2017 European Curling Championships Update
MEN’s FINAL: Scotland takes silver
Scotland 5 Sweden 10
The final match of ECC2017 was in front of a packed house in St Gallen. Sweden were determined to retain their European title and retain their place at the top of the leaderboard. In their head to head win comparison Edin leads Smith 14-4 but the Scottish players had proved their skills and abilities to go all the way.
The first end was looking like a blank from Sweden but Kyle Smith’s final stone was slightly off and flashed past the Swedish counter to allow Edin to draw for 2. The second end turned into a hitting contest which allowed Scotland to blank it to retain hammer for the third end. Sweden settled into the rhythm of the game and were in command in the early part of the game. Thomas Muirhead made a great clear out when the Swedes started to build a nest in the house, but despite this Scots managed to be light with their last stone and give up a steal of 1. In the fourth, the Scots managed their weight control to draw for 2, closing the gap to just one point. In the fifth, Scotland were lying three in the house and Sweden went for a triple but just took out one Scottish stone and allowing Kyle Smith to draw to with his last resting back tee and Edin was light with his and a steal of 1 for the Scots.
In the sixth, Edin elected to blank the end. Scotland seem to gave gained the momentum. In the seventh, Scotland continued to make some great technical shots and ask Sweden to make all the hard decisions and finish with a draw against three Scottish stones for the 1 point, to nudge ahead 4-3. Scotland continued their good form and split the house to give themselves an easy take out to score 2 and take the lead 5-4.
Sweden came back onto form in the ninth and managed to push Scotland to have the difficult shots and finished taking 2 points. Scotland went into the tenth end with hammer and needing to make two for the win. Sweden executed a brilliant double take-out, keeping two of their own stones in play and made an open take out to deny Scotland two and the last Scottish stone was heavy giving up 4 to Sweden for the championship, for the fourth in a row.
Kyle Smith was disappointed not to win, but the margins were very small and all the Scottish men should be proud of their silver medal performance.
WOMEN’s FINAL: Scotland become European Champions
Scotland 6 Sweden 3
The battles between Scotland and Sweden have been a regular feature at European Championships over the years and these teams have met on 19 previous occasions with Muirhead leading 10-9, so was going to be close. From the ECC2017 analytics, there was only a one percent difference in percentages between these two teams going into the final but the score and not the percentages are what counts. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
Scotland took a little more time than the Swedes to get into the game but forced Sweden to a single in the first. Sweden made an open hit to remove a Scottish stone and have two stones in close and Muirhead performed a hit and roll to take 1 and level the scores. The Scots put the Swedes under pressure and finished with two stones in play forcing Hasselborg to draw for a single. In the fourth, with five guards, the teams exchanged precision hits through a narrow port and a double take out by the Swedes let Muirhead blank the end with a take out. Scotland also blanked the fifth, so Sweden had a 2-1 lead at the break. Both teams had found the ice a little tricky and different from the semi-final.
In the sixth, Scotland manage to split the house and a succession of hits gave Scotland 2 points and the lead for the first time. In the seventh Scotland forced Sweden to draw for a single and in the eighth Scotland were poised for two when Hasselborg went through the house but Muirhead’s shot caught on a guard and Scotland scored a single. Scotland challenged Sweden in the ninth and were lying two with one guarded by a Swedish stone, Hasselborg didn’t manage the weight with her draw and the Scots scored a steal of 1.
(Photo credit: WCF)
The last end Sweden were two down, with hammer and again Scotland put them under pressure. The Swedes were chasing after the Scottish shots from the outset and the last Scottish stone from Muirhead hit out a Swedish stone and forced Hasselborg to a very technical tap back which she failed to achieve, handing Scotland a steal of 1 and the title.
This performance by the Scottish women was a great step on the road to Pyeongchang for the Olympics in February 2018. It was Scotland’s Women’s eighth consecutive European medal and was Eve Muirhead’s 100th game for Scotland at a European Championships.
