April 12, 2009
On the final day of the 50th anniversary celebration of the world men’s curling championship, Scotland’s David Murdoch reclaimed the 2009 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship trophy with a stunning 7-6 stolen victory over hosts Canada.
Murdoch and veteran teammates Ewan MacDonald, Peter Smith and Euan Byers avenged their loss to Canada’s Kevin Martin at last year’s worlds in Grand Forks, USA and captured their second title after winning gold at Lowell, USA in 2006.
Martin and teammates John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert were attempting to become the first foursome to win back-to-back world championships since fellow Canadians and arch-rivals from their hometown, the Randy Ferbey team, turned the trick in 2002 and 2003.
The game started fast with deuces from Scotland and Canada. Martin then gained the advantage by holding the Scots to a single in the third and claiming a second deuce for a 4-3 lead.
Murdoch, also a two-time world silver medallist, two-time world junior champion and the two-time defending European champion, then swapped singles with the Canadians but suffered a setback in the eighth end, when his draw for one slipped too far.
Canada stole a point for a critical 6-4 lead.
But the Scots would not be counted out. Murdoch wrangled another deuce of his own and squared the affair at 6-6 coming home.
With two Scottish guards high above the house in the 10th end, Martin continued piling granite into the rings. By the time the Canadians peeled both guards away, both teams had three of their own stones in play. Canada lay first, third and fifth.
“Right now, if I don't shoot, what does he do?” Martin asked coach Jules Owchar during a time out.
Indeed, Martin then stunned the crowd by throwing his first stone away.
After fairly brief Scottish discussions, Murdoch threw his final steal attempt, promoting one of his stones to lie counting one, near-frozen to a Canadian stone.
Martin reared back, fired a bullet and missed, jamming his short raise attempt too full onto the Scottish counter.
Scottish third MacDonald leapt across the ice into his skip’s arms, touching off a wild celebration.
“Unbelievable,” gasped MacDonald, who also won the world championship with skip Hammy McMillan at nearby Saint John, New Brunswick in 1999.
“We beat these guys three times in three days, but that’s what we train for.
“It's absolutely unbelievable.”
When the smoke of his final attempt had cleared, Martin gave a wry smile and looked skyward.
Already a multiple silver medallist throughout his career, Martin still wore that smile in his post-game interview.
“Aw, I had to hit my last one a little thicker,” said Martin.
“But they made the shots and got us in big trouble.”
Canada outshot Scotland in team shooting percentage, 90 to 85, but Murdoch just shaded Martin in personal shooting, 91 per cent to 89 per cent.
The victory was Murdoch’s third consecutive decision over the Canadians, including Thursday’s conclusion to the round robin and Friday’s 1 versus 2 playoff game.
Murdoch is a fully-funded, full-time curling athlete who has been training specifically to achieve peak performance at next February’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
“Above everything else, we’re concentrating on how to beat Canada,” Murdoch admitted back in December.
“To beat them you have to be exceptional, and that’s what we're trying to be in every game.”
Bronze went to Norway and skip Thomas Ulsrud for the second year in a row and his third such honour in four years.
China skip Fengchun Wang was voted winner of the Collie Campbell Award, given by the players to the athlete who best exemplified ability and sportsmanship.
The 2009 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship was the final qualifying opportunity for Member Associations of the World Curling Federation (WCF) to secure berths into the curling competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The 50th anniversary championship confirmed Olympic berths for a variety of teams, including Denmark and Sweden, and disappointed others who failed to qualify, such as Finland and Australia.
WCTV, the television arm of the World Curling Federation, provided comprehensive, multi-game coverage across multiple platforms in Europe, North America and Asia.
2009 FORD WORLD MEN’S CURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Scotland – GOLD (David Murdoch) ----- 10-3
Canada – SILVER (Kevin Martin) ----- 11-3
Norway – BRONZE (Thomas Ulsrud) ----- 8-5
Switzerland (Ralph Stoeckli) ----- 8-6
United States (John Shuster) ----- 7-4
Germany (Andy Kapp) -----7-4
Denmark (Ulrik Schmidt) ----- 5-6
France (Thomas Dufour) -----4-7
China (Fengchun Wang) ----- 4-7
Japan (Yusuke Morozumi) ----- 3-8
Czech Republic (Jiri Snitil) ----- 3-8
Finland (Kalle Kiiskinen) ----- 1-10