2018 European Curling Championships Update
Men’s Final: Scotland 9 Sweden 6
The final of the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2018 was contested between Scotland and Sweden. A first appearance for Scotland’s Team Mouat at a European Championships and Sweden’s Team Edin were defending their title of four years.
Their round robin game had been a close encounter and Scotland were confident to take them on again. “Hopefully next time…hopefully we’ll get to play them again” Bruce Mouat had commented.
Scotland stole 1 in the first end but Sweden hit back with a 2 in the next end and the same pattern arose over the following two ends with a blanked fifth to make the score 2-4 at half time.
In the sixth end Scotland stepped up a gear and set themselves up for 2 with an open draw to the eight foot. Sweden were forced to draw for 1 in the seventh end against 3 Scottish counters and Bruce Mouat again drew for 2 in the eighth end to give Scotland the lead for the first time, 6-5. Sweden were happy to blank the ninth end to keep last stone advantage in the tenth end and Scotland didn’t want to lose more than 1 so the end was kept pretty clean and resulted in the blanked end. The tenth end was set up perfectly by lead Hammy McMillan and when followed up by the rest of the team, Scotland were lying 3 shots when Swedish skip, Niklas Edin, attempted to play a raise on his own stone but he caught a guard and Bruce Mouat, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie, Hammy McMillan, Ross Whyte and coach Alan Hannah were deservedly crowned European Champions.
After the game Bruce said “It’s unbelievable. It was a very good game. I’m so proud of the guys for playing so well and getting the shots. We’ve worked really hard this first half of the season. To get this is just kinda the cherry on top of what we’ve really been working for.”
In addition, Team Mouat have qualified Scotland for the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Men’s Semi Final: Scotland 9 Italy 6
Scotland played Italy again and the teams exchanged 1’s in the first two ends before Italian skip, Joel Retornaz, drew with his last stone to score 2 points and take a 3-1 lead. In the fourth end Bruce Mouat was left with a hit to lie 2 counters and they stole a further shot in the fifth end. The score was 4-3 at the break.
After nine ends the score was 6-4 and the Italian skip played a double takeout to lie 2 shots and take the game to an extra end. Scotland played an excellent extra end which started with lead, Hammy McMillan, successfully making both tick shots. The rest of the end was kept clean and Bruce was left with a nose hit to score 3 shots and win the game.
Bruce was delighted by the way his team have performed. “We’re so happy that we were able to come out and fight hard like that in a semi-final. We’re just over the moon to get to play in a final. I was gearing up to play a bit of a tougher shot, not just a nose-hit…I thought I was maybe going to have to draw the four-foot. It was really nice to have an open hit. The guys played an awesome last end, Hammy made two perfect ticks and the guys made their peels, it was great.”
Scotland go on to face defending men’s champions, Sweden, in the Gold Medal game at 1pm (UK time) on Saturday.
Women Game 9: Scotland 5 Switzerland 6
Scotland’s dream of defending their title was shattered this afternoon in an extra end against unbeaten Switzerland in their last round robin game.
It was a close game all the way, played at the highest level and Scotland showed their grit and determination to want to qualify. In the tenth end Swiss fourth player, Alina Paetz, played a draw to score two to take the game to an extra end. In the extra end Eve Muirhead was left with a draw to the edge of the button but her stone didn’t swing and enough and Switzerland continued their unbeaten run.
Eve reflected on their week by saying “It was a really good game and we played really well, but it was tough at the end there. I played perfect weight and it just didn’t curl enough. It’s just been one of those weeks, we’ve just been on the wrong side of the inch all week, and that just sums it up.”
Scotland finished the round robin in sixth position and have qualified for the World Women’s Curling Championship in Silkeborg, Denmark next March.
Men Game 9: Scotland 10 Finland 4
Scotland opened the scoring, drawing for 2 in the first end and went on two steal the next two ends. The fourth end was blanked before Finland clawed 3 shots back in the fifth end to bring the score back to 5-3.
