Monday, April 13, 2009

Missing in Curling

I was once sparing in a club game, and yes, I recall it this vividly. They accidentally threw their first through, so we called a corner guard. It slipped in the rings, and they thoughtfully flashed it. So, we’re sitting one on the wing, and throwing. The skip called to split the rings.

I let it be, it was after all, a club game, but this is an example of getting silly because of misses. A better call in this situation is to throw a guard on your own rock. Some people will play that. Most though, will split the rings and play the rest of the end for a deuce.

I bring all of this up because it occurred to me that if Peter Smith makes either one of his draws in the tenth end of the World Curling Final, Kevin Martin might win.

Peter missed just enough though. He chapped off on his first, and tickled a guard on his second. One might score both shots a 3, maybe even a two on his first. But in hindsight, I would give them both a 5. They took the double peel out of Marc Kennedy’s hands. Marc Kennedy, the guy throwing 93%, who makes double peels leaving the driveway in the morning just because he can, throws two hack weight hit and rolls in the tenth end of the World Championship with the score tied.

If that’s not the perfect example of a miss making you lost your mind, I’m not sure what is.

This is how you play the tenth end. They throw a center guard. You try the tick (or go top eight). They throw another center guard, you try the tick, or go top eight depending on what happened on leads first (ie, make the tick, and you tick again. Miss it, and you go top eight).

Regardless, they come around. And you double peel, since your second happens to be Marc Kennedy, a decent thrower of the rock who rarely if ever misses.

That’s how it’s drawn up. It changes because Peter Smith misses tantalizingly enough. He doesn’t miss so bad that peeling the guards is the only shot. And he doesn’t make it well enough so that peeling the guards is the only shot. Think about it: if he locks the rock on his first one, the double peel is the only call.

He missed just enough to get KMart thinking about, what? About going for the win on second’s rocks? No, he misses just enough to throw the script out the window. To generate a new, entirely baffling script that sees Martin toss a rock away, lest he lost the game right there, on his first rock.

Funny how a miss turns an end.

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1 comment:

nocurling said...

good point, matt. while everyone debates kmart's first rock, no one is looking at the early part of the end, which DIDN'T go as scripted. and i'd much rather have marc kennedy throwing the dbl peel than johnny mo. marc is way more accurate.

maybe only front-enders notice things like this...

iceless in olympia.