Scottish national teams are going to experience what most teams never will; they will be playing the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships on home soil. For the skip of the women’s team, Rebecca Morrison, it feels even more special as the Aberdeen Curling Club (where the A-Division will be playing) is her home club.
“Curl Aberdeen is somewhere I am extremely familiar with and have spent a lot of time at. So, it will be great to feel just at home, and I cannot wait to have both family and friends able to visit to cheer us on,” explains Morrison.
Curl Aberdeen is not an unfamiliar place to top level curlers as it has hosted the World Mixed Championship earlier this season and the World Mixed Doubles Championship two years ago.
Both teams were selected to represent Scotland at the European championships a few weeks before the event. The selection process is primarily based on teams’ performance and their experience.
“Our team was selected by a board, and they consider many factors which heavily consider our results from the season so far. We have had a really strong start to the season with our new rotating line up and we put in a good performance to get to this championship,” says Morrison.
Both Scottish squads have already spent multiple seasons together, but this will be their first European championship at home. Aberdeen and Perth will be the two cities where it all happens: A-Division teams will be playing in Aberdeen and Perth will host the B-Division.
More medals in sight
Team Morrison won a bronze medal at last year’s European’s in Oestersund, Sweden, which was also their debut at this event. Their goal for this year is to reach the podium again. However, they remain humble and highlight the fact that many top European teams are now also very high in the world ranking: “The standard in Europe is amazing at the moment with so many teams at the Euros currently being in the world top 15, so we know it’s going to be a challenging week. But equally, if we bring our A-game, there is no one out there we cannot beat.”
On the men’s side, Team Mouat wants to reach the podium as well, after two gold medals from the last two European championships.
“We would definitely like to medal again. As a team, we have been to three ECCs in total, and we have always won it. We would love to do it at a home championship with our families and friends watching us,” says the skip, Olympic silver medallist and current world champion, Bruce Mouat.
Last year’s European bronze medal has been the women’s team’s biggest achievement so far, according to Morrison. However, she also considers their first attendance at the Grand Slam as a big success: “At the moment, the most memorable achievement for our team is the bronze we got at the Europeans last year. However, more recently we are very excited to have gotten into the Grand Slams and had the chance to play our first one last month. It was a great experience for us.”
The squad played at the world championship last season in Sandviken, Sweden where they won three games.
For team Mouat, reaching the Olympic final has been the peak of their performance: “Getting a silver medal at the Olympics was amazing, and we played the best curling we have played so far. It would have been great to get a gold medal, but we still consider it the biggest success for us.”
The team has represented Scotland in three world championships where they always reached the podium. Bruce Mouat has also won the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in 2021 with Jennifer Dodds, currently the vice-skip for team Morrison.
The players of the Scottish national teams are all professional curlers. They have multiple training sessions every day, and they travel and play multiple times every month.
“We are in the very fortunate position that we are all full-time athletes and get to give as much time as we want to ourtraining. British Curling and UK Sport give us as much support as they can in so many ways so that this is possible,” says Morrison.
“Hammy [McMillan] still has a part-time job. Me and Bobby [Lammie] and Grant [Hardie] have graduated university. Other than that, we all train five days a week. We have three sessions a day, two sessions on ice and then coach helps us out in the gym, where we do both strength and conditioning work,” adds Mouat.
Follow the results of the Scottish teams this week in Aberdeen by watching their games here.
Written by Feature Writer, Anna Kubeskova
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