The Scots came back out after the break with their form from the first 3 ends to score 2 in the sixth end and a further 3 in the eighth end when Finland decided to call it a day.
After the game Bruce said “That was a good round-robin from our team, so we’re pretty happy with that. We’ve got second spot which is what you want – that gives us hammer in the semi-final.”
Women Game 8: Scotland 7 Russia 8
The Scottish women played Russia who were on the same win/loss record as them. This was an important playoff qualification game.
It was a strong game for Scotland, but equally for Russia. A score of two, after a takeout by Eve, in the fourth end tied the score 3-3 but Scotland lost another 2 in the fifth end to be 2 shots down at the break. They came back out firing with last stone advantage in the sixth end and when Eve played a double takeout with her last stone they scored two. Exchanging 1’s over the next three ends Scotland entered the tenth end leading 7-6.
Scotland had a chance to lie 1, freezing against 2 Russian counters at the back of the four foot, with Eve Muirhead’s last stone but an unfortunate turn of luck when the stone picked up as she was delivering it meant it didn’t take the line they had hoped for and Russia didn’t require to play their final stone.
A disappointing loss for Scotland however their semi final hopes are not over. They face Switzerland in a must win last round robin game at 12 noon tomorrow. Germany are the other team in contention and they are up against Sweden.
Switzerland 8-0 Q
Sweden 6-2 Q
Russia 5-3 Q
Czech Republic 2-6
Men Game 8: Scotland 8 Sweden 9
The men faced Niklas Edin’s undefeated Swedish side in this afternoons game.
It was a tight game but Scotland gave up 3 in the fifth end when Edin played a raised takeout and they were 4-2 down at the break. The game turned again in the sixth end when Scottish skip Bruce Mouat was this time left a hit to lie 4 counters and Scotland took a two shot lead. After nine ends Scotland had an 8-6 lead but a few half shots left Sweden with two counters in the house when Edin played a hit on the single Scottish stone and lay 3 for the win.
“Hopefully next time…hopefully we’ll get to play them again. We played really well there and were happy with the performance. It was just a bit of a slack last end. The timeclock influenced our last shot. It was a tough situation – we needed to play one double and it was a case of whatever looked best. We managed to get a big end against them so hopefully we can do it again.” – Bruce Mouat.
The men play Finland in their last round robin game at 7am (UK time) before their semi final encounter at 5pm.
Women Game 7: Scotland 9 Germany 2
Scotland know they have to treat every game like a final from now on to keep their semi final hopes alive and they have done just that.
Muirhead’s rink kept control throughout the whole game, scoring 2 with a last stone draw in the first end and stealing 1 in the second. They kept the game open and forced German skip, Daniela Jentsch, to take 1 in the third and seventh ends. With her final stone in the eighth end Eve had an open hit to score 4 points and Germany conceded the game.
After the game Eve said ” To keep ourselves in contention, we had to have some wins, because we dropped a couple of silly ones early on, but no, we played really well today, it was our best game by far and I think that’s good timing for that, so that we can keep building.”
Men Game 7: Scotland 7 Italy 6
Scotland have qualified for the semi finals of the European Championships with an extra end win against Italy.
They found themselves 4-1 down after four ends and battled their way back into the game scoring 2 in the fifth end with a last stone button draw and stealing 1 in the sixth end. It was scores of 1 all the way to the end thereafter. The extra end was kept open and when Italian skip, Joel Retornaz’s, last stone crept into the top of the four foot it left Bruce a nose hit to win the game.
After the game Bruce said “That was a really good grind by the guys. We fell behind at the start of the game; we didn’t really string a lot of shots together, so it was really nice to see that we could grind and get that “W” on the board.”
Women Game 6: Scotland 10 Finland 5
The women came out firing and controlled the game from the first end. They forced Finland’s Oona Kauste to draw for one in the first end and were just short of scoring 2 in the second end with a four foot draw. They went on to steal 2 in the third end however and a button draw from Muirhead in the 5th end saw the Scottish women score 3 and take a 6-3 lead.
