It was invented in medieval Scotland, with the first written reference to a game with stones on ice in the records of Paisley Abbey in 1541.

In 2002, Rhona Martin's team won gold - and the hearts of a nation - at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

And now, the success of the men's team (badged as GB, but all Scots) in reaching the Sochi final on Friday will stir interest in a new generation.

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So, if you're not sure, and want to sound knowledgeable, here's a simple guide:

:: Each curling team is composed of four players - the lead, the second, the third or vice-skip and the leader, who is known as the skip.

:: The object is to push a 20-kilogram stone down a sheet of ice toward a ring of concentric circles.

:: The aim of the game is to finish each 'end' with your team's stones closer to the button than those of your opponents, as long as the stone is within six feet of the centre. Each 'end' of play normally takes about 15 minutes and there are normally 10 ends.

:: A point is awarded for each 'winning' stone.

:: At the start, the two skips stand at the far end of the ice while the two vices remain at the near end. The starting team's skip moves into the circle, known as the house, at the far end and calls for the first stone to be thrown.

:: When the stone is delivered, the player will give it either a left or right spin, causing the stone to curl in the direction of the spin. Ice conditions vary and affect the amount of curl and the effort needed.

:: While the stone is travelling, members of the team are allowed to sweep the ice in front of the stone, smoothing the surface and removing any debris in order to make the stone travel further and straighter. Such sweeping can increase the distance of a delivery by up to 15 feet.

:: When the stone stops moving, the opposing team take their turn until all the players have delivered their two rocks.

:: Players either try to place the stone as close to the centre as possible, knock an opponent's stone out of play or position their stone so that it guards the position of another stone.

:: The team with the most points at the conclusion of 10 'ends' wins. Teams can earn up to eight points in each end, but they usually score one to three points. If there is a tie, the competitors play an extra end to determine the winner.