Oakville Fall Classic:

Team Muirhead
Eve Muirhead
Lauren Gray
Jennifer Dodds
Vicky Wright

Team Bryce
Cameron Bryce
Craig Waddell
Gregor Cannon
Derrick Sloan

Images: Graeme Hart

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