Paterson seeking Grand Final triumph to end breakthrough year
Scottish quartet looking to end their first season together in style in Beijing
It was not long ago that Ross Paterson decided to take an 18-month sabbatical from his job as a council officer in Scotland to dedicate himself wholly to curling. It’s a decision that has paid off sensationally following his rink’s quantum leap on tour this season.
Paterson, 35, ended his 2017-2018 campaign as an alternate to Team Bruce Mouat in the World Men’s Curling Championship – winning a bronze medal - but would finish the calendar year defeating his former teammates in the first all-Scottish Grand Slam final in the Boost National.
His current team, who only came together as a unit in August, is now a mainstay on tour – competing in leg three of the Curling World Cup in Jonkoping earlier this year.
The quartet, which consists of their lead and 2014 Olympic bronze medallist, Michael Goodfellow, second Duncan Menzies and third Kyle Waddell, had a tremendous run in Sweden, winning five of their six games but eventually missing out on the final by a hair’s breadth to eventual champions, Canada’s Team Matt Dunstone.
“We had an awesome time in Sweden,” says Paterson. “It was an incredibly well-run event and a lot of fun to play in.
“We felt like we played well enough over the week to make the final but that's curling and we're looking forward to playing some great teams at the Curling World Cup Grand Final.
“We enjoy the new format. You have to think slightly differently on how you approach the last few ends of a game to give yourself the best chance of scoring maximum points. If you do that, you find yourself in a position where you control a game and walk away with one point instead of three if you don't manage the game well and then lose out on a draw shot!”
Paterson’s team train at a world-class performance facility in Stirling, Scotland, which was described by his compatriot Eve Muirhead as “unbeatable” when it opened in 2017. The building offers high-quality ice on four new sheets, real-time video capture and displays comprising multiple camera viewing angles, and even provides data on the impact of sweeping.
“So far people have said that we've had a bit of a breakthrough year, but we all believe in ourselves and are working really hard behind the scenes to get results on the ice,” insists Paterson.
“We've got a great facility back home where we do all of our on-ice training and are lucky to have access to great coaches and technology which is really benefiting all of the teams in the British Curling programme.
“We've still got a lot learning and growth to do as a team but to be where we are during our first season together is very encouraging and we'll be looking to close out the season with a big performance at the Curling World Cup Grand Final.”
Scotland’s strong performance over the three legs ensured a qualification spot for the Grand Final but it was Team Paterson who took the place, with their showing in Jonkoping accruing more points than either of Team Mouat’s efforts in the previous two legs.
Despite missing out on participating in the World’s Men Curling Championship – losing to Mouat’s foursome in the national championships – the Glasgow born-and-bred skip is relishing a shot at glory in Beijing.
“It's always a great honour to represent Scotland,” he says. “We're disappointed that we didn't make the World Championships this year so to be given the opportunity to compete at the Curling World Cup Final as Team Scotland is a fantastic feeling and we're excited to be heading to Beijing.
“I competed in a test event for the World Championships in Beijing in 2013 and myself and Michael [Goodfellow] travelled through Beijing last year en route to the Qinghai Curling Elite event. It's always exciting to travel to new places as a team though and we're looking forward to exploring Beijing!”
With up to $USD 45,000 available to the winner in the Chinese capital, Paterson admits that he has a little extra motivation heading to Beijing than before.
“The prize pot for the event is amazing and definitely and added incentive for us to perform well. I'm getting married next year too so life is expensive right now and every extra penny helps!