With just one full day of round-robin play left, it’s getting serious at the 2013 European Curling Championships in Stavanger, Norway.
That’s the front-end of Team Scotland’s men above – Michael Goodfellow and Scott Andrews. They are part of a team who had had a stuttering start to these Championships and were on two wins and two losses after Day 2.
On Monday and Tuesday, however, things improved hugely.
David Murdoch and his team had just one game on Monday against the Latvians, skipped by Ritvars Gulbis. This game was close all the way – Scotland were 4-3 ahead at the halfway stage and a crucial draw by Murdoch against six Latvian counters in the eighth prevented a surprise defeat.
The final end featured nearly every stone in play and after the Latvians were warned by umpires for deliberating over a shot for approximately five minutes, they missed their attempt handing Scotland a 7-6 win.
Monday’s men’s results:
Russia 4-7 Denmark
Norway 8-6 Switzerland
France 2-6 Sweden
Scotland 7-6 Latvia
Czech Republic 9-11 Finland (EE)
Scotland’s first game on Tuesday was against Jiri Snítil’s Czech Republic team – the bronze medal winners last year. Jiri himself had missed a few games already in this tournament through illness but was back to face the Scots.
This proved to be an efficient all-round performance from Murdoch and the team as they consistently outscored the Czechs and picked up the only steal of the game to take it 9-5 after nine ends.
Scotland’s second game on Day 4 was against Niklas Edin and his reigning European and World Champions.
With two straight wins under their belts, the Scots were on a roll and they saw off the much-fancied Swedes by the same scoreline as they had defeated the Czechs – 9-5.
The key end in this one was the sixth when Edin wrecked with his last stone leaving David Murdoch a hit to roll out two Swedish counters and take a five.
This all means that Scotland’s men are safely qualified for the 2014 World Championships and are assured of at least a tie-breaker in Stavanger even if they lose their final two games against France and Norway.
Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.
Tuesday’s men’s results:
Norway 10-4 Finland
Denmark 9-2 France
Czech Republic 5-9 Scotland
Sweden 5-6 Russia
Latvia 6-7 Switzerland
Scotland 9-5 Sweden
Latvia 4-7 Russia
Finland 7-9 Switzerland
Norway 7-3 Denmark
France 6-7 Czech Republic
Seven games in and Tom Brewster has still not featured – debate has been heated on the Scottish Curling Forum. It goes without saying that people are equally unimpressed that this team has now got Scotland qualified for the Worlds yet won’t be able to play due to the Olympic/Scottish Championships clash.
Somehow, I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this…
Current Standings (W-L)
5-2 Scotland, Switzerland
3-4 Russia, Sweden
2-5 Czech Republic, Latvia
1-6 Finland, France
By the way, you can watch Scotland’s game against Norway live on the WCF’s YouTube channel on Wednesday at 1800 UK time.
On to Eve Muirhead (above with Claire Hamilton and Vicki Adams) and her Scotland women’s team who are in devastating form right now in Norway.
After four days of play they are still undefeated and are looking unstoppable just now although I’m sure a certain Mirjam Ott might have something to say about that.
Monday was Day 3 and saw Eve and her team start against Lene Nielsen’s Denmark – this morning contest did not last long as Scotland saw off the Danes 10-1 after just six ends.
The Scotland women’s second game on Monday was against the Czechs skipped by Anna Kubešková and although the scoreline shows a 10-9 win for Scotland, it doesn’t tell the whole story as Muirhead and her team were in control from the very start with a big five and never looked like losing from there.
Monday’s women’s results:
Czech Republic 11-1 Latvia
Switzerland 7-3 Sweden
Germany 14-2 Italy
Denmark 1-10 Scotland
Russia 12-3 Norway
Switzerland 10-1 Italy
Latvia 2-10 Russia
Scotland 10-9 Czech Republic
Norway 5-8 Germany
Sweden 6-4 Denmark
Day 4 started where Team Scotland had left off with another win, this time against Veronica Zappone’s Italian team.
Just like the game against the Czechs, Scotland took a big early lead by picking up a five in the first end – when they stole a further two in the second it was as good as over. Further scoring and another steal meant the game was finished after six ends with the score 12-2.
Scotland were not only still unbeaten in Stavanger by this point but Eve Muirhead and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton had successfully qualified Scotland for the Women’s World Championship.
Like the men, however, they will be unable to play in said tournament where they would have been defending their title from Riga. We’ll save that for another day I think…
Margaretha Sigfridsson’s Sweden lay in wait for Scotland’s women on Tuesday evening – a team who this Scotland side have plenty of previous with having beaten them in a European and World final.
This was a great game to watch – tactical and tense with neither side willing to give an inch.
The game went with hammer all the way to the eighth when the singles that had been traded until then saw the Swedes finally take a two. A final-end steal of one for Scotland gave them the win 6-5 when Maria Prytz, Sweden’s last stone player, caught one of her own stones with her final draw.
This win means Scotland are in the 1v2 playoff game on Thursday evening where they will play Switzerland – they will have already met that morning in the final group game where, assuming Scotland can get past Norway on Wednesday, Eve and the girls will be trying to preserve their 100% record.
Mike Haggerty’s reports are here.
Tuesday’s women’s results:
Latvia 6-8 Denmark
Italy 2-12 Scotland
Sweden 13-6 Norway
Czech Republic 3-9 Switzerland
Germany 2-8 Russia
Norway 7-8 Czech Republic (EE)
Germany 2-8 Switzerland
Denmark 6-5 Russia
Latvia 11-5 Italy
Scotland 6-5 Sweden
Current Standings (W-L)
7-0 Scotland, Switzerland
4-3 Denmark, Russia, Sweden
3-4 Czech Republic
2-5 Germany, Latvia
1-6 Italy, Norway
Scotland’s game against Norway will be live on the WCF’s YouTube channel on Wednesday at 1300 UK time.
B Group News
I won’t fill the screen with two days worth of B Group results so here’s a brief roundup of how the ‘home’ nations fared on Monday and Tuesday.
England’s men picked up a comfortable 10-2 win over Spain on Monday then lost narrowly to Germany 5-4 on Tuesday morning and ended Day 4 with a big win over Romania 11-2.
The Welsh men lost 8-5 to Hungary on Monday morning followed by a 9-2 win over Poland in the afternoon. Tuesday saw them thrash Lithuania 13-2 before losing 8-4 to the Netherlands.
The English women beat Austria 8-7 and Spain 7-5 on Monday then lost twice on Tuesday – 6-4 to Hungary and 7-6 to Estonia.
All the ‘home’ nation teams in Stavanger have one game each remaining.
Current Standings – Men, Yellow (W-L)
4-2 England, Italy
Current Standings – Men, Blue (W-L)
3-3 Austria, Wales
Current Standings – Women (W-L)
5-3 England, Turkey
4-4 Austria, Hungary
2-6 Poland, Slovenia, Spain
The event website is here.
Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2013