Eve Muirhead's team once again leads British Curling's programme ©WCF

British Curling has announced its men's and women's teams for the upcoming 2020-2021 season, led by familiar Scottish skips Bruce Mouat and Eve Muirhead.

The double announcement also revealed two second-tier podium potential teams which will be a part of the British Curling programme.

All teams will be supported by UK Sport.

Muirhead, who returned from injury to win silver at the 2019 European Curling Championships, returns with the same line-up as last season - long-serving Lauren Gray is third alongside relatively new members of the rink Jennifer Dodds and Vicky Wright.

Wright recently made headlines for her return to the frontline of Scotland's National Health Service to treat patients suffering from COVID-19.

The quartet had aimed for another medal at the World Women's Curling Championship in Prince George in Canada, but the event was cancelled just days before play was set to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Muirhead that was tough to take as she felt the team had good momentum ahead of the tournament.

"With a new combination we really hit the ground running from the get go and it was disappointing that it ended at what was a really crucial time for us," Muirhead said.

"We had prepared really well for the Worlds and we felt that we had the chance to show our capability taken away from us, although of course we know it was without doubt the right decision.

"We want to build on last year and it was good to get the call that we were selected as the podium team for the season ahead. 

"It takes a lot of hard work to be the top women’s team in Scotland and that is why it is important to have the back up and support from the programme and UK Sport. 

"That will really help us be in the best shape we can be and gives us the best chance of reaching our goal of getting to Beijing in 2022."

Ross Paterson is the skip in the men's podium potential team ©Getty Images
Ross Paterson is the skip in the men's podium potential team ©Getty Images

Mouat's young side have slowly established themselves as the top men's team in Britain, despite some fierce competition elsewhere. 

Consisting of third Grant Hardie, second Bobby Lammie and lead Hammy McMillan Jr, the four have been inseparable since coming together in 2017, winning a bronze medal at the end of their first season as a team at the World Men's Curling Championship.

In 2018, the quartet won the European Curling Championship and have won every Scottish Championship since the team was formed.

Mouat too is determined to bounce back from a premature end to the 2019-2020 season.

"Like everyone, we are obviously not sure what the new season will look like or when it will actually resume, but one thing we are sure of is that we will be putting all our efforts into it once it starts as we feel the way the 2019-2020 season ended it left us with unfinished business," he said.

"It is always exciting to get that call that you have secured your place on the programme and I never take it for granted. 

"The whole team are grateful to receive the support from British Curling and the staff and expertise at sportscotland that we get access to as part of that. 

"It will be good to get going again when it is safe to do so. 

"Meanwhile we will continue to work hard during lockdown and we all trust in each other that we are all putting 100 per cent into staying fit and active and doing as much as we can to be competition ready.

"Every week has been a bit of an adjustment, but it is getting easier as you get more into the new routine."

Both teams will be favourites to be selected as the British representatives for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, however, two members of the men's podium potential team have previous Olympic experience.

Kyle Waddell, who played second in Kyle Smith's side at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games, has for the past two years been in the team skipped by Ross Paterson, with Duncan Menzies and Michael Goodfellow also involved.

Goodfellow also possesses Olympic experience as part of the Sochi 2014 team which won a silver medal under legendary skip David Murdoch.

Mixed doubles player Gina Aitken is part of a newly-formed women's podium potential team consisting of youngsters Rebecca Morrison, Mili Smith and Sophie Sinclair - with Aitken being the only player not under the age of 24.

An order for this quartet has not yet been determined.

Notable omissions from the programme include skip Sophie Jackson, who in recent years has come closest to upsetting Muirhead's dominant reign over the women's game.

Jackson's teammate Naomi Brown also misses out as well as Aitken's doubles partner, Scott Andrews.