In the second half of the game the Scots just had to maintain their lead and when Eve played a double takeout in the eighth end to score another 3 Finland conceded the game at a score of 10-5.
After the game Eve said “We’ve got to treat every game like a final now. We’ve got to take one game at a time. That was a good game we all played well, so hopefully that might be the turn that we need to keep going for the last three.”
Men Game 6: Scotland 8 Netherlands 5
The Scots played Netherlands in their first game of the day. They are skipped by Jaap Van Dorp with Wouter Goesgens playing last stones. They got off to a good start scoring 3 in the first end and later Bruce Mouat said “we had a really good first end and managed to get a good score of three and then lost control a bit. But as soon as we came on after the half time break, it was almost as if we were a new team.”
As described by Bruce, they lost control when Netherlands stole a single point in the third end and then took three in the fifth end to go 4-5 behind at half time. But in the sixth end Bruce played a takeout with his last stone to score 2 and go one shot ahead. They then stole single points in the seventh and eighth ends. The ninth end was blanked and Netherlands kept last stone advantage going into the final end but with the score already at 8-5 Scotland ran their opposition out of stones and didn’t require to finish the end.
“We’re starting to put a few good performances together and it’s starting to show that we’re really here to play” – Bruce Mouat.
Women Game 5: Scotland 7 Latvia 9
The women found themselves on the back foot straight from word go as the Latvian counters built up and they lost a score of 5. They fought back though, hitting for 2 in the second end and stealing 1 in the third. There were a lot of stones in the house in the fourth end but Scotland held Latvia to only score 1 and with a tap back from Eve in the fifth end Scotland scored another 2 and were only 1 down at 5-6 going into the break.
The Latvian side maintained their lead in the second half of the game and despite their best efforts Scotland were unable to take control.
Men Game 5: Scotland 11 Poland 2
The Scottish men were disappointed to have lost a game yesterday but certainly bounced back for their game this morning and on preparation for their afternoon game, Bruce said “We’ve got Poland next and we know that everyone who is in this A Division is tough. We know they had a great performance last year to get up here, so we’re not going to underestimate them.” And they certainly didn’t underestimate them as they came out firing from all cylinders to win in just 6 ends.
Scotland controlled the game from the start and were 3-0 ahead after three ends. A few slack shots in the fourth end allowed Poland a four foot draw for 2 but the Scots men hit back to take 2 in the fifth end to make the score 5-2 at the break.
The sixth end was to be the last end when Scotland scored a huge 6 and Bruce explained “That came out of nowhere. I just know that the stones started building up, and they kept missing and we kept chucking another one in there and we played a nice wee hit-and-roll with my last and he missed – I’ll take it happily. That was quite an important early win to get some rest.”
Women Game 4: Scotland 9 Italy 7
Scotland got off to a good start playing a simple end. Eve drew around a single Italian guard which they then caught when trying to remove the Scottish counter and made an open draw for 2 with her second shot. Italy were forced to draw for 1 in the second end and Eve played a great double tap on two Italian stones which were in the four foot to score 2 in the third. After seven ends Scotland found themselves 6-5 down. In the eighth end Eve played an angled raise takeout to score two and take the lead again. Scotland saw the game out 9-7 with an open hit with the last stone of the game.
Eve commented “Obviously, we’re delighted to get the win. After last night’s game we knew we needed to get a win, so I’m really pleased. It was a game of patience but as a team we stuck together.”
Men Game 4: Scotland 8 Switzerland 4
It’s a 4 game day in Tallinn and the men had the early start. They took on the Swiss side skipped by Peter De Cruz with Benoit Schwarz playing fourth stones.
The Scots came out much sharper this morning and controlled the game from the off stealing 1 in the first end when they lay 2 in the four foot and Schwarz only removed 1 stone. Scotland forced Switzerland to draw for 1 in the second end before taking 2 in the third when Bruce played a lovely tap back on the red Swiss counter around 2 guards. Scotland again controlled the fourth ending forcing Switzerland to 1 and got another 2 in the fifth end. At half time Scotland were winning 5-2.
