Murrayfield curler Bruce Mouat has been savouring the greatest achievement of his brief but brilliant career after the Napier Uni graduate beat Swedish world champion Niklas Edin in Saturday’s European Championship final in Tallinn.
Edin was chasing a record fifth European title in a row and had won all ten games in Estonia, but Mouat and his team-mates Hammy McMillan, Bobby Lammie and Grant Hardie pushed him to the limit in their round-robin meeting last Wednesday and led 8-6 before losing 9-8 at the final end.
Further disappointment loomed when they trailed 4-2 at halfway on Saturday, but twos at the sixth and eighth ends put them 6-5 ahead and this time they were determined to finish the job. An Edin miss at the final end clinched a 9-5 victory as Mouat and company pulled off the biggest win of their lives.
Last season Mouat won six titles, an historic first Grand Slam victory in Canada and a world bronze medal in Las Vegas, while Mouat had previously taken gold at the World Juniors and World Student Games, but Saturday topped the lot. Joining the celebrations were unused fifth player Ross Whyte plus coaches Alan Hannah and David Murdoch, Scotland’s last European men’s champion back in 2008.
“It’s unbelievable and pretty insane,” admitted 24-year-old Mouat. “We wanted perform at our best and we said we wanted a medal. We knew we wanted gold, but you never want to jinx it. We worked hard all week and had a bit of a blip against Russia, but apart from that we’ve been solid and I’m really proud of the guys for playing so well and digging in deep for that final.
“You can’t expect to get anything easy against a formidable team like that and we knew we would have to fight for it. The Swedes are world class and when Niklas made that angled run back and then a perfect backline tap to score a two at the fourth end, we knew he was there to play and we really had to step up our game.
“We dug in at 4-2 down and tried to show a poker face, but the nerves were definitely there! Being two-down at the break is not the greatest position to be in, but we didn’t panic and came out fighting. As soon as we came back from the fifth end break, we really started to get control, we started to see cracks appear in his gameplan and we started to believe we could win.
“We were ahead going to the last end, but we were in that position against them on Wednesday and they got us that time, so it was nice to get them back for that.
“I probably realised we had won when Edin’s last shot was halfway between the house and the hog. It was probably a bit soon to start celebrating, but you know when you know. It was a great feeling and all of us were buzzing. I’m just really proud to bring the gold medal back to Scotland. It’s been a good season and this is the cherry on top.”
Edinburgh’s Jennifer Dodds was part of Scotland’s women’s team which finished fifth-equal in Tallinn.