Monday, April 26, 2010

Curling Recap: 4/22-4/25/10

We're now in week three of our 8 games in 4 weeks stretch. You'd think that at this point, we probably know what we're doing, right? Especially considering that Amber and I are curling as frequently as anyone else in the Triangle Curling Club is right now?

Thursday, April 22nd

End.......... 12345678 |TTL
---------------------------
Mitchell..... 10000000 | 01
Allen........ 01122122 | 11

First, a little background: the Thursday games are one-time "pick-up" games only. This particular session featured 8 regular skips (including me - I'm now considered a regular skip, ha!), 23 brand-new (or almost brand-new) curlers, and...Amber. So, whichever team Amber played on would have a distinct advantage. Amber's team would have two experienced curlers, while the other team would only have one. And, of course, I was able to play with Amber. Combine that with the fact that I've been curling almost nonstop the last four weeks, while opposing skip Sue hasn't curled with the Triangle Curling Club since January, and, well...

A word about Sue: she's the club president, and has been doing a lot of behind the scenes work the last few months promoting the club before, during, and after the Olympics. She's also been helping newly formed curling clubs in Charlotte, Richmond, and Greenville, SC get up and running. Meanwhile, she basically "took one for the team" and sat out the club's Spring Leagues so that another new curler could join. So, I feel kind of bad, especially since I kind of ran up the score...but hey, at least she got a free beer out of it. Her teammates did, too, and despite my team's best efforts to ruin it for them, they had a great time. These pick-up games are much more about growing the club's membership than they are winning and losing.

I think this box score, and the Sunday box score, reveal something about my strategy. Between these two games, my teams scored in 12 out of 16 ends, but not once did we score more than two at a time. Without even realizing it, my general strategy is apparently to get in position to score two, then once I have position, guard the heck out of it. That strategy seems to be working out pretty well, at least lately. I'm almost afraid to mention this out of fear that it will jinx us, but through Sunday, I've won 8 out of my last 9 games as skip, and my all-time record as skip is now 10-4. There is a perfectly good explanation for that, of course: Amber has been on my team for all 10 of those wins.

Sunday, April 25th

End.......... 12345678 |TTL
---------------------------
Wallace...... 10000104 | 06
Allen........ 02121010 | 07

I don't have any awesome shots to diagram this week. Just numbers and strategy discussion. Yeah, I know...booooring.

But before I get to the numbers, I'm going to talk the strategy in the 8th and final end. How did they end up scoring four? Simple, really. We had a five-point lead going into the 8th end, and I started out by calling take-outs, in order to "run them out of rocks". Once it became mathematically impossible for the other team to score five (i.e. we had removed four of their rocks from play), then I started playing it as if it were a normal end, meaning I quit the take-outs and started trying to draw into the house. From that point on, we missed our draws, and they hit pretty much all of theirs. End result: four. By calling more take-outs, I could have easily cut them down to two or at most three, but once the game was basically "over", I quit playing the scoreboard. We could have used some of those points, too. We may need them if the league championship comes down to the point differential tie-breaker. Oh well.

Now, the shot percentages:

--Team Allen--
Sherri F.: 40% (40% on 10 draws, no take-outs)*
Tabby V.: 24% (24% on 19 draws, no take-outs)
Amber Allen: 50% (52% on 13 draws, 46% on 6 take-outs)
Chris Allen: 38% (33% on 15 draws, 100% on 1 take-out)
Team total: 38% (36% on 57 draws, 54% on 7 take-outs)

(* - Sherri had to leave after the 5th end.)

--Team Wallace--
Patrick D.: 41% (54% on 12 draws, 0% on 4 take-outs)
Matthew P.: 42% (50% on 11 draws, 25% on 5 take-outs)
Mark F.: 17% (20% on 11 draws, 10% on 5 take-outs)
Rich Wallace: 45% (48% on 10 draws, 42% on 6 take-outs)
Team total: 36% (43% on 44 draws, 21% on 20 take-outs)

Game total: 37% (39% on 101 draws, 30% on 27 take-outs)

I know having these game stats is awesome, but once Cliff's shoulder is ready, you had better believe he's not going to be sitting on the sidelines anymore. So, enjoy the numbers while you can.

The percentages between the two teams were pretty close, but they did reveal a couple of things - for one, strategy. My strategy is typically to throw a minimal number of take-outs, especially considering that this game was played on the sheet where take-outs are most difficult, the notoriously slanted "Sheet 1". During the game, it felt like I was calling a lot of take-outs, but I only ended up calling 7 the entire game. I guess it just seemed like a lot because almost always, Amber was the one throwing them. But Team Wallace attempted almost three times as many take-outs as my team did.

Also...Amber cracked the elusive 50% barrier. Woohoo! She's the first 50% curler we've had in the four games scored by Cliff or me. The overall percentages were also higher than they were in the first game I scored on Sheet 1, which I attribute to this being the fourth game of the season. The first game I scored was the season opener, and for the players involved was either their first full-length curling game ever, or their first full-length game in two months.

So...what's this league championship I talked about? Well, if we win next Sunday's game, our team wins the Sunday League championship. Even if we lose by one, we still win the championship. (If we lose by two, we don't.) No pressure or anything, right, Chris? This is just curling, after all. Let's not take any of this too seriously.

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