EUROPEANS LATEST: W Final: Sweden 2, Scotland 8

Scotland’s women took European gold for the first time since 1975 when Eve Muirhead led her team to victory in the final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow on Saturday morning, overwhelming a previously unbeaten Sweden to win by 8-2 in just eight ends.

The Scots started better, scoring singles in each of the first two ends for a 2-0 lead. After blanking the third, Sweden had their first real chance to get on the scoreboard in the fourth end, but their fourth player Maria Prytz was facing three Scottish counters as she played, and came up short, giving Scotland a further two points.

In the fifth end, once again the Scots had piled on the pressure and again had three stones counting. This time Prytz was heavy with her draw, giving Scotland another steal and a most unexpected 7-0 halftime lead.
The Swedes finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth end when Prytz had a good hit and stay for one, but the Scottish pressure was unrelenting, as Scottish skip Eve scored a single in the seventh with a drive that could perhaps have yielded more.

The Swedes scored a consolation single in the eighth end, after Muirhead played a fantastic pick- out of a Swedish stone in the house that was all but frozen on a Scottish counter, before giving up what had become a completely unequal contest, with a final score-line of 8-2.

Afterwards, an elated Scottish skip Eve Muirhead said, “It’s fantastic. It’s been one of the medals I’ve wanted. Last year we took silver against Sweden and this year we took gold – you couldn’t ask for any more. Sweden had such a great week, but we just piled on the pressure from the start and we got a few mistakes out of the skip, and as soon as they made any mistakes, we just pounced”.

She added, “I would say we had control in every single end. When it gets past that fifth end and you’re quite a few up, and you know you’ve not won it yet, you’ve just got to keep going and I think we did that well”.

Reviewing her entire campaign, she said, “we didn’t start the week well, but we did the right thing. Every game we got better and better and started going up the way, so I think we peaked at the right time”.

Looking forward, she added, “this is a new team for me and I think we’re going to do great. This was a first major title and I’m delighted with that. We’re still young – Anna’s (third player Anna Sloan) still a junior and I’m only 21, so if we keep training hard and practising hard, who knows?”.

A subdued Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridssen said, “of course, we’re sad that we didn’t play our best today, but we are satisfied with the week. We’ve played really well, but unfortunately not today”, adding,“we felt confident, but it was very strange today. We didn’t get into the game today and that was a bit unusual for us – we didn’t make our shots. Scotland played well but we didn’t leave anything hard for them to do. I think we’re sad at the moment but we’ll be happy with silver in a week or so”.

Eve Muirhead’s team is third Anna Sloan, second Vicki Adams, lead Claire Hamilton, alternate Kay Adams and they are coached by Eve’s father Gordon Muirhead, all supported by national coach Rhona Martin. Both Scottish teams at this event are supported by long-term sponsor Tullis Russell, and this win is a terrific reward for their loyalty.

Later, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud retained his title with a 7-6 win over Sweden’s Niklas Edin in a tense men’s final.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray



Russia, Denmark win Bronze

Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne wins bronze

Russia ‘s women won bronze on home territory when they beat Denmark by 13-7 in Friday evening’s bronze-medal play-off, while the Danish men beat the Czech Republic by 9-6 for their bronze medals.

In the best-of-three challenge series for the final men’s and women’s European places in the line-up at this season’s world championships, France took first blood in the men’s event beating Group “B” winners Russia by 10-4, while the Czech women beat the Hungarian “B” group winners by 7-4 in the women’s event.

The women’s gold medal game between Sweden and the Tullis Russell-sponsored Scottish team will be broadcast live on Eurosport from 7.30 am on Saturday morning.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women semi-final: Denmark 2, Scotland 10

For the second year in succession, Eve Muirhead will contest a European final, after Scotland’s overwhelming 10-2 win over Denmark in the semi-final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow on Friday afternoon.

With last stone advantage, Denmark’s Lene Nielsen blanked the first end and took a single in the second, but after that, it was virtually Scotland all the way.

They scored three in the third when, after the Scots turned a difficult situation around, Nielsen was heavy and rolled her draw through, leaving Muirhead with an easy draw to establish her lead. In the fourth, Nielsen was heavy again, and this time gave up a steal of three.

The Scots kept the fifth end tidy, particularly through a good Muirhead double take-out, leaving Denmark to blank the end. Muirhead produced another good double to lie three as Nielsen played her last shot in the sixth, but she could only move one of the Scots’ stones, and Scotland stole another two.

In the seventh, both Muirhead and third player Anna Sloan had good clear-out shots, leaving Nielsen with no option but to hit for just one shot. Eventually, in the eighth, Muirhead had an open hit for two, and the Danes capitulated.

The Scottish team, which is sponsored by Tullis Russell, now faces unbeaten Sweden in Saturday morning’s final, while Denmark face Russia for bronze on Friday evening.

After the game, Muirhead said, “we’ve just been getting better as the week goes on and that’s what you’ve got to do at a Championship. If you peak too early you’ll slowly go down and we’re doing the opposite”. She added, “The first three was key and we put the pressure on them then. Also, she was a bit indecisive for the second three. They weren’t even close to us out there. Once we get up we’re a really good hitting team ,and we hit them off the park”.

Looking forward to the final she added, “Sweden are undefeated and deserve to be in the final. But we’re definitely going to give them a run for their money and I’m sure it’s going to be a good game. It’s a replay of last year’s final – Scotland/Sweden. Last year, I had a shot to win it and coming away with silver wasn’t nice – I don’t want to come away with a silver medal again”.

In the men’s semi-final, Norway beat the Czech Republic by 5-2 and now face Sweden for gold as they attempt to retain their title, while the Czechs are up against Denmark.

