It was nothing out of the ordinary at the finals of the women’s’ Players’ Championship, as Eve Muirhead’s Scottish rink defeated Margaretha Sigfridsson from Sweden, 8-5, on Sunday.
This is the second time Muirhead has beaten Sigfridsson in a final this season, the other being the World Championships last month in Latvia.
“I think the Swedish girls are very consistent in the round robin stages, but I think when it comes to the playoff stages they’re a slightly different team and you can put a lot of pressure on them especially in the finals,” said the skip from Stirling, Scotland.
The team received $22,000 for winning the Players’ Championship as well as a bonus of $12,500 for coming in first in the Grand Slam points race this season.
“We have had a great season and this tops it off,” said Muirhead. “It’s tough to keep this going for the whole year and be good, but it’s just happened. I think it’s a massive confidence booster for us.”
The Scottish squad – and other European teams – differ from Canadian rinks in that they curl almost year-round, only taking a couple months off in the summer.
They are funded by the government and therefore do not have to work full-time jobs like Canadian curlers.
“Nowadays, if you want to be on the top you have to train every day and curl every day,” said the 23-year-old Muirhead. “I think this year we realized how much you have to train and practice if you want to be world champion.”
“We put in the hours and we got rewarded in the end.”
Muirhead said in order to repeat next year, the team that includes third Anna Sloan, second Vicki Adams and lead Claire Hamilton, have to work even harder in the off-season.
“We know other teams know that they have a big challenge to come close to us,” she said. “They’re going to train harder so we’re going to have to compromise and train even harder.”