February 23, 2008

Perth Page Playoffs

The Page 1-2 game in the Columba Cream Gold League matched Kelly Wood, Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers and Lindsay Wood against Gail Munro, Lyndsay Wilson, Karen Addison and Annie Laird. The winner would go straight to the Final. The loser would meet Edith Loudon, Mairi Milne, Katie Loudon and Judith Marshall, the winner of that game providing the other finalist. So what happened?

The linescore is here. A close, hard fought game. Kelly drew to get her two in the seventh to go 6-5 ahead. But the eighth saw the Scottish Champion trying to freeze to prevent losing a big end. She came up short, in the open, and Gail was accurate in her takeout for a big three.

Wood kept the game alive with an accurate hit in the ninth, against four, and went into the last needing to steal. And she got her chance when Gail jammed her attempted clearance of a front stone. A draw behind the guard, with another stone on the wing, and that would have put the pressure on the Munro team. But Wood put her draw well through the house, and Gail had an easy takeout for a place in the final.

Wood now has to beat Loudon to get a chance of defending her title.

The Page 1-2 game in the Bruadar Scottish Men's Championship was a David Murdoch v Warwick Smith matchup, the winner straight into the final. The loser would play the winner of the Page 3-4. That game saw Tom Brewster up against Gordon Muirhead's side, the winners of last night's tiebreaker.

Going into the Page games, CurlingZone's cumulative stats showed that the best four men's teams had indeed made it to the playoffs. Not a lot separated the teams on their form over the week at Perth. Murdoch, Graeme Connal, Peter Smith and Euan Byers headed the table with a team average of 84%, with Team Smith 83%, Team Brewster 82%, and Team Muirhead 81%. Murdoch himself was the fourth player with the best shooting percentages. Would the stats provide a pointer to what would happen today?

Here's how I saw it.

Poor sweeping judgement had Warwick turning the air blue on his first stone in the fifth end, but he made a good draw with his second for a single to trail 2-3. Murdoch blanked the six and converted in the seventh for a two and a 5-2 lead. It should have been enough! But Smith counted one in the eighth and stole one in the ninth. One up coming home, Murdoch had the chance of the game with a four foot draw, with Smith's counter at the back of the four foot. He played a howler, too heavy, it slipped past and the game was in an extra end. Then, in the eleventh, Warwick played the perfect freeze, and Murdoch ..... cleared the house. Twelth end! Last stone. This time Murdoch has to clear away a nearly frozen Smith stone, and he did so perfectly. Murdoch and team were in the final!

The linescore is here.

In the Page 3-4, Duncan Fernie was making the shots for the Muirhead team and the game was 2-2 after eight. Muirhead was forced to take a single in the ninth, but Tom Brewster, Hammy McMillan, Ron Brewster and Colin Campbell played a great 10th end, counted three and the win.

Pics later! Royal Club's Beer and Bites Players' Reception now, you wouldn't want me to miss that, would you?

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