REPORT: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women Page 3-4: Russia 6, Scotland 9

It might have taken all the way to an extra end, but Eve Muirhead’s Scottish women team have made it into the semi-final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow, beating Russia by 9-6.

The Scots were in control early, blanking the first and scoring twos in the second and fourth ends. The two in the second was achieved through an audacious Muirhead promoted double take-out.

Russia had taken a single in the third but brought themselves back into it in the fifth, scoring three to level the game. However, after the break, the Scots were back in charge. They took a single from the sixth and stole another single in the seventh. After this, Russia could only manage another single in the eighth and this reduced the Scottish lead to 6-5.

Muirhead then blanked the ninth and was looking good to win in the tenth, but her clear-out of a Russian stone jammed on another Russian stone lying at the back of the house, and Russia stole a single for 6-6 and an extra end.

Still with the hammer, the Scots played this end cleanly and eventually Muirhead had a relatively simple chip-out and stay to score three and win by 9-6.

The Scots now face Denmark in Friday afternoon’s semi-final, after they lost by 4-12 to Sweden in eight ends. Sweden now move onto Saturday’s final.

Afterwards, a pleased Muirhead said, “we should have been on my last one in the tenth a little bit earlier, but giving up one wasn’t a disaster. We had a great extra end and I couldn’t have asked for much better as a last end, we didn’t miss a shot. They just nicked a guard with one and we started peeling to take control. The performance was really good, that was one of our games that was right up there”.

Looking forward, she said, “Denmark had a tough loss there. I’d definitely want to come into the semi-final off a win, because you’re still going up. I wouldn’t want to be going in after a 12-6 loss. Sweden are a strong team and they’ve had a great week, but Denmark are going to be up for our game and fight hard, I’m sure”.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men’s Tie-breaker 2: Scotland 5, Czech Republic 7

The Scottish men reached the end of the road in the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow when they lost a tight second tie-breaker game on Thursday afternoon, going down by 5-7 to the Czech Republic.

The Scots gave uo a three in the first end and were always chasing after that. Although they fought back to level the game twice – at 3-3 in the third when they produced a steal for two, and again at 4-4 in the seventh, they were never ahead in the game.

Following a good hit and stay by their skip Jiri Snitil, the Czechs scored two after a measure in the eighth end, and the writing was on the wall for the Scots. Eventually, with David Murdoch’s men trying all they could to make a steal, Snitil had a good hit and stay in the tenth to score one and win the game.
The Czechs now go on to face Denmark in Thursday evening’s Page 3-4 Play-off, while Sweden and defending champions Norway match up in the Page 1-2 game.

The Scots now rank fifth overall, and, after his elimination, Murdoch said, “that’s it – the end of the road. We were just not quite as sharp in that game as in the last two or three we’ve been playing. It’s been a lot of early starts and a lot of hard graft. But Jiri’s played well, and his boys have played well all week, so credit to them”.

Reflecting on his overall campaign, he added, “this really was a case of missed opportunities. We didn’t take our chances in some of the games that we should have. But it’s a tough week, and it’s the first time here for this team. I’m proud of the way they fought – it’s certainly not easy when you come here. I’d liked to have played some of those games again and taken our chances. One win and we would have been in the 1-2 and that just shows how tight it is in this tournament…being in the 1-2 instead of a five game streak to try to get to the final. But …Championships are tough”.

The Scottish women will now face Russia in their Thursday evening Page 3-4 Play-off, following the Russians’ 6-5 tie-break win over Germany.

Italy beat Switzerland by 6-4 in the women’s tie-breaker between the two teams tied in seventh place. The Italians now enjoy a final ranking of seventh, and are confirmed in their ambition of qualifying for this season’s world championship, while Switzerland will now face a challenge from the eventual “B” group winners for the eighth and last available European slot in the 2012 Ford World Women’s Championships line-up.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men’s Tie-break 1: Switzerland 2, Scotland 8

The Scottish men took a major step towards the medals at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow with a six-end 8-2 demolition of Switzerland in their first tie-breaker game on Thursday morning.

The Swiss, whose brave victory over Germany on Wednesday evening opened the door to tie-breakers for them, Scotland, Germany and the Czech Republic, had no answer to the Scots.

Skip David Murdoch won the hammer but blanked the first end. The Scots then scored two in the second end to open the floodgates.

The Swiss responded with a two of their own in the third, but the Scots bounced back with another two in the fourth for 4-2 and, in the fifth, they stole three shots when Swiss skip Sven Michel was short with his final draw.

Another single steal for Scotland in the sixth was enough to persuade the Swiss that their cause was lost.

Afterwards, Murdoch said, “that’s the team we’re supposed to be seeing. I just wish we’d been playing like that all week”, adding, “it’s all positives now and we know where we are. We’ve done this before, coming through like a train and no-one wants to play us now. We’ve just got to make sure that we keep playing like that and take the next game on”.

Speaking specifically about the performance in the game, Murdoch said, “we were good at converting our twos and he was short with that draw against three in the fifth – that was the turning point”.

After his win, he watched the conclusion of the other tie-breaker between Germany and the Czech Republic, knowing he’d be facing the winner on Thursday afternoon for the right to play Denmark in the Page 3-4 Play-off. “I’d like to get my revenge on either team, so bring it on”. He said.

As it happens, the Czech Republic beat Germany by 7-4, so the Scots now face the Czechs.

Results: tie-breaker 1: Switzerland 2, Scotland 8; Germany 4, Czech Republic 7.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 9: Scotland 9, Sweden 3

David Murdoch’s men did what they could to keep their medal hopes alive at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow yesterday evening, beating Sweden with a whirlwind performance by 9-3 in just seven ends. But they then had to wait for a tense hour to find out if other results would go their way.

