I won my curling match last night. Against a skip who usually beats me. My team had a relatively inexperienced front end (each less than 5 times out), and a decent back end - I'm a 9-year curler, my vice a 3-year curler who's pretty good. The opposing team has a lead in his first season, but almost done with it, a 2nd in his 2nd season, an experienced vice and a 5th year skip.
I won 13-0 in 6 ends. And I wasn't trying to run up the score. Here's how it happened:
Winning the toss, I took 3 in the first end. My lead put up some good guards and I was able to put three in the house.
With a takeout, I was sitting 5 in the house for the 2nd, but 1/2 the house was wide open. Val - a really nice lady who was the opposing skip - threw it through.
A couple of missed takeouts plus an overcompensated too slow last rock made it 10-0 after 3.
At this point, I told my vice that I was trying DESPERATELY to give them a point. He was unhappy with that ("if they take four, they're back in this thing."), and he was right - I do have a history, although not recent, of giving up big ends. I left them a backer to draw to.... and they peeled it out. Blank for the 4th.
Stole 2 in the 5th. Again, missed takeouts - actually, I was sitting three, but Val did clip one of mine. Unfortunately, hers rolled away. 12-0. It was at this point that 1. Val said that the 6th was their last end (8 is a normal club length for us), and 2. I noticed that Val was having a wobbly delivery. She didn't look right.
Anyway, a double takeout on their backers, and a missed takeout by them left me with 1 in the 6th, and a 13-0 final score. Handshakes, we went to the bar, no hard feelings.
Except I wasn't happy about that. It's not fun to blow someone out like that. They were a very sporting team, and four really nice individuals who were dignified in defeat. Their skip was off her game - the rest of them had some weight problems but weren't far off. Their vice was actually throwing quite well - he missed very little of what was being called.
And I wonder if the big end in the 2nd is what did them in. They missed a lot in that end, and I didn't miss anything. I've had 5- and 6-enders hung on me.... even a 7-ender once. Even if you're leading and get that hung, it's demoralizing, and can send a skip's strategy and focus into a tailspin. After the 2nd, they were focused on getting on the board. That made it really easy for me to put rocks in the house and therefore apply pressure to Val.
There was so much pressure, though, that I missed out on one of my favorite parts of the game, and that is the back-and-forth banter between skips. We had it in the 1st end, for sure. After that... well, Val's heart wasn't in it anymore.
Frankly, the match got a little boring for me. Had I kept my focus, I could have easily gotten a couple of more stones in the house in the 4th, 5th, and 6th ends. I threw my last rock in the 5th extremely light, which made it an effective guard, but it wasn't what I intended to throw. I wouldn't say that I threw my guard "on purpose." Can't call me Tony "Clutch" D'Orazio.
In the warm room, of course, it's a different story. We discussed the game, as we traditionally do at the post-match gathering, and then we went onto discussing other topics - curling in general, the Rochester job climate, etc. The blowout was quickly recorded and placed into history...
Next week, it will be another opponent. I hope I curl as well as I did last night. I hope my opponent makes it interesting.