Zoetermeer Roundup

ECCC2014poster

Saturday saw the final games at the European Curling Championships ‘C’ Group in Zoetermeer.

When I last wrote about the competition, Ireland’s women were struggling on no wins and three losses but, happily, they did not go home winless as they won their last game of the week against Romania 7-6 – the final round-robin table looked like this:

1. Slovakia (6-0)
2. Netherlands (4-2)
2. Spain (4-2)
4. Slovenia (3-3)
5. Croatia (2-4)
6. Ireland (1-5)
7. Romania (1-5)

This meant that Slovakia played the Netherlands in the 1v2 game and it was the Netherlands who came out on top 8-5 after an extra-end, winning the gold medal and gaining promotion to the ‘B’ group.

Spain saw off Slovenia 8-4 in the 3v4 meaning it was Spain v. Slovakia for the silver medal and the remaining spot in the ‘B’ group. This time Slovakia prevailed with a 4-3 win and got themselves promoted.

Congratulations to the Netherlands and Slovakia – we’ll be seeing them in Switzerland at the end of November.

The men’s event proved to be fascinating and you’ll recall that Ireland’s men were doing very well – they continued this form to finish on top of the standings with Belgium after the round-robin:

1. Belgium (7-2)
2. Ireland (7-2)
3. Israel (6-3)
3. Slovakia (6-3)
5. Belarus (5-4)
6. Slovenia (5-4)
7. Iceland (3-6)
8. Serbia (3-6)
9. Luxembourg (2-7)
10. Bulgaria (1-8)

So Ireland qualified for the 1v2 game with Belgium – a fantastic achievement and ‘B’ group qualification in their hands.

They started the game well taking a 3-0 lead after three ends but a steal of three by the Belgians in the fifth proved costly and Ireland were ultimately beaten 7-5.

The second chance for qualification would come against the winners of the 3v4 game and in this one it was Israel who saw off Slovakia 7-6 meaning Ireland would face Israel in their final game of the competition with everything to play for.

Ireland had beaten Israel in the round-robin (6-4) but unfortunately they picked the wrong time to lose two consecutive games as the Israelis proved too strong and took the game 7-3 and with it, promotion to the ‘B’ Group.

Craig Whyte from Team Ireland said he was disappointed to miss out on the qualification but that a medal was a good improvement on last year – watch this space for a report on his experience in Zoetermeer.

So, to clarify, here’s who won what:

Women
Gold medal – Netherlands*
Silver medal – Slovakia*
Bronze medal – Spain

Men
Gold medal – Belgium*
Silver medal – Israel*
Bronze medal – Ireland

*Qualifies for European Curling Championships ‘B’ Group

Many congratulations to Ireland for collecting a bronze medal and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them back in the ‘B’ Group before too long.

A cracking result for Israel too and testament to what can be done when a reformed national association really goes for it.

Photos from the event can be found here.

Image is © WCF