Eventually, Switzerland beat Germany by 4-3 after an extra end, and this put the Swiss and the Scots into a four-team tie-break series on Thursday, along with the Czech Republic and Germany, to decide which team finishes fourth and joins top-ranked Sweden, second-placed Norway and third-placed Denmark in the Page play-offs on Thursday evening.

The Scottish men opened with a three and moved on from there. Sweden took two in the second which Scotland matched in the third. The teams then swapped singles, and Sweden blanked the seventh before giving up a steal of two in the seventh, handing Scotland a 9-3 lead, after which Sweden conceded.

Sweden were already qualified for the Page 1-2 game, so perhaps it is understandable that they were not playing at their best.

Murdoch’s men then had to metaphorically hold their breaths for an hour as the rest of the session played out, but eventually Swiss skip Sven Michel cleared out a German counter in the extra end of his game for the 4-3 win that set up the tie-breakers.

Afterwards, Murdoch reflected on his overall campaign, saying, “certainly that’s frustrating because I know that’s the way we can play, and I’ve always said that if we got into that groove, we could win this thing. We’ve just been a bit slow and never really found a rhythm and had all sorts of bad breaks. That was an absolutely outstanding performance from the boys there and a better performance by myself. I’ve not been shooting my usual standards but that’s far more like the thing. But Team Scotland going into a play-off is a tough team to beat. We just need to play like we did there”.

The Scots now go on to face Switzerland on Thursday morning, with the Czech Republic and Germany in the other half of the tie-breaker draw.

Round 9: Czech Republic 7, Italy 6; Germany 3, Switzerland 4; France 10, Latvia 6; Denmark 4, Norway 5; Scotland 9, Sweden 3.

Final standings: Sweden, Norway, Denmark won 6, lost 3: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Scotland 5-4; France 4-5; Latvia 2-7; Italy 1-8.

Page Play-off 1-2: Sweden v Norway.

Tie-breakers: Swizerland v Scotland, Czech Republic v Germany (winners play each other, then overall winner to face Denmark in Page 3-4 Play-off)

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women game 9: Switzerland 7, Scotland 10

With third place and a play-off slot already assured, Eve Muirhead’s women took a professional approach to their concluding round-robin game, despatching Switzerland by 10-7 to finish this section of the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow on a winning note.

The Scots won the hammer and opened with a single, but gave the Swiss an early advantage by giving up two shots in the second end.

However they responded straightaway and levelled at 2-2 with another single in the third end. The Swiss nosed ahead with one shot in the fourth and then the Scots moved further ahead with a three in the fifth for a halftime 5-3 lead. Just when it looked like Muirhead’s team might keep their advantage they allowed Switzerland to score three in the sixth to re-take the lead at 6-5.

But after this it was basically all Scotland. They scored two in the seventh and then stole a further two in the eighth for 9-6, and when the teams swapped singles in the ninth and tenth ends, the teams shook hands with the score at 10-7 in Scotland’s advantage.

Elsewhere, Sweden concluded their programme with a 14-2 win over Latvia in just six ends to go through the round-robin undefeated and rank first overall. Denmark beat Germany by 6-4 to join Sweden in the Page 1-2 game. Scotland, sponsored by Tullis Russell papermakers, are in the Page 3-4 play-off , but do not yet know who their opponents will be, as Russia beat Norway by 7-4 to finish on four wins, like Germany, and these two now face each other in a tie-breaker for fourth.

Below them, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic will play tie-breakers to determine sixth, seventh and eighth places, with the eventual eighth-placed team facing a challenge from the “B” group winners for a place in this season’s world championship line-up.

Meanwhile, ninth-placed Latvia and tenth Norway are relegated to next year’s European “B” group, to be replaced by the eventual “B” group winners and runners-up.

After her game, Muirhead said, “We felt relaxed out there. It was one of those games that didn’t really matter, but you wanted it to matter. We basically controlled it – in the second end we shouldn’t have given up a two, but apart from that it was pretty solid, and we kept it simple. Also, we didn’t let the loss of the three bother us”.

Looking forward, she added, “we’re going to come and watch the boys tonight, and we’ve got a good 24 hours before we’re back, so we won’t be doing too much…relaxing”.


Round 9: Norway 4, Russia 7; Switzerland 7, Scotland 10; Germany 4, Denmark 6; Latvia 2, Sweden 14; Czech Republic 8, Italy 4.

Final standings: Sweden won 9,lost 0; Denmark 8-1, Scotland 7-2; Russia, Germany 5-4; Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic 3-6; Latvia, Norway 1-8.

Tie-breakers: Russia v Germany (winner finished fourth to face Scotland in Page 3-4 Play-off); Italy v Switzerland, winner v Czech Republic (to determine eighth place, who will face world challenge from winner Group “B”).

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 8: Scotland 7, France 9

The Scottish men positioned themselves firmly in the last chance saloon when they went down to a 6-7 extra end loss to France in the second-last round-robin session of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow on Wednesday afternoon.

In this game, the Scots put themselves in trouble straightaway, giving up a steal of two in the first end, and then a further single steal in the second to find themselves 0-3 down before hardly drawing breathe.

They then started a long climb back, finally getting on the scoreboard with a single in the third before stealing in the fourth and fifth ends and then, after France blanked the sixth, stealing another single in the seventh to take the lead for the first time, at 4-3.

Having fought their way to this good position, another disaster struck in the eighth when a French stone being cleared by a Murdoch hit jammed at the back giving France’s fourth player Tony Angiboust an easy hit and stay for four. The Scots fought back in the ninth and at one stage looked like scoring a four of their own before having to settle for two shots after a multiple raise by Murdoch, to go into the last one shot down, without hammer.

Once again, the Scots showed their fighting spirit to steal one in the tenth and force the extra end. But eventually, with the last stone of the game, Angiboust got round a front guard to knock out a Scottish counter, and score two for a 9-7 win.