The teams exchanged 1’s for the first 3 ends after the break and the Scottish men had a 6-4 lead going into the ninth end. Bruce was left with a takeout and scored 2 to take a 4 shot lead when Switzerland conceded the game.
The men are back in action at 2pm (UK time) when they face Poland.
Women Game 3: Scotland 7 Czech Republic 8
This evenings encounter began with Scotland forced to draw for 1, then stole 1 in the second end when the final Czech stone hit but rolled out of shot position. In the third end Czech skip, Anna Kubeskova, rolled away again but this time scored 1 and they stole another 1 in the fourth end. The game was tied 2-2. In the fifth end, a heavy final draw saw Scotland only score 1.
After the break the Czech side had 4 counters in the four foot. Both teams exchanged 1’s over the next 2 ends before Scotland controlled the 9th end and scored an important 3 points to tie the game once again at 7-7. The tenth and final end was kept fairly simple and Scotland had a chance to draw and bump a Czech counter which was lying on button but Eve’s final stone just rubbed on a guard and left Czech lying 1 and not requiring to play their final stone.
Men Game 3: Scotland 7 Russia 8
It was looking good for Scotland going into the fourth end at 3-1 up. Bruce had played a freeze with his first stone in the third end and Russia were unable to remove it from the rings so he played an open draw with his last stone to score 2. A few loose shots from the Scots in ends four and five saw Russia pick up a 3 and steal a further 1 to take a 5-3 lead.
Scotland were still in a good position going into the sixth end with last stone advantage and Bruce was left with an open hit to tie the game. The struggled started after Russia took an 8-5 lead with only two ends left to play and didn’t let Scotland back into the game.
“We weren’t as sharp today, we just didn’t get control of the ice. There’s no problem with the ice, it’s just that our execution wasn’t good enough. It’s tough to say what was positive there just after the loss, but it’s not a drama, we’re still in a good position.” – Bruce Mouat
Women Game 2: Scotland 4 Sweden 10
The Scotland women went into the game well aware of Anna Hasselborg’s Swedish rink’s ability, Eve said “we’re playing Sweden who no doubt are the best team in the world right now. Those girls are Olympic champions and they’ve won the first two Grand Slams of the season. It’s going to be really tough and we know we’re going to have to be really good”
The teams were evenly matched at the start; Scotland were forced to hit to take 1 in the first end and Sweden the same in the next end. Sweden stepped up a gear after this and stole 1 in the third and fourth ends. Scotland were forced to take 1 in the fifth end when Eve drew the four foot against 4 and went into the break 3-2 behind.
Sweden didn’t look back in the second half after a big score of 3 in the sixth end. Scotland came back with two scores of 1 but the Swedish side didn’t let them in and when flighting for another steal in the ninth end Scotland unfortunately gave up 4 and conceded the game.
Eve reflected “It was a very good game actually and I don’t think the scoreboard replicates the game as it was. There were a lot of very good shots and in the second end we were just a couple of centimetres from getting two on the board. We were just on the wrong side of the lucky inch, if you know what I mean.”
The women are looking towards their game this evening against Czech Republic at 5pm (UK time.) “There were a lot of good shots and we can take that into tonight’s game. We read the ice conditions well – the ice is excellent. It’s just about building momentum now.”
Men Game 2: Scotland 8 Germany 3
A dominating Scotland side got off to a great start stealing 1 in first end. In the second end Bruce Mouat played a raised takeout with his last stone to lie 4 counters and force German skip, Mark Muskatewitz, to draw the button to score 1.
Scotland continued their form and took 2 in the third end with an open last draw. The German skip failed to draw the house in the 4th end against 3 Scottish counters and with a further steal of 1 in the 5th end Scotland went 7-1 ahead at half time.
