Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Curling Recap: 3/15-3/17/13

A two-game weekend!

Career game #214: 2013 Winter League - March 15, 2013

End........... 12345678 |TTL
Scott......... 2010200i | 05
Allen......... 0202022i | 08

(The 'i' means we started, but did not finish, the end. At the point we stopped, there were no rocks in the house, so it didn't affect the scoring.)

This was a pretty big game in terms of the league standings - pretty much a "must win" to keep our championship hopes alive. So, yay!

I said last week that I've had a lot of success against opposing Skip Keith, even though he's one of our club's best Skips. This might just be one of those cases where my typical strategy "matches up well" with his. I like throwing guards once we get a rock (even just one rock) in good position, and Keith rarely tries to get rid of guards (instead opting for another route into the house, or a raise opportunity), so once we get a rock with cover, we're all set. But, I don't know. It's probably just one of those statistical noise things. (As in, out of all the Skips in our club, you'd expect me to do well against one and not well against another, for no reason at all other than luck.)

Really, though, this is the kind of thing that decides these games anymore. This was a key shot, made by my Vice (our team's usual Second) Steve in the 7th end, which ultimately gave us our two points: (our team = red)

Just like on the previous Friday, there was a zamboni-induced ridge in the ice that rocks would "bounce" off of. If your shot "bounces" in the right place, and the right amount, you're golden! I haven't quite figured out how to get the bounces to happen the right way yet (it's weight-dependent as much as it is line-dependent), other than "try it and hope for the best". Last week, our opponent got the best bounces; this week, we got the best bounces. (Not to say the shot diagrammed above was entirely lucky; the weight had to be right, too.) And that's good, because my draw weight wasn't there this week like I had been the last few weeks, stopwatch or not.

I also made a rare appearance in the Sunday League and played Lead on Amber's team this weekend:

Career game #215: 2013 Winter League (Sunday) - March 17, 2013
(our team: Kato; not really sure about the end-by-end scores)

End........... 1234567 |TTL
Scheck........ 2021011 | 07
Kato.......... 0200100 | 03

I pay less attention to strategy (and the scoreline) when I'm not Skip or Vice, so no strategy discussion here. Instead: how much difference does the Lead make in our games?

Well, the Lead can always make a difference, but it also depends on ice conditions. With "non-take-out-friendly" ice, the Lead can make a huge difference if (s)he puts a rock or two in the house, because often times, that rock will remain for the rest of the end. With take-out-friendly ice, the Lead is slightly less important because his/her rocks aren't as likely to last the entire end, but can still set up the rest of the end with a good guard or two and/or force the opponent's hand. But I think the Lead's job is even more crucial on dedicated curling ice, because whether you get your guards in play while the "free guard zone" is in effect will completely change the end.

So, I just concentrated on my weight here, and I think I did okay, although not good enough to make a real impact on the game. I honestly paid very little attention to whether I was "on the broom" or not. (That's important, too, but when you're the Lead, weight is far more important.) My all-time record in games as a Lead is now 10-7 (59%), which is about the same as my overall winning percentage (57%), for what it's worth.

The club takes the next two weekends off, so no more curling until the first weekend of April. Until then, I'll just watch other people curl. Seriously, mostly thanks to the Universal Sports Network (DirecTV 625), which aired two games from U.S. Nationals and is airing multiple games from the Women's World Championships this week, there has been more live curling on American television this year than ever before outside of the Olympics, which is a great trend!

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