There were some unexpected results elsewhere in the session and the upshot for Scotland is that they need to win their last game on Wednesday against Sweden, who, like Denmark, are already qualified. In addition, either Germany or Norway need to lose the last round-robin game, and this combination would put the Scots into a multiple tie-breaker situation.

After the game, Murdoch said, “we were in such a good position in the eighth, and then they get a little lucky with their first skip rock. We go for the run-back and it ends up jamming and we give up a four. The curling gods are not smiling on us just now and that was just a blow to the heart. It’s frustrating. We gave them a head start in the first three ends as well”.

Looking forward he said, “we certainly need a Sweden win tonight to have anything, and to avoid anything that’s going on down at the bottom. Teams this week have been on fire against us and we’ve not had a huge amount of luck, and we’ve not been in top form either. But we’ve certainly not done a lot wrong and we’re just in the firing line a wee bit”.


Round 8: Latvia 4, Germany 6; Czech Republic 6, Sweden 4; Norway 9, Italy 4; Scotland 7, France 9 (extra end); Denmark 6, Switzerland 7 (extra end).

Standings after 8 rounds: Denmark, Sweden won 6, lost 2; Germany, Norway 5-3; Czech Republic, Scotland, Switzerland 4-4; France 3-5; Latvia 2-6; Italy 1-7.

Report: Mike Haggerty, picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women game 8: Latvia 6, Scotland 9

Eve Muirhead’s team guaranteed themselves a finish of third overall and a place in the weekend play-offs, with a 9-6 win over Latvia in Wednesday morning’s eighth session of round-robin play at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow.

The Scots were in control of the game from the start, stealing two shots in the opening end and a single in the second, and were 7-2 up at half-way, thanks partly to a further Scottish steal of three in the fifth end. This situation gave them the opportunity to bring on alternate Kay Adams in place of her sister Vicki – “just to give her a run-out” – as coach Gordon Muirhead explained.

In the second half, Latvia creeped up the scoreboard, with a single in the sixth, a single steal in the seventh, and, after Scotland took one shot from the eighth, a score of two in the ninth. But eventually, Muirhead hit for one shot in the tenth and her 9-6 win.

No matter what happens in Wednesday afternoon’s final round robin session, in which Scotland will face Switzerland, Denmark and unbeaten Sweden will contest the Page 1 -2 game, while Scotland’s 3-4 game opponents look likely to be Germany, with Russia being the only other possible Scottish opponents in that game. If Russia win their last round-robin game and Germany lose, these two will then play again to determine which of them takes the fourth slot.

After the game, Muirhead said, “our first task was to qualify top seven for the worlds, which we’ve done, and now we’ve got our second target, which was to qualify for the play-offs, so that’s both done, and we’ve played better and better as the week’s gone on, so that’s good”.

Speaking specifically about the game against Latvia, she said, “they played a lot of nice draws but we were in control for the whole game” and looking forward, she added, “I don’t think we want to change too much, if we just play the way we’ve played in the last few games, we won’t be far away, because we are playing solid. We won’t really think of it as being the play-offs, just any other game”.


Round 8: Denmark 6, Switzerland 5; Norway 5, Italy 9; Sweden 8, Russia 4; Czech Republic 3, Germany 5; Latvia 6, Scotland 9.

Standings after 8 rounds: Sweden won 8, lost 0; Denmark 7-1; Scotland 6-2; Germany 5-3; Russia 4-4; Italy, Switzerland 3-5; Czech Republic 2-6;Latvia, Norway 1-7.

Report:Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 7: Latvia 4, Scotland 8

David Murdoch and his men are right back in play-off contention following their 8-4 win over Latvia in the seventh round-robin session of the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow, and some helpful results elsewhere.

The Scottish men took the early advantage in their game, stealing a single in the first end. Latvia blanked the second and then scored one in the third. In the fourth, Murdoch had a chance for two but was light with his final draw and had to settle for one again. Latvia then hit back straightaway to level the game again at 2-2 with a single in the fifth.

In the sixth end, the Scots split the house early and maintained their strong position throughout the end, with Murdoch finally hitting and staying for two shots to nose the Scots ahead. However, the Latvians played stubbornly in the seventh and their skip Ritvars Gulbis matched Murdoch’s previous effort to produce his own hit and stay for two, and level the game again at 4-4.

In the eighth, Latvian third player Ainars Gulbis had a complete miss, and this helped the Scots scatter their stones to all corners of the house before Murdoch had another relatively easy hit and stay, this time to score three. The Latvian resolve then seemed to fade and they gave up a single steal in the ninth, and conceded at 8-4 to Scotland.

Afterwards, a relieved Murdoch said, “That was a big win in many ways- it keeps us in it and also it pushes the bottom end of the field down. That was a great performance from the guys, they were patient early on. Those Latvian boys didn’t do a lot wrong early on and we had to play some really good curling to get ahead, so that was far more like it”.

Other results in the same session helped the Scots, who now share third place with Norway and Germany, but Murdoch’s future focus was clear. “It might be looking good for us getting into play-offs but we just need to worry about ourselves and make sure we beat France tomorrow” he said.


Round 7: Sweden 9, Norway 8; Latvia 4, Scotland 8; Denmark 7, Germany 6; Italy 9, Switzerland 4; France 7, Czech Republic 2.

Standings after 7 rounds: Denmark, Sweden won 6, lost 1; Germany, Norway, Scotland 4-3; Czech Republic, Switzerland 3-4; France, Latvia 2-5; Italy 1-6.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women game 7: Russia 4, Scotland 7

Eve Muirhead and her Scottish women’s team produced what was arguably their best game so far at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow to beat Russia by 7-4 in their seventh round-robin game and bring play-off qualification tantalisingly close.

