Friday, November 01, 2013

Curling Recaps: October 2013

So, yes...I've now been reduced to only doing one curling recap blog post a month (most months). This generally means I won't be talking about specific shots as much - as much as I'd like to talk about my hit for 3 on October 11, or my draw for 1 in the 2nd end on October 25 that kept us in the game early - but instead, just general stuff. And hey, at least I remembered to note all of the end-by-end scores this month!

Career game #231: 2013 Fall Friday League - October 4, 2013

End........... 123456 |TTL
Foulger....... 100000 | 01
Allen......... 022132 | 10

Career game #232: 2013 Fall Friday League - October 11, 2013

End........... 12345678 |TTL
Chick......... 22100031 | 09
Allen......... 00030200 | 05

Career game #233: 2013 Fall Friday League - October 25, 2013

End........... 12345678 |TTL
Allen......... 01403010 | 09
Witcraft...... 20020100 | 05

I think the key so far this season has been reading the ice. The ice has been pretty consistent this season, in terms of falls, speed, zamboni lines, etc. (That doesn't mean the falls have been the exact same every week; just the fact that there are falls, and that they behave somewhat similarly from week-to-week. That's been pretty consistent.) Generally, I've had a pretty good feel for the ice so far this season, much more so than normal, and as much as any season in which I've played Skip so far. (Experience really helps, too; I'm now sitting on 71 career games as a Skip on our home ice.) More importantly, my team is making a lot of shots, and we've had some fortunate bounces along the way as well (last week in particular), and so we're currently sitting at the top the table* with a 4-1 record.

(* - I've clearly been watching too much European soccer, if I'm now referring to the league standings as the "table".)

With these so-called "consistent" ice conditions, what's been the strategy? There are usually 2 or 3 "predictable lines" that we all use; some are more predictable than others. The straightest lines, if you don't place a guard on that line right away, then the proper strategy is to avoid that line completely until the very end. Put something in the house along the straight line, and the other team can hit it easily - and when they do, they might roll the shooter off of that predictable line, putting their rock on a different line that you can't get to. And then, the rest of the end, you're chasing. The October 11 game was kind of like that, because we were both thinking the same way; we were both trying the crazy, much more difficult routes into the house, all in an effort to avoid giving the other team an easy hit. That's why the 5th end was blanked, for instance.

Anyway, if you make your shots (hitting the broom is important because you don't want to be on the wrong side of the zamboni line), and the other team misses a shot or two giving you a chance to guard, then you can end up with rocks on all of the predictable lines, with guards, and then the other team won't have many options on their last shots. That's a hard setup to get, but when you do get it - once a game, if you're lucky - that's how you score 3 or 4 with these ice conditions. Or, throw one rock down the predictable line into the house, and you give the other team a opportunity for a hit-and-roll that you may never be able recover from.

We'll see how the ice conditions are this month. Will my general strategy keep working? Can we win the League Championship? Will we have to play Team Chick again in the playoffs? (Based on our October 11 game, opposing skip Brian seems to offer the perfect counter for my strategy. That, and his team is good, from top to bottom.)

Statistical notes: My current all-time record is now 135-97-1, so I'll be getting my 100th career loss sometime soon. (But hopefully not too soon.) Meanwhile, Amber's next win - which could come this weekend - will be her 100th career win; she's currently 99-83 all-time.

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