CURLER Bruce Mouat needs a trick from his magic hat to rubber-stamp a shot at an Olympic mixed doubles medal alongside Jennifer Dodds. 

The world champions were upstaged by round robin pace setters Italy in a 7-5 defeat that left them needing two wins from their final three games to guarantee qualification. 

With hosts China up next, followed by Norway’s ‘curling couple’ of Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien, Mouat isn’t shying away from the prospect of knockout curling.

“We’re pretty happy with how we’re doing,” said the 27-year-old from Edinburgh.

“We’re a bit disappointed not to win that one, we would have been in a really solid position. We’ve beaten a lot of tough teams out there already which will stand us in good stead. 

“It’s almost must-win now. I’m excited to go in and see what we can do.

“It looks like a lot of teams are beating each other. The ideal scenario would be to win three and then we’re on seven, that would be nice. I think six is the goal, so two out of the next three would be amazing.”

After Canadian commentators took aim at his bad hair day, Mouat started wearing a cap on the Grand Slam circuit. Now it has a cult following and its own Twitter account.

He said: “I think there are more Twitter followers on that than my own account!

"I guess it's a wee bit of a superstition almost now. I didn't play very well in the first three games and I was quite disappointed with the way I was playing. It has got superpowers, apparently!” 

He’s only half joking. In the first three matches at the Games, Mouat didn’t wear the hat and his average shot accuracy was 73% compared to 92% when he sported it for the next three. 

The powerplay, a unique feature of a growing format appearing at Olympic level for the second time, is proving decisive in Dodds and Mouat’s ongoing tussles.

In mixed doubles, teams place their first stone and using a powerplay allows the team with the ‘hammer’ to move the stones wide of centre, opening up attacking opportunities.

Having let minnows Australia lie three on their powerplay and get back into the game, eventually squeaking through with an extra end, the Brits believed they’d found the formula to shut it down in an 8-3 victory over Czech Republic.

But Amos Mosaner and Stefania Constantini turned the screw and a score of three in the penultimate end, that was nearly called as four, scuppered Dodds and Mouat’s hopes. 

"I think I'd be a bit worried if we started amazingly,” argued Dodds. “I wasn't worried at the start but I'm really liking the way it's going.”

“We play curling because we like a wee bit of pressure. We go out to win every game, that’s our objective, so pressure makes no real difference. 

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, tighten up a few things and I think we’ll be really solid.”

Watch All the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 live on discovery+, Eurosport and Eurosport app