As they had done in their previous two games, the Scottish women started well, and stole a single in the first end when Russia could not winkle out a Scottish stone that lay on the button in the middle of a cluster.

Russia then blanked the second end and got on the scoreboard with a single in the third, although skip Anna Sidorova was short with her first draw, otherwise a Russian two looked more likely. The Scots moved ahead again in the fourth, scoring two with a good hit and stay by Muirhead after her team had tidied up some earlier trouble. Russia took a single in the sixth, and then drew level again with a single steal in the seventh. They then moved into the lead for the first time with another single steal, in the eighth, when Muirhead just missed an attempt to promote two of her own stones and move the Russian counter that sat on the button among other Scottish stones.

The Scots steeled themselves after this set-back and took advantage of a nice set-up in the ninth that gave Muirhead a draw for two and the lead again, at 5-4.

In the tenth, Sidorova wrecked with her first stone after which Muirhead played a nice freeze on her own counter to strengthen the Scottish position. Sure enough, the Russian skip wrecked again with her second, which was a really difficult come-around, giving Scotland a steal of two for 7-4 and the game.

This win puts the Scots, with only two losses, in to clear third place behind unbeaten leaders Sweden and second-placed Denmark.

Afterwards, Muirhead said, “I’m delighted with that – it was a pretty solid performance. We had a couple of errors when we lost those steals, but, all in all, it was a pretty good performance. I think we’re definitely on the way up and that’s great to know, to be able to make those pressure shots, that’s what we need”.

Looking forward to her concluding round-robin games on Wednesday, she added, “we’ve got Latvia and Switzerland, not easy games. Latvia have had a few good games out there so we can’t write anybody off at all. We’ve just got to keep focussed and keep playing the way we have. I think we’ve lost to the two best teams out there, but we need to get another two wins and not rely on others – we can do it ourselves, that’s the best way”.


Round 7: Italy 3, Sweden 8; Denmark 11, Czech Republic 1; Latvia 4, Switzerland 11; Russia 4, Scotland 7; Germany 8, Norway 4.

Standings after 7 rounds: Sweden won 7, lost 0; Denmark 6-1; Scotland 5-2; Germany, Russia 4-3; Switzerland 3-4; Czech Republic, Italy 2-5; Latvia, Norway 1-6.

Report: MIke Haggerty, Picture, WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 6: Scotland 2, Denmark 5

The Scottish men put their medal hopes at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow in real jeopardy on Tuesday morning when they lost their sixth round-robin game by 2-5 to Denmark.

This result means that David Murdoch’s men have slipped to joint fifth place with the Czech Republic and Switzerland on just three wins and three losses, two wins behind joint leaders Denmark and Sweden, and one win behind Germany and defending champions Norway.

This was a crucial game for both teams, and that was reflected in the cagey play. Scotland won the hammer but then blanked the first two ends, looking for a big score. But their tactic mis-fired when Denmark stole a single in the third to get the first point on the scoreboard. However, the Scots levelled straightaway with one in the fourth, and it was then Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne’s turn to blank two ends.

The seventh end briefly looked promising for the Scots when Murdoch rolled behind cover with his first stone, but, with his second shot, Stjerne promoted one of his own stones to knock out the sole Scottish counter and take two from the end.

The Scots tried to build something again in the eighth, but Murdoch’s final tap-back was too strong and rolled too far outside two Danish stones around the button to give Denmark a game-winning steal of two. After failing to build a promising situation in the ninth, Murdoch drew to an empty house for a forlorn single, and eventually shook hands in the tenth.

Afterwards, Murdoch said, “That’s an in-form team and we knew it was going to be a tough game. We just didn’t get on the front foot or give them any trouble to get out of. They played extremely well and Rasmus played a clinker in the seventh to get the jump on us. That was pretty much the turning point and it wasn’t an easy shot in the eighth”.

He added, “that’s put us right down in the mix now and we certainly need a win tonight. We just need to create a bit more with the hammer and take our chances, really”.

Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne commented afterwards, saying “that was very important. First of all, it’s a big thing to beat Scotland and we know we needed this one to stay in contention for the first two spots. But even though the scoreboard was really tight, we played with lots of pressure, and I thought we were ahead all the way”.

The Scottish men now play Latvia on Tuesday evening and France on Wednesday afternoon before concluding with a potential trap-door game against joint-leaders Sweden.


Men round 6: Scotland 2, Denmark 5; France 2, Norway 5; Switzerland 7, Sweden 8; Czech Republic 7, Germany 4; Latvia 5, Italy 4.

Standings after 6 rounds: Denmark, Sweden won 5, lost 1; Germany, Norway 4-2; Czech Republic, Scotland, Switzerland 3-3;Latvia 2-4; France 1-5; Italy 0-6.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women game 6: Scotland 5,Italy 4

Eve Muirhead and her team finished off what she considered to be the perfect day with a 5-4 win over Italy in her sixth round-robin game at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow on Monday night.

This fourth win for the Scots puts them in joint third place with Russia, who lost in an extra end to Denmark, behind unbeaten leaders Sweden, and the second-placed Danes.

For the second time of the day, the Scots started well, scoring two in the first. Italy took a single from the second end, and then the Scots blanked the third before having to settle for just one shot in the fourth when Muirhead’s draw attempt for two came up short.

In the fifth, Muirhead had a couple of good chip-outs to pressure the Italians but their skip Diana Gaspari produced a good draw for one. After a blank sixth end, Gaspari produced another excellent shot in the seventh to steal one and tie the game up at 3-3.

The teams swapped singles in the eighth and ninth, crucially giving Muirhead last stone for the tenth.
All four Scots played this end well, giving Muirhead a relayively easy hit and stay for one shot and the win.