SEMI FINAL: Scotland 7 Switzerland 5
In Switzerland at the #ECC2017 women’s semi final Scotland’s women, who lost to the Swiss in the round robin, were hungry for revenge and “at stake” a place in the final, alongside Scotland’s men who were already there. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
Both teams seemed happy to start with a warm up of a hitting end and the Swiss failed to take hold in the second and blanked it too. It really was a case of who blinks first. The Scots started to put the Swiss under pressure and a hogline violation by the Swiss third, gave Scotland a chance to lie two, then a miss by Tirinzoni meant three Scottish stones were in and counting, Tirinzoni hit one and rolled out for a steal of 2 in the third. A “stoater” was the technical term for that one, according to a Scots fan in the crowd. This loss of two seemed to fire up the Swiss who built effectively and capitalized on a caught guard and a shot that went wide, for a 3 in the fourth end. Scotland blanked the fifth and went into the break one point down.
In the sixth, Muirhead attempted a double take-out but caught a guard, the Swiss drew in another and Scotland’s attempt at a treble , one jammed, giving Switzerland a steal of one. In the seventh Tirinzoni took a double lying two on either side, forcing Muirhead to draw for 1. Good tactical play from the Scottish team in the eighth forced the Swiss to take a single. Scotland set up nicely in the ninth and the last Swiss stone rolled just wide allowing Muirhead to draw for 3.
The tenth and final end Anna Sloan made an excellent draw to guard the shot Scottish stone, then a wide Swiss stone went straight through, Scotland placed another guard. Tirinzoni managed to knock three Scottish stones to clear the front but Muirhead replaced the guard and left Tirinzoni with a long angle raise which proved too difficult and Scotland left with a 7-5 win and a place in the final on Saturday at 9am (UK time) against Sweden.
SEMI FINAL: Scotland 9 Switzerland 8
The #ECC2017 men’s semi-final provided a chance for revenge for Scotland’s men who lost to the Swiss in the round robin and were hungry for a spot in the final. The crowds turned out for this game and a lot of them had cow bells with them. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray).
As the higher ranked team the Swiss started with hammer and blanked the first end. Then in the second the Scots had accumulated three in the house and the attempt by the Swiss to draw onto the button failed resulting in a steal of 3 for Scotland. In the third the Swiss made a tap back for 2. In the fourth Scotland made a hit and stay to scored another 2 to have a three point lead. In the fifth end the Scots last stone was light and didn’t displace the swiss stone and went through so with a draw the Swiss scored 3. All tied on 5 at the break.
In the sixth end the house was getting overcrowded so a few big hits cleared out enough for Scotland to keep two counting and a tap back gave Scotland 2. In the seventh the Swiss hid a couple of stones on the side and a double take-out by Kyle Smith was successful and the Swiss levelled with a draw to an open house for 2. In the eighth end the Scots were lying 5 when the Swiss buried one, forcing the Scots to open it up but didn’t shift the Swiss stone and the Swiss drew a second stone into the four-foot and the double take out almost worked but one Swiss stone got caught by the back Scottish stones for a steal of 1 to the Swiss.
In the ninth Scotland couldn’t set up for two so opted to blank the end and kept the hammer for the tenth. With hammer in the tenth, Scotland was set up for two and the final draw took them into the final against Sweden on Saturday.
After the win, Kyle Smith said It feels “absolutely brilliant, we had an up and down game really we had spells when we played very well but a couple or really bad shots as well, but absolutely delighted”
On the Scottish team’s performance he said: “We got that early start with a steal of three which was pretty huge, but a team as good as they are, they are always going to come back at you. You just have to miss the odd double and all of a sudden you’re tied. We just dug deep and put them under a bit of pressure with the last one there and thankfully he didn’t make it.”
We now have the Scottish womens semi-final against Switzerland to look forward to, on Friday afternoon at 1pm (UK time).
Hungary 3 Scotland 9
In the last game of the round robin stage of #ECC2017, Scotland’s women played Hungary who are the 17th team from the world ranking. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
The teams were somewhat tentative in the first three ends, trading singles. In the fourth, Hungary went for a nose hit but rolled off, leaving Scotland scoring a steal of 1. In the fifth the Scots had three stones counting so forced the skip Palancsa to draw for 1.
