Curling: Lockhart stuns champions

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The Independent Online

Rhona Martin's gold medallists lost a battle of Olympians in the Scottish Championship decider at the Brayhead Arena here, beaten by Aberdeen's Nagano Olympic finals qualifier Jackie Lockhart.

The runners-up last year, the team of Lockhart, Katrina Fairweather, Sheila Swann and Anne Laird beat Martin's Salt Lake City champions 10-5 to take the best-of-three final 2-1.

Martin proved to be uncomfortable in the role of favourite and the underdog Lockhart broke her nerve. After four rounds of cautious play it was Martin who finally gave way and went on the attack, but her final double take-out failed and Lockhart stole two shots for a 5-3 lead.

In the eighth Martin's draw was light and Lockhart stole two more, and in the ninth it was the same story as her draw hit a front guard and failed again to make its mark.

Martin decided enough was enough and shook hands. "The better team won on the day," she said.

The result means that Lockhart, the former world championship silver medallist, will now play for Scotland at the World and the European Championships.

"It's fantastic," she said. "After losing this morning I knew there was just one end in it and we could win."

Lockhart claimed Martin's Olympic success had helped everyone raise their game. "She showed it could be done," she said. "But out there today as far as we were concerned she was just another squad player."

SCOTTISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (Brayhead, Glasgow): Men's Round Robin tie-breakers: P Smith (Perth) bt P de Boer (Gogar) 7-3; Smith bt B Kelly (Gogar) 7-4. Semi-final: Smith bt D Dryburgh (Kirkcaldy) 6-4. Women's final (best of three): First leg: J Lockhart (Aberdeen) bt R Martin (Greenacres) 6-5; second leg: Martin bt Lockhart 10-5 (Martin level with Lockhart 1-1). thirrd leg: J Lockhart bt Martin 10-5 (Lockhart wins 2-1).