GOLDEN GLORY ON HOME ICE FOR DODDS & MOUAT AT WORLD MIXED DOUBLES
Bruce Mouat completed a full set of World Championship medals, while Jen Dodds claimed gold medal on her debut at the event as Scotland were crowned World Mixed Doubles Champions in Aberdeen today.
A 9-7 win over the Norwegian pairing of Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten in a tense and hard-fought final saw the match decided on a measure, with Scotland ensuring that the nation’s first World Mixed Doubles Championship medal of any colour would be gold, by the narrowest of margins.
“We were maybe scrappy for a wee while, but mixed doubles is a game that you can stay in it even if you’re down a few. We both felt like we could win it and that’s exactly what happened.”
Having played key roles in qualifying Team GB for both the men’s and mixed doubles disciplines at next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, Scotland’s first victory at World Championship in an Olympic discipline for eight years confirmed that the 26-year-old has fully established himself as a major force in the sport.
This victory at Curl Aberdeen to round off the season, continued a run that has seen him win every men’s and mixed doubles tournament he has contested on Scottish ice since the beginning of 2020, while the only event he has failed to win this season, in a run that has included victories in two Grand Slams in Canada, was that World Men’s Championship.
“This has just been an incredible season,” said Mouat.
“It’s the most bizarre season we’ve ever had, but we’ve built something pretty good out of it and I’ve had a lot of success the last two months and I can’t thank enough all the parties who have put in so much time and effort into making sure we can curl, from British Curling to UK Sport to the Scottish Institute of Sport to all the coaches and all the players as well.”
None more so, of course, than Dodds who was back in competition in Aberdeen less than a week after returning from Canada, where she had been competing in the World Women’s Championship as part of Team Muirhead, yet shook off the disappointment of their failure to reach the play-offs and any jet-lag to perform superbly all week at her first World Mixed Doubles Championship.
“I can’t believe it. We knew that was going to be a really close final. They’re a really great team, so we knew it would go down to the wire. Early on I didn’t have my best game, so we just hung on in there and then at the seventh end taking three in our Powerplay was massive.
“It was almost a wee bit of a momentum swing for the eighth end and Bruce just set up the angles great at the last end and I just had to put a guard up. She was so close to making that last shot, but luckily it was us that came out winning.”
As has been the norm all week, the Scots won the draw shot challenge to start with the hammer and they made another solid start, scoring two at the opening end, but they fell behind when their opponents made even better of use of last stone advantage at the second end to move 3-2 in front.
When the Scots were then forced at the third, the Norwegians held the initiative and made it count as they scored two at the fourth to move 5-3 in front at the halfway stage.
“We just needed to make sure we could change the tide a bit,” said Mouat.
“They were playing really well in the first half, not giving us many options and we had some really nice taps that we played in the fifth end that set up the two with an outside chance at three as well, so we had the momentum going with us in that second half and managed to build on it.”
The scores were levelled again when the Scots took two at the fifth, but Norway took their Powerplay at the sixth, allowing them to re-establish a two-shot advantage ahead of what proved to be the crucial seventh end.
This time the Scots used their Powerplay and a couple of rare Norwegian mistakes, allied to some excellent shot placement by Mouat, set up a straightforward hit and stick for Dodds to register the three that moved them in front going to the last.
“You have such a better chance when you are up going into the last end up rather than peels, so generating that three was massive,” Dodds observed.
There was still a lot of work to be done to prevent their opponents from scoring the two that would win the match, but Mouat again got the better of Nedregotten as they sought to gain the upper hand in positioning stones around the button and after Dodds guarded the only clear route into the head with her final stone, Skaslien was left only with a high tariff raise double take out to claim the win.
She produced yet another excellent effort which scattered the stones and when they settled, with the button cleared, the measuring stick came out but it was the red Scottish stone that, by millimetres, was the closer of the two that had finished biting the edge of the four foot.
The week had begun with the Scots in no doubt that their first priority was to secure that Winter Olympic spot for Team GB and they will now switch focus to trying to ensure that they will be the pair chosen to make that trip.
“Hopefully Beijing is a goal for us,” said Dodds.
“Obviously, it will come down to selectors. This doesn’t guarantee our spot, but it puts us in a really strong position for it.
“We’ve just had a great week together, just enjoyed it so much and had fun. We don’t get sick of each other, or at least I don’t get sick of Bruce. It’s so much fun playing with him and we’ve just had a really good week.”
Mouat had been due to lead his men’s team into World Championship action on home ice last year when the curling calendar was wiped out as a result of the COVID pandemic and the resultant lockdown, but has now fully made up for that disappointment on a personal level
“Winning this in Scotland was something I’ll remember for a long time,” he said.
“It’s just a shame that we didn’t have friends and family here, because we just obviously miss them and we’ll have a celebration with them at some point. It would have been really nice, but a World Championship in Scotland is still so special.”
Scotland Schedule :
Monday 17 May
Scotland v Italy 7-4
Tuesday 18 May
Scotland v Australia 9-5
Scotland v Spain 9-1
Wednesday 19 May
Scotland v RCF 6-7
Scotland v Czech Republic 7-5
Thursday 20 May
Scotland v Germany 7-5
Scotland v Canada 8-5
Friday 21 May
Scotland v Korea 9-1
Scotland v Hungary 7-4
Saturday 22 May
Qualification games – 10.00am
Canada v Switzerland 7-6
Norway v Italy 7-5
Semi final session 1
Norway v Sweden 7-6
Semi final session 2
Scotland v Canada 7-4
Sunday 23 May
Bronze medal game
Sweden v Canada 7-4
Gold medal game 3.00pm
Scotland v Norway 9-7
*Broadcast games - https://www.youtube.com/c/WorldCurlingTV
Photos: WCF/Celine Stucki