Scotland made a breakthrough in the sixth end and scored 2 after splitting their stones across the house. In the seventh Scotland managed to lie with five stones in and counting, but the Hungarian skip managed a draw to score 1. Scotland in control in the eighth with three in the house, Eve Muirhead hit out the Hungarian stone near the centre and scored 4, and accepted the handshakes to close the game.
Scotland’s women finished in third place at the end of the round robin and qualified for the semi-final, against the Swiss team, played on Friday afternoon at 1.00pm (UK time). Before then Scotland’s men also play Switzerland at 6pm (UK time) in their semi-final.
Scotland 5 Netherlands 2
The last game in the round robin stage of the #ECC2017 for the Scottish men’s team of Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and Cammy Smith was against the Dutch who came into the event ranked 16 in the world. (Photo credit: WCF/Céline Stucki)
Scotland started with hammer and blanked the first end. The second was very tense with Kyle Smith using his last stone to draw against five Dutch stones in the house. In the third end the Scots built a presence in the house and were lying 3 when the Dutch made a perfect draw to the button for 1. The fourth end was played with only one guard placed by Scotland and all the action in the house, with the house split Van Dorp attempted a double take-out but only managed one, leaving Scotland with a draw for 2. In the fifth, Scotland kept two stones in play so forced the Dutch to draw for 1.
After the break both teams made all their shots which resulted in a blank end. The seventh was also blanked by Scotland. And another blank by the Scots in the eighth. Scotland built a cluster of three stones in the ninth but Van Dorp managed the triple so a fourth consecutive blank, with Scotland keeping the hammer with one point lead going into the tenth. With good technical execution Scotland finished with a hit and stay on a Dutch stone. Next game will be the semi-final at 6pm tonight in the UK.
Scotland 7 Switzerland 9
Following the earlier men’s clash against the home side, the Scottish women played in front of a large Swiss crowd. (Photo credit: WCF/Céline Stucki)
This encounter began with Scotland forced to take a 1, then Tirinzoni had to draw for 1. In the third end the Scots were outdrawing the Swiss then Eve Muirhead tapped back a Swiss stone to lie four and Tirinzoni called a time out, then played off one of her own stones to spin one to lie shot. Eve Muirhead made a double, moving the Swiss stone enough to score 1. In the fourth Scotland were lying shot with a guarded stone, Tirinzoni made a draw to roll one of her own for a single. The fifth was shot at pace looking like both teams were content with a blank but the last Scottish stone missed so a steal of 1 giving Swiss the lead at the break.
Scotland got right back into the game with a double take out for 2 in the sixth. The Swiss matched the quality of shot-making by scoring a 2 in the seventh. The Scots split the house giving Eve Muirhead a hit for 2. In the ninth the scots set up well but the last Scottish stone was short and promoted a Swiss stone which Tirinzoi followed with a precise take out to score 2 and the home fans went wild! One down with hammer in the last end was a challenge within reach for Scotland. Scotland recovered from a difficult situation with a double take out and Eve Muirhead made a draw to level the score and go into an extra end.
The Swiss tried to keep it clear but Scotland kept a stone in the 4 foot circle with a guard but the Swiss were on form and Tirinzoni picked off with precision to win the game 7-9.
Scotland’s last game in the round robin is against Hungary then in semi final it looks like there will be a rematch of this game on Friday afternoon.
Scotland 4 Switzerland 9
The arena was standing room only for the men’s Scotland v Switzerland game and the sound of cow bells rung out before the first stone had been played. The Swiss men were the only undefeated side in the competition in their penultimate game. (Photo credit: WCF/Céline Stucki)
Scotland started with hammer and but the Swiss forced Kyle Smith to draw for a 1 in the first end. The Swiss blanked the second end. In the third Kyle Smith played a “belter” to remove two Swiss stones, then Schwarz played hit and roll, which the Scots removed, forcing the Swiss skip to draw for 1. The Swiss put on the pressure requiring a double take-out and a tap back for Scotland to score a 1. In the fifth the Swiss squeezed past a guard to remove a Scottish counter and lie three. The final Scottish stone was heavy and took one out but rolled away leaving an easy draw for 3.
