Rebecca Morrison and her team will be gutted to miss out on the medal play-offs at the European Curling Championships but hopefully that will quickly pass and it won’t be too long until they take encouragement from the bigger picture.
Not only is the tournament on Scottish ice, it’s being contested in Rebecca’s home city of Aberdeen.
That just magnifies the motivation to do well – and the feeling of disappointment when you don’t achieve what you’ve set out to.
My big ‘home’ one was the World Juniors in Perth all those years ago, when I was going for a record fourth gold.
It was the cocktail of pressure, excitement and opportunity that you’d imagine.
Listening to the Scottish girls, they were pretty clear that they had their sights set on matching or even improving on last year’s bronze.
That’s a sign of progress in itself.
They were certainly capable of getting into the top four.
They had some really impressive games and their overall numbers were where they would have wanted to be.
Double? Made! ✅ Some heavy brush work along the way, but Rebecca Morrison's 🏴 hit lands perfectly to roll over with enough force.
— World Curling (@worldcurling) November 21, 2023
They’re not far away from being a top team.
I certainly think they’ve progressed since their bronze.
It’s just a few shots here and there that cost them over the course of the week.
The front end of the team, in particular, has been very strong.
A record of five wins and four losses was enough to get them through 12 months ago but not this time.
You’re always looking for a minimum of six and three in the round robin.
The big positive is they’ve qualified Scotland for the World Championships.
I never took that for granted in all my years of competing in the Euros and I’m sure the girls didn’t either.
It will be interesting to see how the team develops.
They’ve gone with a five-person team all season and were swapping their second player over the course of the week – Gina Aitken and Sophie Sinclair.
This is the time to do it and I’m sure the coaches will be taking a detailed look at individual numbers, not just this week, but over the course of the year.
They’ll be trying to figure out the strongest combination.
You do see rotation a bit more than you used to in the women’s game.
Italy, Germany and Denmark have done it as well.
Given the success we had in our Olympic gold year, it’s something that British Curling have got a history of success with.
It could turn out to be a key part of the process on the road to the next Games.
And I’m optimistic Team Morrison will end up viewing this week as a step forward rather than back.
Aberdeen has put on a great event.
All the chat in the curling world has been really positive.
The ice conditions have been perfect.
Tom Brewster is the ice technician and for him to turn a club environment into a major arena-type one has been a brilliant job.
There’s no sign of the ice deteriorating.
The weekend is sold out, which is exactly what you want to hear.
The spectators will be hoping for a Scotland v Italy final in the men’s.
That was my prediction at the start and I’m not changing my mind.
It just feathers the top one, but Bruce Mouat 🏴 puts his draw in the perfect place with his last stone!
— World Curling (@worldcurling) November 22, 2023
Italy have topped the round robin but Bruce Mouat and the Scottish boys have shown their very best form at times as well.
The reigning World Champions against the favourites and winners of the last two Grand Slams would be a fitting conclusion to a great week for curling in Scotland.