Afterwards, Muirhead said, “that was different from other games, but it’s good for us to go right down to the last stone of the last end, because it could happen in any of the games. It’s a game of patience”.

She added, “there were so many ends we had sewn up and she seemed to wiggle one in there. She played a great freeze in the seventh when we were looking good for a four and she ended up stealing. But we’re better when we need to focus and stay sharp, but I think there’s still so much we can do. We’re still not quite there and making mistakes, so if we can get rid of those…”.

Summing up a very positive day she said, “I think we couldn’t have asked for more today. We came looking for two wins. We need more days like this”.

The Scottish women play Russia in their only game on Tuesday, a game that will go a long way to deciding the weekend qualifiers.


Women round 6: Czech Republic 10; Germany 6, Sweden 9; Scotland 5, Italy 4; Norway 3, Switzerland 8; Denmark 8, Russia 7 (extra end).

Standings after 6 rounds: Sweden won 6, lost 0; Denmark 5-1; Russia, Scotland 4-2; Germany 3-3; Italy, Switzerland 2-4; Latvia, Norway 1-5.
Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/ Richard Gray


Men game 5: Czech Republic 8, Scotland 4

After hitting the heights earlier against defending champions Norway, David Murdoch’s men came down to earth with a bump when they lost their fifth round-robin game at the Le Gruyère European Championships, going down to Murdoch’s bogey team, the Czech Republic, by 4-8.

The Scots started well, scoring a single in the opener but the Czechs responded with a single of their own in the second when the Scots had one on the button but Czech skip Jiri Snitil got round guards to tap it back and score. The Czechs then moved into the lead with single steals in both the second and third ends.

The Scots then stopped the rot, blanking the fifth before getting two back in the sixth to level the game at 3-3. But the Czechs fought on and re-established a clear lead with two shots in the seventh.

In the eighth, the Scots built up the head as they hunted a big score, but eventually Murdoch’s attempt to come into a nest round the button off a winger went wrong and he had to settle for just one shot, to go into the ninth end 4-5 down.

The Scots couldn’t get anything going in that end and their failed gambling allowed Snitil to score three and finish the game.

Afterwards, a disappointed Murdoch was brutally honest with himself. “There was one skip that was making everything and another skip that just couldn’t finish it off – that was the tale of the game”.

“I had problems with my rocks that just ran straight and I never swapped them and should have. The boys played well, we just let them get a jump on us and they held the lead. He played a great game, that’s the best he’s played all week, so it’s a tough one. We’re beating some of the champions and losing to the teams that are further down the league, so we’ll need to sort that out”.

Snitil agreed with Murdoch’s assessment of his game, saying, “that was the best I’ve played this week, and the boys too. We had a good game against Denmark this morning but lost a big end and it was gone. We always seem to beat David but what works is that, when we do, he goes on to win the whole championship”.

Murdoch will be hoping that history repeats itself, but, for it to do so, he has to start by beating Denmark and Latvia in his next two games on Tuesday.


Men round 5: France 3, Switzerland 8; Denmark 8, Italy 3; Czech Republic 8, Scotland 4; Sweden 6, Latvia 5; Norway 10, Germany 3.

Standings after 5 rounds: Denmark, Germany, Sweden won 4, lost 1; Norway, Scotland, Sweden 3-2; Czech Republic 2-3; France, Latvia 1-4; Italy 0-5.

Report:Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women game 5: Germany 5, Scotland 7

Eve Muirhead’s women’s team produced their most solid performance of the week so far when they beat Germany’s Andrea Schöpp by 7-5 in their fifth round-robin game at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow on Monday.

The Scots came onto the ice looking like they meant business and had the dream start when Muirhead’s final shot draw yielded an opening score of three. They kept Germany to just one shot in the second end, but slack play in the third gave up a steal of two to Germany and levelled the scores at 3-3.

The Scots then blanked the next two ends and got their reward in the sixth, scoring two shots. But Germany fought back and levelled again, at 5-5, in the seventh when Schöpp had a nose-hit for two. However, the Scots bounced back again and managed to split the house early in the eighth end, and good disciplined play through the whole line-up eventually left Muirhead with a nose-hit to score a further two.

Clean Scottish play in the ninth left Germany with no option but to blank the end, and again in the tenth, the Scots kept their discipline throughout to let Muirhead tap out a solitary German stone in the house and put the game beyond Schöpp.

Afterwards, Muirhead said, “that’s the proper us, that was so much better. We came out of the blocks sharp in the first end. We had one slack end in the third, but apart from that it was solid. We kept it simple and we kept it open. In the previous games we were making mistakes, and there we weren’t, that was solid all the way through. If we keep doing what we’re doing and keep calm, it’ll be good”.

The Scottish women, who are sponsored by Tulliss Russell, now go onto play Italy in Monday evening’s late game.


WOMEN round 5: Germany 5, Scotland 7; Latvia 2, Russia 10; Norway 6, Czech Republic 5; Italy 7, Denmark 13; Sweden 5, Switzerland 4.

Standings after 5 rounds: Sweden won 5, lost 0;Denmark, Russia 4-1; Germany, Scotland 3-2; Italy 2-3; Czech Republic , Latvia, Norway, Switzerland 1-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 4: Norway 7, Scotland 8

The Scottish men recovered from handing the reigning European champions a four in the fourth end to eventually defeat Norway by 8-7 in the fourth round-robin session of the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow on Monday morning.

By his own admission, skip David Murdoch had a bad shot in the fourth to leave Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud with a simple hit and roll for the four, but apart from that, the Scots played well.

They won the hammer and scored one in the first end. Norway took two from the second end and the Scots responded with a two of their own in the third end for a 3-2 lead. Murdoch’s bad shot in the fourth gave Norway a 6-3 lead, but the Scots steadied again after this, taking a single in the fifth to chip away at the Norwegian lead.

