TEAM MUIRHEAD COMPLETES SEASON WITH SUCCESS AT ARCTIC CUP
Team Muirhead have completed their season in style, registering a 100% record in securing victory at the World Curling Tour’s Arctic Cup in Siberia, their last competitive outing of the season.
In the tournament final the Scottish rink beat Russia’s Alina Kovaleva 5-4, edging ahead with a steal at the eighth end to lift the trophy.
Skip Eve Muirhead said: “We are delighted to have won the Arctic Cup. As a team we played very well all weekend, not dropping a game.
“We played some very good curling in front of great crowds here in Siberia. The event was very well organised and a different environment to be curling in, but the show the organisers put on was second to none and was a great showcase for world curling.
“With this win being so late in the season we will look to build on this into the next, along with Jen (Dodds) who unfortunately couldn’t be here.”
Operating with a five player team this season, Muirhead utilised the flexibility this offered during their final event with regular lead Lauren Gray switching to third (as Jennifer Dodds was at a family wedding), while Vicki Chalmers and Vicky Wright teamed up in the front end.
“Working as a five this year has meant we could make changes when we needed to, so when that happens it is not a shock and it freshens things up. Lauren (Gray) was skipping during some games at the World Champs this year and moving her up to third for this event helped us to test things out as we work out strongest positions,” said Muirhead.
“It is good to finish the season on good form, especially when you take yourself back to the start of what in many ways has been a bedding-in year, with lots of changes.”
Reflecting on the season which started with Muirhead returning from hip surgery and rehab, she said:”It has been a hard slog and probably the toughest season of my career. Every Olympic cycle is tough whether you win or don’t win a medal and there have been lots of ups and downs to deal with.
“My goal was to get fit again and that took a lot of time and hard work and effort. I now realise what I can deal with to be at the top level again and I know that I will come back stronger.”
Muirhead welcomed the opportunity of being invited to stand in for Olympic Champion skip Anna Hasselborg at the Champions Cup in Saskatoon where they reached the semi-final of that event with the Swedish rink.
“Playing with Team Hasselborg came at a really good time and served as a reminder that I can play really good curling, compete at the top level and beat the best skips out there,” she said.
“As an athlete injury is horrible, but I have had the best support team around me and the perspective of the last year has shown how far I have come, having had to work so hard to get back.
“At the end of last season I spent most of the summer focusing on rehab post surgery, so this summer it will be really nice to get some downtime. We are back on ice in July so it will be good to play some golf, which is a huge part of my life and a holiday is also on the cards so I can maximise my time away from ice. This break will be important as you need time away so that you are hungry for the sport when you come back. I am really excited about the year ahead and that is when good things happen.”
Team Muirhead – WCT Arctic Cup:
Vicki Chalmers (Adams)
Photo above and below - Michael Burns - Team Muirhead were part of the successful Team World beating Team North America for the first time in six years at the WFG Continental Cup.
NCA Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart