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No rink quite like MacDonald's . . .

Sliding down the ice while punching the air in delight, the most decorated Scottish curler of modern times powered his way back on to the global stage with the perfect end to a near flawless week's play in the national championships in Perth last night.

Ewan MacDonald's precisely judged double take out, removing his opponents' only stones that were lying in the house, meant there was no point in Dave Edwards playing his final shot at the last end of a high quality final which he had begun trailing 6-4 at the Dewar's Centre.

Accompanied by 2010 Olympic team-mate Euan Byers - as well as first-time Scottish champions Duncan Fernie and Dave Reid - MacDonald's class had shone throughout as they reached the final with a perfect record of nine successive wins and he revelled in the experience.

"It's been a fantastic week and very different doing it as a skip with it coming down to your last couple of shots a lot of the time," he said. "There's maybe that wee bit of extra pressure but when you've got guys in front of you like that it makes a wee bit easier that's for sure."

It was a competition played against a controversial backdrop, with many in the sport angry that Scotland's Olympians were denied the chance to contest the national championships because both events took place simultaneously.

Having driven a coach and horses through the main defence of that decision - that it would allow new players to experience elite competition - three-time Olympian MacDonald, who is now heading for his ninth world championship, agreed that the rinks led by Dave Murdoch, his skip at the Olympics in Vancouver four years ago and Eve Muirhead, the current world champions, should have been there.

"I think we would have beaten anybody this week so I don't think it takes anything away from what we've done I hope. However I'd have been delighted for the guys to be here. In previous years when we played the Olympics we've come back and played the Scottish championships. My own feeling is that all the teams should be here."

MacDonald had said earlier in the week that he and Byers had stepped away from the official programme because they had too many other commitments and to that end it was interesting that in the women's event Kerry Barr's rink, another operating outside the system, were first-time title winners.

Having in the semi-final seen off one team of full-time curlers, led by Jennifer Martin - daughter of 'stone of destiny' Rhona - Barr and team-mates Barbara McPate, Rhiann Macleod and Rachael Simms out-manouevered another, Hannah Fleming's hot favourites, in yesterday's final.

"We certainly weren't favourites in everybody else's eyes, but in our eyes we knew we could do it and we were very confident going into that game," the 27-year-old Barr said after clinching a 9-3 win on the penultimate end. "We'd had two close games with Hannah already and we'd beaten her in Dumfries so we knew that we could get the result we wanted."

Barr made it clear that she had no complaints about not receiving the sort of funding that those in the national squads receive, but it was irrefutable that she had shown what can be achieved with a different philosophy.

"We didn't come out to make a statement. We can't be in the programme because we've got so many other commitments. We think that with good sponsorship and good practice and team ethics we can get there ourselves and today's proved that we can do it."

It was, in every sense, a case of doing it the hard way, too.

"On Friday I was on crutches and could barely put any weight on my leg. I fell when I was sweeping behind the tee-line and tweaked my medial ligament, but it's not bad. I'm all taped up and I've been taking lots of Ibuprofen and paracetemol so I'm feeling good now," she said gleefully.

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