Stirling Observer

New confidence for Golden Girl Hailey

Olympic medallist set for masters after breakthrou­gh year


Olympic gold medallist Hailey Duff will head into her first event of the year – the Perth Masters – with revitalise­d confidence after ringing out her momentous old year in style.

The 25-year-old, based at The PEAK, enjoyed a breakthrou­gh season in 2021/22, forcing her way into the line-up which brought victories for Scotland and Great Britain at the European Championsh­ips and then those Olympics in Beijing.

However, she admits that after coming through the nine player squad system which produced that winning team, making yet another fresh start was not without difficulty.

The victory she enjoyed at the Euro Super Series Mixed Doubles event in partnering world Mixed Doubles champion Bobby Lammie for the first time consequent­ly provided a vital lift at just the right time.

“The season’s been quite challengin­g,” she acknowledg­ed.

“It’s quite easy to get a bit down and lose confidence in my ability and what I was doing coming off the back of such a great 2021/22 season, so to get that win with Bobby just gave me the confidence and motivation to keep going forward, knowing that my training is working.”

That has been supplement­ed by some hard work after she got back together with skip Beth Farmer as well as their other teammates Kirstin Bousie, Amy Mcdonald and Katie Mcmillan, who had to cross the Atlantic to compete without Duff in November as she took on the role of alternate for Team Morrison during their European Championsh­ip bronze medal winning campaign.

They are now looking to build on what almost represente­d a second pre-season training opportunit­y, their first one having been disrupted by a series of changes after Olympic gold medal winning skip Eve Muirhead retired from the profession­al game and another of their Beijing teammates Jen Dodds chose to focus on Mixed Doubles.

“Our team had a testing start to the season,” said Duff.

“Obviously there were a few changes, but we eventually got our team together and the girls were out in Canada while I was at the Europeans and since we’ve got back we’ve had a good four or five weeks of training with all five of us, working on the things we needed to.

“It’ll consequent­ly be good to see how we go into the second half of the season and the Perth Masters is a great way to start.

“It’s always been a great competitio­n at an ice rink that quite a few of us play in regularly. I play there every week and the ice is always good.

“It’s always great to get the chance to play in an event in Scotland, so we’re keen to see if what we’ve been doing is working, or if other things crop up.”

December was a slightly strange month with the Swanswater Fishery closed for several days due to ice caused by the prolonged period of very low temperatur­es, and then, on the last two days of the year, due to the extremely heavy rain and subsequent flooding.

Despite the very changeable weather, there was some good fishing to be had and most of those who braved the conditions were rewarded with fish.

The annual day after Boxing Day charity competitio­n was held on December 27 and was a great success, despite some challengin­g conditions with snow falling and lying on the surface of the water making certain platforms unfishable for a period.

Paul Christie took the first prize of a Sharpe’s of Aberdeen rod and a fishing voucher with Donald Mcmurchy in second place and Willie Nyguist third.

The fishery managed to raise a total of £1120 for Strathcarr­on Hospice and huge thanks go to all who took part on the day and also to those who donated in any way, including prizes for the raffle. A special thanks go to Tom Kirk of TK Tackle for donating the rod for first prize.

The Fishery reopened on Tuesday, January 3. Fishery hours are 8am to 4pm every day except Thursday when we close at 2.30pm.

Please check with the fishery or on our Facebook page to make sure that we are open as closure may occur due to weather conditions.

Amongst those doing well on the fly ponds were: Henry Thomson 10lb Rainbow; R Kasmmiri 5lb 12oz Rainbow; Gavin Thomson 3 for 10lb 4oz; Neil Whitelaw caught and released 21 including 10lb Rainbow; Mark Anthony caught and released 20 from the Meadow Pond; Greg Mcphillips caught and released 15; Paul Christie caught and released 12; David Goss caught and released 10; Donald Mcmurchy caught and released 7; Raymond Hunter caught and released 5; Michael Anthony caught and released 7 from the Meadow Pond; Willie Nyguist caught and released 6; Chris Hunter caught and released 5; Willie Smillie caught and released 5; Charles Devine caught and released 5; Aaron Kirkwood caught and released 5; Robert Mccoll caught and released 5; Willie Macfadyen caught and released 5; Tyler Howells caught and released 5 including 11lb Rainbow; Nigel Muckle caught and released 4 including 7lb 4oz Gold.

On the Millpond the best bags included: Andrew Brown 2 for 4lb 12oz; John Teven 2 for 5lb 6oz; Andy Conroy 3 for 8lb 4oz; John Berry 2 for 4lb 4oz; Ellen Amelia 2 for 4lb 8oz; Doug Shepherd 2 for 6lb.

 ?? ?? Confident Olympic gold medallist Hailey Duff
Confident Olympic gold medallist Hailey Duff

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