Norway blanked the next two ends and then, with a cluster of Scots stones sitting behind guards, Ulsrud’s final draw in the eighth wrecked tapped-up a Scots guard, which in turn caused a Norwegian stone in then house to tap-bask, leaving Scotland with a steal of two and the scored levelled at 6-6.

In the ninth, Ulsrud took a nose-hit for one and then, attempting a thin pick-out in the tenth, had a complete miss to leave two Scottish stones counting and give Scotland their 8-7 victory without Murdoch having to throw his last stone.

Afterwards, a delighted Murdoch said, “We’ve always said that if you can force pressure, then you’ll get misses. I’m really proud of the guys – losing a four against the European champions and coming back with pressure every single end right to the end. The boys had a great game, we’d one bad shot of mine when we lost the four and that cost us – that was the only slip-up of the game. It was devastating to lose that four because we played so well for the entire game”.

He added, “that’s a big win for us. Not just the win, more the way we played that game. It was another step-up. I’d like to think that’ll scare everyone, because Team Scotland is a tough team to beat”

The Scottish men now share second place on just one loss, with Denmark and Sweden, behind unbeaten leaders Germany, and the Tullis Russell-sponsored team now face the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon.


Men round 4: Italy 4, Sweden 9; Switzerland 7, Latvia 6; Germany 7, France 4; Norway 7, Scotland 8; Czech Republic 5, Denmark 6.

Standings after 4 rounds: Germany won 4, lost 0; Denmark, Scotland, Sweden 3-1; Norway, Switzerland 2-2; Czech Republic, France, Latvia 1-3; Italy 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/ Richard Gray


Women game 4: Czech Republic 6, Scotland 10

Scotland’s women got back onto winning ways on Sunday evening at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow when they beat the Czech Republic by 10-6 in their fourth round-robin game.
This was their second win of the week and puts them into fifth place, alongside Italy.

This game was delayed behind all the others while repair work was done on the ice-sheet caused by a drip from the roof and Eve Muirhead’s women started with a score of two in the opening end.

But the Czechs responded with a two of their own in the second and then single steals in the third and fourth ends for a 4-2 lead. However the Scots managed to split the house in the fifth end leaving Muirhead with a hit and stay for two to level the score at 4-4.

The tide finally turned in the Scots’ favour in the sixth when Czech skip Linda Klimova was light with her final draw, allowing Scotland to steal three for a lead they were not to lose.

In the seventh, an umpire’s measure gave the Scots a steal of one after the Czechs’ last stone hit and rolled too far, and although the Czech skip sprung four Scottish stones out of the house to score two in the eighth, the Scots added another two of their own in the ninth, when Muirhead played a confident draw.

After this, the Czechs ran out of stones in the tenth to give the Tullis Russell-sponsored Scottish team, for whom third Anna Sloan in particular played well, a confidence-boosting win.

Afterwards, a relieved Muirhead said, “I feel better about that. We were solid in the second half, stepped up and never really gave them a chance. We’re getting there. Anna played great out there – she has struggled for the first few games but she was back to her normal self there”.

Looking forward, she added, “we’ve got a big day tomorrow…Germany and Italy. No-one’s a write-off yet, so we’ve got to play strong…better than we have been, but we’re getting there”.


Women round 4: Latvia 5, Denmark 6; Sweden 8, Norway 2; Czech Republic 6, Scotland 10; Switzerland 5, Russia 11; Italy 6, Germany 7.

Standings after 4 rounds; Sweden won 3, lost 0; Denmark, Germany, Russia 3-1; Italy, Scotland 2-2; Czech Republic, Latvia, Switzerland 1-3; Norway 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 3: Germany 10, Scotland 6

The Scottish men lost their unbeaten record at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow on Sunday afternoon when they lost their third round-robin match, against Germany by 6-10.

David Murdoch’s men had started well – winning the hammer; scoring a single in the first end; and stealing another in the second. But Germany responded with two shots in the third end.

In the fourth, Murdoch was facing two German counters and managed to get inside them for another single and a 3-2 lead. Germany then broke away in the fifth end, drawing for three when Murdoch’s last stone did not roll enough. The Scots then lost a measure in the sixth and then gave up another steal in the seventh when Murdoch’s shooter rolled out after hitting to find themselves 3-7 down.

They fought back with a score of two in the eighth when Murdoch played a delicate tap-back and stay, and then gave themselves real hope in the ninth when Murdoch put his last stone on the button behind cover and Germany could not reach it. However, their tenth-end gambling to force an extra end did not pay off, and they finally went down by 6-10. This result leaves Germany as the only unbeaten men’s team.

Afterwards, Murdoch said, “We were controlling the game for the first four ends and were really sharp, and in the fifth end, we got caught out a little bit on the straighter side and we slipped a three. That wasn’t too much of a disaster. Then it was bad stone placement and then we gave up a steal, then another. We got back into the game at the eighth end but it was too little too late and that was a game gone”.

He added, “we just need to bin that one. It’s always going to be an up and down week, so we just need to re-group for tomorrow”.

The Scottish men face defending champions Norway and then the Czech Republic in their Monday games.


Men, round 3: Germany 10, Scotland 6; Italy 4, France 7; Sweden 8, Denmark 3;Latvia 8, Czech Republic 11; Switzerland 5, Norway 9.

Standings after 3 rounds: Germany won 3,lost 0; Denmark, Norway, Scotland, Sweden 2-1; Czech Republic, France, Latvia, Switzerland 1-2; Italy 0-3.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/ Richard Gray


Women game 3: Scotland lose to Sweden

In their third game at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Moscow on Sunday afternoon, the Scottish women ran out of time in the middle of the tenth end to concede their game to Sweden.

