Monday, November 07, 2011

Curling Recap: 11/4/11

Career game #158: 2011 Fall League - November 4, 2011

End.......... 12345678 |TTL
Allen........ 01112101 | 07
Witcraft..... 20000030 | 05

The level of play has gone up from week to week throughout the season, and that continued this week. No such trouble getting rocks into the house this week! Not by any means.

So...let's talk ice conditions. This being infamous Sheet 1, there was a bit of a fall towards the center of the rink, which meant a couple of things. 1) It was very hard to put a guard exactly where you wanted it, which meant that there was usually a draw available for the Skips. Not necessarily an easy draw, but a draw nevertheless. 2) The line was very sensitive to sweeping. In the even ends, the only way to get a rock to stay on the center line was to NOT sweep. Sweep, and the rock immediately fell victim to the fall, and your shot was doomed. It was much more finicky than normal. I must have figured that out first, because we scored in all of the even ends. Or...actually, I think we just got lucky. Unlike last week, there was some luck involved in this week's victory.

I'm only going to talk about the last two ends specifically here. In the 7th end, we had a four-point lead. I'm pretty sure I've gone on record in the past as saying that a four-point lead in the next-to-last end is TOO EARLY to be "playing the scoreboard". But I think I did do a little scoreboard-playing in this game, playing (and ultimately failing) to not give up the big end. And I wonder why so many of my games are so close! (Four of our team's five games this season have ended 7-5, with the other game being 6-5.) ... Actually, you know what, I don't think scoreboard watching was the problem. Opposing Skip Nick just made a really good double take-out of sorts for three that I didn't even think was possible. I would try to diagram it, but considering that I didn't see it coming, I can't really replicate the circumstances. Any second-guessing of my decision making in that end is purely in hindsight.

As for the 8th, one of my "pet peeves" when watching sports on television is when bad sports commentators (especially in football) talk about "momentum". One announcer will say, "Oh, Team X has all the momentum now!"...and then Team X will immediately throw an interception or something. But what about all that "momentum" they had? If Matt Millen were providing color commentary for Friday's curling game, surely he would say that Team Witcraft had "all the momentum" heading into the 8th end. Yes, some sports teams do tend to tense up when the other team mounts a comeback, but that's not "momentum". In our case, we might have tensed up a little, because at one point in the 8th end, the other team was sitting FIVE. But our Vice Cliff made the shot that saved the game, putting a rock inside the four-foot that couldn't be touched, and ended up being the winning rock.

I'm glad I didn't have to make a shot myself there, but...on the other hand, I think my draw weight was as good in this game as it's ever been. This was the first game I can remember as Skip where I had more confidence in the final-shot draw than the final-shot take-out. Confidence in your draw weight is absolutely critical when it comes to being a good Skip. Not just in your own shots, but in your teammates' shots. If I notice during a game that one of my teammates is consistently heavy with his/her shots, then I try to give him/her a take-out instead of a draw to give him/her a better chance of success, even if the draw is more strategically sound at the time. Not this week: we were all over the draws on Friday night. As a Skip, that's really nice to have. Take-outs are fun, but draws are ultimately how you win.

But the real test will be if we can carry that into next week's game against the top team in the league. See how I avoided saying "momentum" there?

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