Curling: Team Craik delight as Scotland claim World Junior men's gold medals

Forfar curler James Craik and his team followed in Bruce Mouat's footsteps after a sensational 7-1 victory over Germany saw them strike gold at the World Junior Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden.
James Craik (far left) and his team with the World Junior Curling Championship trophy.James Craik (far left) and his team with the World Junior Curling Championship trophy.
James Craik (far left) and his team with the World Junior Curling Championship trophy.

The 20-year-old skip and his team-mates Niall Ryder, Scott Hyslop and Angus Bryce became Scotland's first world junior champions since Mouat's rink in 2016, and the Olympic silver medallist would definitely have approved as his compatriots emulated him in considerable style.

Craik and company had already beaten Benny Kapp's German quartet 6-4 in the round-robin section - which they topped with eight wins out of nine - and Sunday’s repeat victory was never in doubt as the inspired Scots all enjoyed a success rate of 83 per cent or above.

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A steal of two ensured a dream start before another two, this time on their own throw, made it 5-1 after six ends. Two more steals followed, prompting a shell-shocked Kapp to throw in the towel with two ends still to play.

Victory was particularly satisfying for Craik, who won bronze at the previous two championships and had dedicated his entire season to going two better in Jonkoping.

“It’s something I’ve thought about ever since I’ve started curling,” Craik said.

“I’ve watched people win it, the likes of Bruce Mouat when he won gold and it was such a turning point in his career. He’s just gone on from there.

“To equal his achievement at World Juniors and to be able to call myself a world champion is just crazy for me.”

Craik explained how they had turned adversity to advantage on their way to victory.

“The pick could have been a turning point at the start of the game,” he said.

“To not have a range finder and for your first stone of the world final to pick and be nowhere near wasn’t great, but we kept composed and I just trusted my own throw and managed to make that nose hit against three.

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“So as much as it hurt with the pick, to make that shot really filled me with confidence and settled any nerves that I had.”

He consequently felt the decisive moment had come with that third end steal of two.

“We made a really good hit and roll to the centre behind the four foot, to leave him with only a dead draw. He felt the nerves apparently and threw it a bit heavy, so we were really happy to force that error on him,” said Craik.

However, what pleased him most was the sustained quality of their play when it mattered most.

“It was such a clinical performance,” he added.

“All the boys played fantastic and it was very rare that Germany had a simple shot of any sort or had a chance to put us under any real pressure. It was just the perfect game for us.

“We’ve been great front-runners, so when we got that lead, even just the one shot at the first end, we were happy that they had to come to us and when we got the steal of two that really gave us the chance to start putting them to work.”



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