Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kevin’s Conundrum

A special report to The Curling News from the Rock the Ralph with CurlingZone Blog

by Gerry Geurts

It seems that Kevin Martin hasn’t vanquished his demons yet, though that loss in the Page 1 vs 2 game to Scotland’s David Murdoch might have helped to keep his mind on the task at hand. A win last night would have left Kevin 36 hours before the final to overthink, and allow the doubts to creep into his mind.

Many of you may know Peter Smith, second on the Scottish team, a man who has been a big part of Kevin’s problems. Smith was part of the Scottish team skipped by Douglas Dryburgh that defeated Kevin in the 1986 World Junior final, and he was also a member of the 1991 Scottish World Championship team, skipped by David Smith, which knocked off Kevin in that final as well.

There’s plenty of history as three members of that team are part of this year’s Scottish contingent. Third Graeme Connal was then throwing third stones for Smith, with Peter at second, and current team coach David Hay threw lead stones.

Martin, trailing the Scottish team in the round robin by a few points at the halfway mark, pulled out a corn broom to give the ice some more, er, character. A move not considered ethical by many... and the Scots had problems and ended up losing the game.

The expected rematch took place in the final, and yet again the Scots took the early advantage and Kevin pulled out the old straw. The Canadian crowd – a Winnipeg crowd – was not appreciative of this move, and booed loudly in response.

But the Scots had learned from this move, and with some help from some Canadian compatriots, they were prepared with hog hair brushes from a local curling shop to counteract the sticky corn all over the ice. Scotland went on to prevail, and the second chink in Kevin’s armour was in place.

It’s going to be another historic final. Martin and his men looked to be on a mission in dispatching Norway in the semi, and overall the squad is looking much more focussed and composed.

But when Kevin Martin gets into the hack to throw his last stone, what thoughts will be going through his head?


Bob Cowan said...

Dearie me Gerry

Get your fact rights right! Not the accuracy I would expect from the author of the Black Book of Curling. Too much time in the Broken Broom lounge and not enought time studying the records methinks!

In 1986, in Dartmouth, Peter Smith played second in the team skipped by David Aitken, with Robin Halliday at third and Harry Reilly at lead. Aitken's team did indeed beat Kevin Martin in the final.

Douglas Dryburgh skipped the Scottish team the following year. Peter was not in this team.

TCN said...

That might be an editing mistake, Bob, so let's give Gerry a chance to get his head out of a Taco In A Bag (A Dakota specialty) before we issue a scolding, eh?

And indeed, let's not forget David Aitken... Dryburgh got more press for his win, so he doesn't need any more!