After the break Scotland managed a raised double and draw for 1. In the seventh Kyle Smith was short with a draw but Schwarz was also short though still managed to score 2. End eight the Swiss managed to get a lot of stones in play and with little margin for error Kyle Smith’s last stone drew well against 4 Swiss counters to score 1. Playing with immaculate Swiss precision a score of 3 finished the game. We all left the arena with the sound of cow bells ringing in our ears.
Scotland 8 Czech Republic 4
In their seventh game at #ECC2017 Scotland’s women played Czech Republic. (Photo credit: WCF/E.Howard).
The Scots started with hammer and managed get past three guards and a stone at the front of the house to remove a Czech stone from the centre and score 3. In the second, the Czechs set up two stones at the front of the house and Scotland’s attempt at double take out left one and Kubeskova made a draw for 2. In the third the Czechs were unable to get stones behind their guard, leaving Eve Muirhead a hit for 2. With lots of stones in play and both skips trying to work out the angles the Czech skip tried to hit and roll to score four, but it hit the nose and left the Scots stone untroubled for a steal of 1. In the fifth, Scotland had 3 stones counting, giving Kubescova a nose hit for 1. The score at the break was 6-3.
The Scots blanked the sixth rather than score one and having split the house made a nose hit to score 2 in the seventh. A double take out and stay by Vicky Adams made it difficult for the Czechs to get a foothold in the eighth and precision shooting by the Scottish players left Kubeskova with a draw to an open house for 1 and they shook hands.
After six wins from seven games the Scottish women share second place with the Swiss and qualified for the play-offs.
Norway 7 Scotland 8
Another demanding game for the Scottish men against the Norwegian team skipped by 46 year old Thomas Ulsrud. (Photo credit: WCF/Céline Stucki)
The Scots started with hammer and with Scotland lying two, Ulsrud tried a double take out, but only removed one stone and rolled to the centre. Kyle Smith removed the Norwegian stone to open his account with 2. The Norwegians blanked the second. In the third end, Scotland were lying three when Kyle Smith made a draw to the front and Ulsrud made a hit for 1. Scotland were lying one in a cluster, which Ulsrud tried to scatter but left the Scottish shot and Kyle Smith drew for 2. In the fifth, a spectacular double with the last Scottish stone forced Norway to blank the end and leave Scotland 4-1 up at the break. During the break Ulsrud was joking with the crowd that he needs help and should sub some or all of his team!
Joking aside Norway got back into the game after the break and although Scotland were lying three, Ulsrud cleared two and managed to bring a winger into play for 2. In the seventh the Norwegians split the house forcing Scotland to hit for 1. In end eight, Norway had one in the middle with a good guard and Scotland’s attempt to remove two but only removed the guard so Ulsrud made a draw for 2, scores all square on 5’s. End nine was a bit scrappy and the last Norwegian stone was wide and ran through, so the Scots drew for 2. In the tenth end Ulsrud made a triple take out to score 2. All tied, so Scotland go into the extra end with last stone. The Scots kept a clear house, and Kyle Smith drew to the centre for the game.
After seven games Scotland is in third place and next up will be the home team who top the table and remain unbeaten.
Turkey 3 Scotland 8
The Scottish women took to the ice this afternoon against one of the tournament’s surprise packages, Turkey, who sit on 2 wins from their 6 games so far. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
Scotland won hammer and controlled the early stages of the game. Some excellent double take-outs from the Turks meant the Scots had to wait for their chance to score 2. This chance came in the third end when the Turkish skip narrowly missed an attempt at a double takeout and with a successful nose hit by Eve Muirhead, the Scots took a 2-0 lead. At the conclusion of the 4th end, the Scots lay shot, guarded, but a runback from the Turks ensured they scored a single point. With Turkey unable to reproduce their doubles of earlier, the Scots successfully split the house and scored 2 to take a 4-1 lead into the break.
