Just for the fun of it, I am totally going to geek out on curling, because we had a great game at the Royal City club on Tuesday, and I can. None of this is going to make any sense to my friends that don’t curl, but part of what I love about the game is the language – because everything below makes perfect sense to anyone who has spent any time in a curling rink. The Roarin’ Game has its own Language.
1st end: We lost the flip, as per usual, but Byron put his first rock 6’ short on the line, and buried his second on the top of the 4, and we were set up. Then we let the end get away from us after they made a nice corner freeze on the counter and we failed to stick the freeze on the other side. They peeled to open it up, And it turned into a peel game. However, his last overturned to the nose and stuck around, forcing the point.
2nd end: He put his first draw top 12, and the hit game commenced. It was real Ryan vs. Lukowich time, trading rolls, making most. Ice was pretty straight for the outside-in game with hit weight, but turned an easy 3 feet off the line with anything around control weight: all predictable. He rolled his last shot out, and we decided to draw and take one instead of the strategic blank (it was an even end, and I needed to practice my draw after playing in Seattle all weekend).
3rd end: We put up a corner guard, then they put one up on centre, so we went behind the corner. They drew in the middle and we followed, but their down-weight hit and flop worked. With things building up behind the guard but in front of the T, we needed to switch up and open things. Our semi-peel perfectly caught one of the counters. After a few traded hits, we ended up sitting two and he was forced to take one facing two of ours.
4th end: With the hammer, we decided to plug it up a bit to see if we could get some action, and I think he had the same idea. When one of his guards came up heavy and almost froze his counter in the top of the 4, he was all of the sudden sitting 1st and 2nd in the 4, us sitting 3rd at the back of the 4, and him 4th at the back of the 12 (we had flob way over in the wings). Ward threw a great across-the face peel on the two counters- he needed to get across the face with pretty big weight to keep the drag from jamming on our 3rd rock, and he dragged it perfectly to pick out their third rock and preserve the shooter- a beauty triple, and all of the sudden we are sitting 3 with skips rocks to come. He hits and rolls, I hit and roll, his hit and roll ends up not frozen to our counter at the back of the 12, but overlapping enough that I need a delicate angle to pick him and stick for three. Even the jam miss still scores two. What doesn’t score three or two is me coming out inside and light, curling across the face, and jamming him into our back rock. We take one. Half way done, we are all tied up.
5th end: Rolls were definitely going our way here. They decided to push the matter and score this end, but we were making our draws. At some point he needed to clear off some front rocks to give himself a route in. By the time I threw my last, we had one just biting the top of the 4 half covered, and a couple of other counters in front of the T. The 4 foot was covered on the in turn side, all I had to do was jam up the port on the outturn side and he was going to have a hard time cutting us to 1. Being a greedy guy, I figured: put it in the 8 foot for a second counter, and he would have a hard time keeping us to 2. Of course, I was about a foot long in my guard, so the nose hit cut us to 1, and he made it. Still, it was a steal, which at this point is the first skin of the game.
6th end: Our first rock slid into the house, and they hit it, so off we go to the hit game again. We traded misses at one point, and we traded picks at one point (oh, oh- pebble is starting to go away) but it was a basic split-house draw and chase where I was never able to get the roll I needed to close the gap. They had an opportunity to hit and stick for two, but overturned on (previously) straight piece of ice, and couldn’t save the shooter. Another single, and tied again.
7th end: this is where the wheels fell off of our bus. Like the 5th where we were getting the draws and rolls, here in the 5th they got the rolls and skinny come-arounds, we got the racks and the wrecks. At one point we were looking at 4 of their rocks in the house, and none of ours. We managed to keep the guards off and had a control-weight nose hit on the counter to score single and get out of the end. Thank you Mr. Hammer.
8th end: We are one up without coming home, they of course are one down with. We need to steal, they need multiples, so the guards go up early. Ice is getting straighter as the pebble goes away, so the come-arounds aren’t burying. We managed to get Ward’s last rock biting the top corner of the button and ¾ buried, and their attempt to extract it with hack or backline just hung too long, actually pushing us over a foot- dead buried covering the pin. We had a counter at the side, so they need to remove it and stick around. They had two fairly long angle run-backs, I had to throw two guards. My guard of the outturn draw (which was probably just there) picked or overturned, and didn’t do much to make his life any more difficult. He threw the inturn run-back and missed wide, but taking off the guard, giving himself a route in to the button. My attempt to guard that port failed to turn enough to close the port, and he drew through it perfect, just pushing us off the button without a roll. Tied up.
Tie break is a turkey shoot: one rock each, closest to the button. Having just thrown the button draw, he did it again, stopping full 4. Having just missed two guards, I threw too deep, back 8, and we shook hands. We had three chances to take control of the game: my last shots in the 4th, 5th, and 8th. Those seem to overshadow his missed deuce in 6th or my game-saving hit and stick in 7th.
Thankless life of the skip.