After a ninth end in which they clawed back two shots to be down by 5-8, the Scots were looking for an unlikely steal of three to force an extra end. However, they looked surprised when the umpires approached them as third Anna Sloan was playing, to point out that they had run out of their allotted time.

Despite this unusual development and what was their second loss, the Scots produced better play throughout this game and look to have put Saturday evening’s 12-2 defeat at the hands of Denmark behind them.

Although Sweden had the hammer and used it to blank the first end, the Scots opened the scoring with a single steal in the second end when Maria Prytz, Sweden’s fourth player, was light and wrecked with an attempted draw. However Sweden responded right away, scoring two in the third.

In the fourth end, Prytz’s attempted short guard did not reach the hog-line, leaving Scottish skip Eve Muirhead to draw for a single shot to level the game at 2-2.

The Swedes were well in control during the fifth end and Muirhead managed to move two Swedish counters with her last, but even at that, the Swedes produced a hit and stay to score three and take a lead that proved unassailable.

The Scots took a single from the sixth, but Sweden scored two in the seventh and stole a further single in the eighth that took them to an 8-3 lead. Although the Scots managed to split the house in the ninth to eventually allow Muirhead a draw for two, the Scots’ fatal time-keeping error brought the game to a conclusion.

Afterwards Muirhead called the timing issue “an irrelevance”, adding, more generally, “it’s just one shot each end that we’re not playing. We’ve got to make things easier for ourselves. I think we controlled the first few ends but they played great and you can’t take it away from them”.

The Scottish women now face the Czech Republic on Sunday evening, who have the same won one, lost two record as the Scots.


Women round 3: Switzerland 9, Czech Republic 7; Russia 8, Germany 3; Italy 11, Latvia 4;Denmark 11, Norway 2; Sweden beat Scotland.

Standings after 3 rounds: Sweden won 3,lost 0; Denmark, Germany, Italy, Russia 2-1; Czech republic, Latvia, Scotland, Switzerland 1-2; Norway 0-3.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Men game 2:Scotland 6, Switzerland 5

David Murdoch’s team opened Sunday’s play with a 6-5 win over Switzerland to record their second victory from two starts at the Le Gruyère European Championships in Moscow.

The Scottish team, who are sponsored by Tullis Russell, now share top spot on the rankings with Denmark, who beat Saturday’s surprise package Latvia by 7-3, and Germany, who had an extra end 7-4 win over Italy.
The Scot opened with a three in the first end, thanks to a good double take-out by Murdoch, but the Swiss levelled the game with a two in the second end and a single steal in the third when Murdoch’s tricky wick shot went wrong. The Scots then blanked the next two ends and moved ahead in the sixth when they had to sttle for just one shot when Murdoch tap-back was just off target.

For the rest of the game, the teams swapped singles, although Scotland threatened to do more at most ends, especially in the eighth which was set up well thanks to a good first stone by Scottish third Glen Muirhead. Eventually, Murdoch had a draw for three but was slightly short and tapped up a Swiss stone into second shot position, and had to settle for one. The Scots forced Switzerland to take a single in the ninth and controlled the tenth, thanks to two good tick shots by lead Richard Woods, leaving Murdoch with an open draw for the win.

Afterwards, a pleased Murdoch said, “I think those guys dodged bullets the whole game. We had a three in the first that could have been a four, he played an absolutely incredible shot to avoid giving us a five”.
More generally, he added, “I thought we had a really good performance and we’ve really stepped up from yesterday. That was solid – those guys have been winning tour events all season, so I’m really pleased with that. I’ve never been the best at starting at Championships but that’s two wins under the belt, so that’s a great way to start”.

Looking forward, he said, “Germany tonight – they played well and beat Sweden yesterday, so every game’s a tough one”.


Men, round 2: Denmark 7, Latvia 3; Norway 6, Czech republic 3; Scotland 6, Switzerland 5; Germany 7, Italy 4; Sweden 8, France 2.

Standings after 2 rounds: Denmark, Germany, Scotland won 2, lost 0; Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland 1-1; Czech Republic, France, Italy 0-2.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/Richard Gray


Women game 2: Scotland 2, Denmark 12

The Scottish women suffered a shocking defeat in their second game of the Le Gruyère European Championships, going down by 2-12 to Denmark’s Lene Nielsen in just six ends.

The Scots started with the hammer but gave up a steal of two in the first end. Things got worse from there with Denmark stealing a single in the third and a further four in the third end when an attempted Muirhead promote tap-up went wrong.

The Scots finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Muirhead hit and stayed for one, but the wheels really came off the buggy in the fifth end, with Denmark piling on the agony with a score of five.
It was clear that the Scots had decided the cause was lost at the fifth-end break, and the teams went through the motions of playing the obligatory sixth end. The Scots shook hands before Muirhead’s last hit and stay came to rest.

Afterwards, a shell-shocked Muirhead was at a loss to explain the collapse. “That was a nightmare. I didn’t have a clue where to put the brush and none of us had our weight, it was just all over the place. We’re just going to have to forget about that”.

By contrast her opposing skip Nielsen said, “I didn’t expect that – usually we play close games. We had a better feeling for the ice this evening and they struggled a bit so that was the difference. We lost a really tight game against Sweden this morning, so this was a good win”.
The Scottish women now face unbeaten Sweden and then the Czech Republic on Sunday.


W2: Russia 10, Italy 5; Scotland 2, Denmark 12; Switzerland 5, Germany 7 (extra end); Sweden 12, Czech Republic 0; Norway 6, Latvia 8.

Standings after 2 sessions: Germany, Sweden won 2, lost 0; Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Russia, Scotland 1-1; Norway, Switzerland 0-2.

Report: Mike Haggerty, Picture: WCF/ Richard Gray



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