After a blank end to begin the second half, the seventh end looked to be heading Scotland’s way. Following a triple takeout from the Turkish third and a double from their skip, the final Scotland stone overcurled, missing a takeout and Turkey drew into the house to score 2 points. The eighth end saw Turkey pressing hard to steal but a precise hit and roll from Anna Sloan left the Turkish skip needing to make another double takeout to only give up two. She was successful but Scotland drew for 2 points and opened up at 3 point lead.
The 9th end proved to be the last. With some excellent build-up play, the Scots lay 3 with one stone to come. The Turkish skip was unable to make her elected shot, gave up a steal of two and handshakes were offered.
The women return to action tomorrow with two games against Czech Republic and the home nation, Switzerland. One win would see them clinch a playoff spot.
Scotland 4 Sweden 5
The rivalry between curlers from Sweden and Scotland is always good humoured but very real, so this match was going to be a nail biter. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
The game got off to a flying start with Sweden scoring 2 after Scotland’s attempt to tap back to remove a Swedish st
one was tight and left Sweden an easy draw for the 2. Scotland blanked the second and went on to level the scores by splitting the house, Sweden tried a double at speed, hit one and rolled across, narrowly missing the second, Kyle Smith made a draw for 2.
Both teams were playing superbly and blanked ends four, five and six. In the seventh Scotland set up with 4 stones in the house to force Edin to draw for a single.
Scotland had the house split on the wings, so Edin drew round a Scottish guard with his first, then Kyle Smith executed a run-back with the Swedish stone lying shot out wide. With his final stone Edin drew round the guard again, so Kyle Smith went for the double take out but caught the guard giving up a steal of 2. In the ninth Scotland set up with two in the house and Sweden chasing, leaving Kyle Smith with a simple draw for 2. Scotland built a good final end with a stone close to the centre and repeated guards but Sweden kept clearing, removed the shot stone and then hit out an exposed Scottish stone with his last shot to blank the end and keep the winning score.
Scotland now in 4th place on the leader board, with three games to go against Norway, Switzerland and Netherlands.
Germany 5 Scotland 8
In their fifth game, Scotland’s women faced Germany (11th team in world rankings) who had yet to win a game at #ECC2017. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
Scotland started with hammer and when the German skip went for a double take out but only took one, Scotland scored a 2. Lying two against, the German skip was wide with her strike, rolled out leaving Scotland lying shot for a steal of 1. The Germans were really struggling and lying four against, the German skip could only remove one and roll out leaving a steal of 3. In the fourth end the German skip managed a nose hit for 1. The Germans placed guard after guard on the centre line to protect a stone just short of the four-foot, leaving a tricky draw for Muirhead and the stone stopped short for a German steal of 1 and score of 6-2 at the break.
The sixth end saw the Germans set up a tricky final shot but the Scots made a strike through a port for 1. In the seventh the Scots kept two stones in the house and forced the Germans to draw for 1. Then the Germans set up a well guarded stone in the centre and forced Scots to draw for a single. In the ninth end the Scottish team kept a tight control except their last that didn’t clear the German stone from the house, leaving a straight hit for 2. Scotland went into the tenth three-up with the last stone. The Germans set up guards and piled stones into the house but the Scots were keeping the field of play as clear as they could and finished with a double take-out by Muirhead for final score 5-8.
Scotland’s women were striking with such precision, they made it difficult for the Germans to make any impact and finished the day ranked second equal. It has been a long day with two games each for the men and women in St Gallen. Tomorrow the Scottish men face Sweden and then the women are against Turkey.
Scotland 8 Slovakia 1
In their fifth game, Scotland’s men faced Slovakia (24th team in world rankings) who had yet to win a game at #ECC2017. (Photo credit: WCF/Céline Stucki)
The game started with a 2 in the first end for Scotland, followed by a steal of 3 when Scotland was lying three and the Slovakian skips draw for a single was heavy went through the house. Scotland increased their lead to 7-0 after stealing a 2 in the third end, then Slovakia blanked the fourth. The Slovakian skip failed to make a straightforward hit for a two but with a hogline violation on his last throw left Scotland a further steal of 1.
