Curling: Crowds turn out for Martin victory

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Rhona Martin's Greenacres team overcame some initial setbacks to keep their unbeaten run intact at the Scottish National Championships at Braehead Arena in Glasgow yesterday. The Olympic champion's team beat Rachael Simms' Scottish junior bronze medallists Lockerbie 7-5.

Simms' team, in the Golden League for the first time this year, lost their first five matches back in November and are bottom of the table. But they went on ice yesterday with three straight wins behind them, including a 12-2 victory over the Nagano Olympian, Edith Loudon, and her team.

The Lockerbie No 3 Victoria Sloan, who put in several good draws, said: "It's nice to come here and play well, especially in front of all these people."

Martin, whose side did not guarantee victory until the final end, added: "They played well, we had to concentrate. It would have been easy for them to take a big end."

Late on Wednesday, Martin's team had made it a fourth win out of four when they beat the Aberdeen team, skippered by Jackie Lockhart, 12-6.

Martin went on ice expecting a tough contest as last year Lockhart, also a Nagano Olympian, had beaten her in the Scottish semi-finals.

For the other teams in the round-robin competition, the winners of which will represent Scotland in the World Championships in North Dakota later this year, the spotlight on their sport is unusual and welcome.

Alison Kinghorn, skip of the Inverness team, said: "It was nice to get on the ice against the Olympic champions but we just had to worry about ourselves. A couple of weeks ago we were all sitting around the television hardly daring to watch, it was so nerve-racking.

"We were cheering Rhona's team on all the way and we're so proud of them. They've done an amazing amount for the sport."