JACKSON WINS FIRST SCOTTISH CHAMPS FINAL
Skip Sophie Jackson led her team to victory at the Scottish Curling Championships in Perth beating seven time former champion Eve Muirhead 11-7 in the final.
Jackson’s former world junior silver medallists had beaten Team Muirhead twice before in the round robin stage of the women’s tournament and claimed a further win at the third time of asking to take the title for the first time.
Having reached the final last year at the championships, skip Jackson was delighted to have gone one better this year, as well as claiming her first wins ever against the top ranked women’s team in the tournament.
Jackson said: “It feels absolutely unreal. It’s not really sunk in, I’m just feeling really smiley and we’re really glad to have finished off a good week on a high.
“We’d never actually beaten Eve before this week. Beating her in the round-robin matches gave us confidence, but we still knew it was going to be a tough game in the final and we would have to play our best, but it’s better going in there knowing you can beat her than not having done so.”
Despite claiming a psychological advantage from two victories ahead of the final, Jackson conceded that she had mixed feelings about the third encounter against the more experienced skip who was targeting her eighth title in the championships.
“It kind of works both ways. You do have in your mind that you’re going to struggle to beat Eve three times in a row with all the things she’s done and she’s a very experienced skip, but beating her twice gave us a bit more confidence.
“Eve’s team have always been right up there. We all aspire to be as good as her and hopefully we’re going in the right direction now. We know now that we can play against the likes of Eve. We’ve had good games against other teams at the same level on tour, so it really gives us a bit of belief and it’s unbelievable. You always dream of winning the Scottish,” she said.
Team Jackson, Scottish junior champions in 2016 and 2017 gained the upper hand in the final after claiming a five in the eighth end to open up their lead, however Jackson said that even at that stage they never underestimated their opponents.
“We always knew they were going to come back fighting (after they opened up five shot lead) and with this new five rock rule you can easily lose a three or a four if you miss a shot, so we still knew we had to play well. We had a couple of slack shots but still managed to pull it off,” said Jackson.
Eve Muirhead, skipping a new line-up this year as well as returning to the game after hip surgery following representation at the 2018 Winter Olympics admitted it had been a challenging week.
“It’s been a really tough week. We never seemed to get our rhythm going. I was pretty confident going into the final and we had a really great first half of the game, but I missed a shot at the eighth end and I’m not saying that cost us the five, but it didn’t help matters. Obviously there’s half shots during the end, but when you’re a skip you always think about your own shots that you miss. Sophie played well all week though and they deserved to win that one.
“She beat us in the round-robin and it’s not like us that much to drop games like that during the round-robin, but we have to remember that we are a brand new team, this is our first season and I’m just back off surgery, so there’s been a lot going on. We’ve got to remember to put everything into perspective.
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Coach: Glenn Howard
Coach: Tom Brewster
Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.