The sixth end saw Slovakia hit and roll off a Scottish stone to open their account and then shake hands.
Scotland 8 Italy 1
In their first game of the day Scotland’s women faced Italy, who had won all three of their first games. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
Italy wrecked on a guard leaving Scotland a draw for 2 in the first end. Italy blanked the second end and in the third Scotland was lying 3 when the Italian skip had a draw for one but her stone clipped one of the front stones and slid through to give up a big steal of 3. In the fourth end Muirhead made a double with her last stone and left 3 Scottish stones counting and this time Gaspari made the draw to score 1. In the fifth Scotland had one on the eight foot, Muirhead drew to the centre behind the tee. Gaspari drew but half checked allowed Scotland to remove it for 2. In the Sixth Scotland had two stones counting and Italy hit but rolled off, giving Scotland a steal of 1 and handshakes.
The Scottish women sit in third equal place after four games, next up they face Germany (who have yet to win a game) at 7pm UK time this evening.
Germany 6 Scotland 4
The Scottish Men faced Germany in their fourth game of the week, aiming to keep their unbeaten record.
Germany started with hammer but were forced to just 1. In the second end the Germans stole 1. Scotland blanked the third and the Germans stole another single in the fourth. Scotland played really well in the fifth and got onto the board with a 2 at the break.
The Germans were forced to take 1 in the sixth. In the seventh, the Scots crept the back stone forward to give Kyle Smith a clean double take out and kept the shooter in for 2 and tie the score at 4 all. In the eighth end Scotland built a good clutch of stones but in removing the German stone from the button left Germany with a chance of three but they only managed 2. The ninth end the Germans made a good double take out so Scotland blanked the end to keep hammer in the last end, two points behind. The Germans created a lot of pressure by taking away the Scottish stones and denied them the chance of scoring 2 needed to keep in the game.
Scotland 6 Denmark 1
In emphatic style, the Scottish women (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicky Adams, Lauren Gray and alternate Kelly Wood) swept aside Denmark in eight ends. (Photo credit: WCF/Celine Stucki)
Scotland started with hammer and used it to good effect to open their account with 2. Denmark blanked the second end and saw the Scots steal 1 in the third. The Danes were able to score 1 in the fourth to get on the scoreboard. The Scots blanked the fifth and only managed a single in the sixth but followed that with single steals in ends seven and eight.
The team all played well and made their shots. The standings now show Scotland (2 wins and 1 loss) in fourth place with Hungary.
Russia 3 Scotland 5
In their third game, Scotland’s men blanked the first end under good pressure from the Russian team. The Russians engineered a steal of 1 in the second and they forced Scotland to take single in the third. Scotland managed to force the Russians to take a single in the fourth and then the Scots seemed to take control of the game, scoring 2 in the fifth. Photo credit: WCF/Celine Stucki
The Russian skip had a triple takeout then tap up against three for a 1 in the sixth. There was a text book seventh end by the Scots who split the house and secured 2. Ends eight and nine were blanked by the Russians under pressure after great Scottish double take outs in each end. The tenth end saw Kyle Smith with another double take out to win the game.
This sees Scotland at the top of the table tied in first place with three wins and no losses alongside Sweden and Switzerland.
Russia 7 Scotland 8
The game against last year’s champions was always going to be tight and proved to be just that from start to finish. Scotland’s women used the hammer to tap back one of their own stones to open the game with 2 in the first end. Russia came back in the second end by splitting the house and a hit and stay on the left hand side removed the Scottish stones to score 2. In the third end the final shot cleared the Russian shot stone and rolled out, but a Russia stone out wide was in the house by a fraction so gave them a steal of one. In the fourth Scotland managed to split the house and leave a straightforward nose hit to score 2. In the fifth end the Russians built a clutch of stones in the middle behind two Scottish guards and the Scots placed a stone in the centre which the Russians could not remove, so Scotland stole 1.
