Dumfries International Wins For Bright Scottish Prospects

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Two of Scotland’s up and coming teams claimed excellent wins at the Dumfries International Challenger Series event hosted at the Dumfries Ice Bowl this afternoon.

For Bruce Mouat victory in the men’s event was the second notable triumph in eight days while for Lauren Gray success in the women’s tournament represented something of a breakthrough.

Mouat had, in partnership with Gina Aitken, secured a place at this season’s World Mixed Doubles Championships by winning the national title at Braehead last Sunday and, after undertaking two exams at Edinburgh Napier University during the week, rejoined his regular team for this weekend’s event.

“It’s been a really good week, winning last weekend, then having two exams this week that went ok ahead of this,” he said after producing a double take out at the final end, his stone just staying close enough to edge out Olympic silver medallist Tom Brewster’s rink in a closely contested final.

Having come through the qualifying pool undefeated Team Mouat’s win over the Netherlands’ Team van Dorp contributed to an all-Scottish semi-final line-up in the men’s event, Team Brewster having squeezed out Team Smith, Scotland’s representatives at the recent European Championships, at the quarter-final stage.

They then beat Grant Hardie’s rink while Brewster and his men were getting the better of Cameron Bryce’s team and Mouat paid tribute to the all-round effort that took them through the event undefeated.

“I played Tom a lot last season and now, as a new team, it’s great experience playing against someone like him,” he said.

“The guys played really well this weekend and it is a team game. I’m thankful that each and every one them played really well. We got to know the ice. I had to throw my last stone and hope to make the shot and it did which was good.

“It’s a great way to finish the year and we’ll be looking to come back with guns blazing as we have a really hectic February, March and April coming up.”

Hands had barely been shaken in that match when Gray produced the hit and roll that wrapped up the women’s final against Switzerland’s Team Milliard and she, too, paid tribute to the collective effort, having also negotiated a difficult semi-final against Germany’s Team Driendl earlier in the day.

“It was a good team performance. We had a tight match in the morning against Driendl and it came down to a button draw to win that one which gave us momentum for this afternoon,” she said.

“It also came down to the last shot with a hit and roll to win and another good team performance in a tight game.

“It’s our first competition that we’ve won as a team against good international teams so it’s been a great weekend.”

The skip believes this is the latest evidence that her team is progressing effectively.

“We were in Canada a few weeks back and made both Sundays and we kept building during that, but this weekend we actually got the result and it’s a nice way to cap off the year,” said Gray, who was the alternate for Team Muirhead when they won their bronze medal at last year’s Winter Olympics.

“It’s our second season together and we’re starting to make our games tighter and we need to keep building on that, but we’re progressing quite fast and we’re really pleased to get a team win.

“It’s relatively new territory. I’ve not skipped as long as other people have, but having competed lower down in the team in big competitions those experiences have served me well.”

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