Team Muirhead Power Their Way To New International Title
Olympic bronze medallists Team Muirhead won the EDF Energy City of Perth Ladies International at Perth’s Dewars Centre after beating Team Tirinzoni 5-4 in the final.
In a closely fought match, it was left to local skip Eve Muirhead to clinch the inaugural title with her final stone to claim victory over the Swiss rink, ranked just below Team Muirhead in the order of merit world rankings.
The new Curling Champions Tour event in Scotland which was televised live by BBC ALBA, provided the perfect opportunity for Team Muirhead to get back into top class competition after returning from the World Championships in Canada in fifth place and they led the Scottish challenge in a strong international field wining all six of their matches, after being forced into a last minute change to their line-up, replacing an injured Anna Sloan with Mairi Milne.
Eve Muirhead said, “We got Mairi in the team at the last minute due to Anna’s injury and she played great all weekend, it was fun after the disappointment of the World’s last week, when you’re not feeling at your best.
“So it has made a difference bouncing back from last week and hopefully that’s put us on a bit of an upward spiral again.
“That’s sport. I’d rather lose the major championships right now than in a couple of year’s time. These events are stepping stones hopefully to the big goal which is the Olympic Games again, but I never like going into tournaments and not ending up on the podium, especially when we’re a team that is definitely capable of that.
“We had three or four days after we had finished playing and I was absolutely gutted, but first thing’s first, we got Great Britain some valuable Olympic points. It’s really important going into 2018 to make sure of that.”
Mairi Milne, two time world silver medallist - in 1990 and 1994 - acknowledged the immense pressure on Team Muirhead to perform and excel at international events.
“Coming back from the worlds they would have been disappointed. Those girls especially go with great hopes and they came here with a lot of pressure on them because it is their competition and I’m sure they wanted to win it. Then with Anna’s injury coming quite late on they had to deal with a lot.
“However they played super stuff all weekend and it’s been a privilege for me. It’s been great from start to finish and I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.
The 46 year old added, “I won my first world medal the same year that Eve was born. The years are definitely against me, but I’ve got a few years until the seniors and I love playing, love my curling and this was a great weekend for me. It would probably not work out if I had to do it again.”
Eve concluded, “It was a strong field here and I know there were a lot of points available for the tour so that’s put us up the rankings a bit.
“Hopefully the top teams in the world have seen that this has been a successful event so that we can make it even bigger and better next year.”
PHOTOS TOM J BRYDONE