End six saw an exchange of hits and a blank end. There were a lot of stones in play in the seventh with Scotland lying shot and the last Russian stone clipped the front Scottish stone and rolled into the four foot for a single point. In the eighth end Sidorova landed a stone in the four foot and Muirhead’s attempt at a tap back was wide and nudged her own stone out to give Russia a steal of 2 and one point lead with two ends to play. Scotland played well to score 2 in the ninth and both teams used timeouts in the tenth with Scotland lying two at the end to force Russia to draw for a single to take the game into an extra end.
The Russians put up two centre guards and one on the button with Vicky Adams replacing the shot stone with her own, then the Russians kept replacing centre guards and Scotland removed them. The first Russian skip stone put up a guard and Scotland closed down the options with a good short guard, forcing Sidorova to attempt to promote her own stone and remove the Scottish stone but the Scottish stone stayed in the four foot and Muirhead didn’t need to play her last stone.
Austria 3 Scotland 7
After their opening victory against Italy, Kyle Smith and the Scottish Men’s Team faced the 18th ranked team Austria who had lost 10-6 to Sweden earlier in the day. (Photo credit: WCF/Richard Gray)
Scotland started with hammer and blanked the first end, it was a hitting match with neither team placing any guards. The Scots then built a number of stones and took 3 in the second end. Austria blanked the third and were forced to take a single in the fourth. Scotland scored 2 in the fifth to take a lead of four at the break.
The Scottish team kept up the pressure on the Austrians who were forced to a single in the sixth and Scotland played a sound performance to take 2 in the seventh. Austria were forced to a single in the eighth and shook hands, conceding the last two ends.
Sweden 5 Scotland 2
The first game for Scotland’s women, led by Eve Muirhead was against Sweden ranked one place behind Scotland in WCF rankings at 5th. The Swedes were skipped by Anna Hasselborg.
The game started with four blank ends, the fourth saw the Swedes build stones in the house but two double take-outs by Anna Sloan were well timed. The sparks began to fly in the fifth end with Sweden taking control and building with momentum. A run-back and a tap-back by Anna Sloan were matched by Sweden who kept two stones in play and Eve Muirhead’s run back guard onto the shot stone left Hasselborg with a draw for 3.
The second half began with Sweden building on their momentum and getting 4 stones in play. This called for the Scots to play technically accurate shots and Eve Muirhead finished with a draw onto the button for a single. Sweden started well in the seventh but failed to stay in with their last shot, so were reduced to a single. In the eighth end Scotland built with two behind Swedish guards, so the Swedes use their time-out to ponder their tactics, swiftly followed by a Scottish time-out. Both teams continued to pile in stones gingerly, an attempt for hit and roll to nudge out a Swedish counter doesn’t quite work and Scotland settles for a single. Sweden forced to a single in the ninth. With hammer in the last, Scotland required 3 to tie, Sweden keep stones out of play and deny the Scots from getting back into the game.
This was always going to be one of the toughest games this week and both teams show capability of being in the hunt for medals by the end of the championship.
Scotland 7 Italy 3
The Scottish men opened their participation in the 2017 European Curling Championships by playing Italy. The Italian men are ranked 14th in the world and are skipped by Joel Retornaz, who led the Italian team at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Scotland started with hammer in the first end and used it to blank the end so keep the hammer and score 2 in the second. Italy bounced back with 2 in the third end and were lying 2 in the fourth so forced Scotland to draw for a single point. The fifth end was the turning-point when the Italian skip caught the guard and gave up a steal of 2.
After the break Scotland piled the pressure on the Italians and stole 1 for a four point lead. Italy were under a lot of pressure with four Scottish stones in the house and their skip used a draw to get back on the scoreboard with a single point. The eighth end was played quickly with Italy placing two stones behind the button so leaving Kyle Smith a freeze to score a single. Few stones were in play in the ninth end and Italy blanked the end. Italy then conceded the victory to the Scots and shook hands.
