By Matt Hames
RAMA, Ont. – Couples wins!
In the pre-game, Wayne Middaugh called himself the Fred Couples of the Casino Rama Skins, meaning organizers invite him to Skins games regardless of his current curling record. Still, he’s proven he deserved the invite by defeating Glenn Howard in the first semi-final.
The picks helped.
Three picks in all. The first came on both of Glenn’s rocks in the sixth. That gave Middaugh a skin. Then Glenn’s first rock in seven picked, leaving a tough straight-back double for the skin. It was a makeable shot, but after three straight picks, Howard was shaken.
It’s new ice, and a new carpet, too. The rug was put down a few days ago after a Rita McNeil concert.
Perhaps Brad Gushue was being prophetic. The first part of his prediction has come through. Now he simply has to beat K-Mart.
This game had another interesting anomaly. More guys on the ice lift the rock in their backswing than don’t.
Glenn Howard, Richard Hart and Ian Tetley lift on every shot. Jon Mead and Wayne Middaugh lift on hits. Scott Bailey, and Brent and Craig don’t lift.
But if you’re counting, that’s five lifters versus five no-lifters. And these days, it’s not often you see that.
You won’t at tonight’s second semi-final game. Both skips are no-lifters. In fact, Martin is one of the most famous of the no-lifters, given his shocking ability to throw massive hit weight with mere leg drive.
Enjoy it while it lasts. Because we think it will be a rarity to see more lifters than no-lifters.