On the men’s side, Scott Andrews, Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow and David Murdoch have been playing as a five-man team this past season. Skipping duties have been shared by Tom and David, though latterly – and certainly throughout the Scottish and World Championships, David seemed permanently to have taken over that role with Tom, for the most part at least, playing third. Those five would seem to be the obvious choices for the Olympic spots.
I hope that the announcement has only been delayed to get “two bites at the publicity cherry” rather than one; this would be a good thing for our sport. If that is the case, then I further hope that the five people involved have been tipped the wink to prevent unnecessary worries on their part. The delay in the announcement has got me worrying however that perhaps one of the places is still under discussion; this would be bad news for the player involved, but equally bad news for the team from which the fifth player would be plucked. It would have to search high and wide for a replacement to take part in the Scottish championships this year and would undoubtedly lessen their chances of ultimate success.
Which leads me neatly back to the ladies fifth player. Doubtless watchers and commentators will be looking with interest at who goes to the European championships with team Scotland (this pre-Olympics competition sees the Olympic team pre-selected). Alice Spence and Lauren Gray have both recently been involved as fifth players when Eve and her team have gone out to the World or European championships. Kelly Wood, now Canada-based has also been involved in that capacity. If either Lauren or Alice are chosen as the fifth player, this will have as much of a detrimental effect on their team’s chances in the Scottish championships as in the men’s competition.
Which (there we go again with a pronoun at the start of a paragraph!) makes me think that the fifth player will be none other than Kelly Wood. Now I know that the very thought will send lions into pigeon lofts; that there will be gnashing of teeth and that observers will fulminate.
“What is the point of spending taxpayers’ money developing talent here in the UK if we just drive a coach and horses through everything and bring in someone from outside the system as the fifth player?” they will ask. Good question, but if you are a high heid yin charged with winning medals and if that is how you know you will be judged, then as far as you are concerned, and with due respect to all, the question is massively irrelevant. They have done it before (though not, it has to be said, with conspicuous success!) and, if that’s what it takes, they will do it again.
If it were I, then I would ask Eve, Anna, Vicky, Claire and David (Hay) who they thought would fit the specialised bill of fifth player and who they would be comfortable with as part of the team and I would be guided by that. Politics should not enter it; feelings are not the issue here. At this stage of the game, it’s about giving GB the best possible chance to go out there and win a medal. Period.
Oh - and another thing. If I am right, I hope that the wink has already been tipped there as well. Get with the sit-ups, woman and get with the programme!