2017 European Curling Championships Preview
Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2017, St Gallen, Switzerland
Great Britain’s 2018 Olympic curlers, Team Smith and Team Muirhead will represent Scotland at the 2017 Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships, which get underway at the weekend in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
A total of 27 countries will take part across the men’s and women’s “A” and “B” divisions with medals, promotion, world championship qualification and crucial Olympic momentum all at stake. Play starts on Saturday 18th November with round-robin play continuing throughout the week at St. Gallen’s Eissportzentrum Lerchenfield, with semi-finals scheduled for Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th November. The world challenge games and showpiece finals will conclude the event on Saturday 25th November.
The ten “A” Division men’s teams that will compete are: Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, two time defending European champions Sweden, and Switzerland. The top 8 teams will qualify their nations for the 2018 World Curling Championships in Las Vegas, USA.
Team Smith return to the European Championships for the second time after their debut in 2015 in Esbjerg. In Denmark, they lost out in a tight tiebreaker and so will be looking to advance further and get onto the podium. The team features skip Kyle Smith, and his brother Cameron at lead, while alternate Glen Muirhead joins his brother Thomas, who plays at third, in the line-up. Kyle Waddell is second player for the Scots, who are coached by Viktor Kjäll.
The Scottish men open their round-robin programme on Saturday morning against Italy, skipped by Joel Retornaz and return on the ice in the evening to face an Austrian team skipped by Sebastian Wunderer.
Eve Muirhead is joined once again by third Anna Sloan, second player Vicki Adams, lead Lauren Gray along with alternate Kelly Schafer and coach Glenn Howard. The other teams in the women’s “A” Division are: Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, defending champions Russia, Sweden, hosts Switzerland and Turkey.
The Scottish women are no stranger to European medals. A bronze medallists at last season’s European Championships was the seventh consecutive medal won by both Eve Muirhead and Anna Sloan and a sixth in a row for the rest of the team. With a sole European title coming in 2011, Team Murihead will have their eyes on gold. They start with one game in the afternoon of Saturday 18th November, against the stiff opposition of Sweden, led by Anna Hasselborg. They follow that with two more tough tests on Sunday in the form of 2015 European Champion and current world silver medalist, Anna Sidorova of Russia and the experienced Danish outfit skipped by Madeleine Dupont.
From these Championships, eight women’s teams will qualify their nations for the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Thunder Bay, Canada next March. However, with all roads leading to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a European medal would lay down a marker for a serious medal prospect in Korea in February.
This website will feature daily reports and reaction from the games involving the Scottish teams. The Scotland schedule is as follows:
|Sat 18th Nov||08:00||Men: SCO v ITA|
|13:00||Women: SWE v SCO (streamed live on WCTV)|
|18:30||Men: AUT v SCO|
|Sun 19th Nov||08:00||Women: RUS v SCO|
|12:00||Men: RUS v SCO|
|18:00||Women: SCO v DEN|
|Mon 20th Nov||07:00||Men: GER v SCO (streamed on WCTV)|
|11:00||Women: SCO v ITA|
|15:00||Men: SCO v SVK|
|19:00||Women: GER v SCO|
|Tues 21st Nov||08:00||MEN: SCO v SWE|
|13:00||Women: TUR v SCO|
|18:00||Men: NOR v SCO|
|Wed 22nd Nov||08:00||Women: SCO v CZE|
|13:00||Men: SCO v SUI|
|18:00||Women: SCO v SUI (streamed on WCTV)|
|Thur 23rd Nov||08:00||Men: SCO v NED|
|13:00||Women: HUN v SCO|
|18:00||Semi-finals: Men (1v4 and 2v3)|
|Fri 24th Nov||13:00||Semi-finals: Women (1v4 and 2v3)|
|18:00||Bronze Medal Games : Men & Women + World Challenge Games|
|Sat 25th Nov||09:00||Gold Medal Game: Women|
|14:00||Gold Medal Game: Men|
Live internet streaming is available on WCTV, but may be geo-blocked in some countries, while the WCF website will carry regular up-dates.
Full results, statistics, news and photos from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2017 can be seen on the WCF’s official event website
Facebook Twitter: @worldcurling, Hashtags: #ecc2017 #curling
Photo Credit: Alan Peebles Photography