A few unfortunate shots in the 6th end left Germany with an open draw for 2. A blanked 7th end meant Scotland kept last stone advantage in the 8th end and after an open hit to take 1 the score was then 8-3 and Germany offered handshakes.
Women Game 1: Scotland 7 Denmark 4
The Scottish women started as they mean to go on in the first end of their opening game lying 2 after Eve Muirhead’s last stone and Danish skip, Madeleine Dupont, was forced to hit to take 1. In the second end a triple takeout from Scottish third, Jennifer Dodds, saw the start of the Scottish counters build up and Eve drew the four-foot to score 3. Scotland kept control of the game thereafter and ran Denmark out of stones in the tenth end.
Eve said “That was good, really good. As a team we came out really sharp and played the scoreboard well. For Jen that was her first European appearance, so it was nice for her to get off with a win, I’m pleased.”
Men Game 1: Scotland 8 Norway 7
The Scottish men started their campaign at the 2018 European Curling Championships against Norway. The Norwegian men are skipped by Steffen Walstad and ranked right behind Scotland, at 6th in the world rankings.
Norway had last stone advantage in the first end and used it to blank the end but couldn’t take advantage in the second end and Scotland stole 1. The teams traded 1’s over the next two ends before Norway got 2 in the fifth end and took a 3-2 lead going into the break. Scotland bounced back in the sixth end when Bruce drew for 3 counters. He said “I had just played it with my first one so it’s quite a natural same shot and it was nice to have that.”
The Scottish men controlled the scoreboard in the second half of the game, trading 2’s, and had last stone advantage going into the tenth end with a score of 7-7. Bruce was left with an 8 foot draw with his final stone of the game which they successfully made to earn their first win.
Reflecting on the game Bruce said “It’s always nice to start with a win, it settles the nerves a bit. I think both teams were playing pretty well and we both had good moments and some not-so-good moments.”
2018 European Curling Championships Preview
Team Mouat and Team Muirhead have their eyes on the medals as they represent Scotland at the 2018 Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships, which get underway this weekend in Tallinn, Estonia.
Competition starts on Saturday morning when Scotland’s men take on the Norwegian side, skipped by Steffen Walstad, in the opening session. The men and women play alternate sessions in the round-robin until Thursday 22nd November with semi-finals scheduled for that Thursday evening and Friday 23rd November. The finals conclude the event on Saturday 24th November.
The ten A-Division men’s teams competing are: Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland. The top seven teams will qualify their nations for the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Team Mouat are making their debut at the European Championships after winning bronze at this years World Men’s Championship in Las Vegas. Tallinn’s Tondiraba Ice Hall is a familiar venue for skip Bruce Mouat and second Bobby Lammie as they return to where they won their first World Junior medal in 2015. The team also features Grant Hardie at third and Hammy McMillan at lead, with alternate Ross Whyte joining the line-up. The men are coached by Alan Hannah.
Eve Muirhead returns as defending champion to the European Championships this year with her new line up of third Jennifer Dodds, second Vicki Chalmers, lead Lauren Gray and alternate Vicky Wright. Coach Glenn Howard is back supporting the women. The other teams in the women’s A-Division are: Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.
The Scottish women start their campaign in the afternoon session on Saturday against Denmark, skipped by Madeleine Dupont. They return to the ice on Sunday morning to play last years finalists, Sweden, skipped by Anna Hasselborg; the 2018 Olympic Gold and World Silver medalists.
From these Championships, six women’s teams will qualify their nations for the World Women’s Curling Championship in Silkeborg, Denmark next March.
In both the men’s and women’s event, the next two highest ranked teams behind the World Championship qualifying teams still have the opportunity to qualify their nation via the World Qualification Event which is held in Naseby, New Zealand, in January. They will be joined by further European teams who are winners and runners-up of the B-Division.
We will feature daily updates of Scotland’s progress with game updates on our social media platforms. Scotland’s schedule is as follows:
|Sat 17th Nov||07:00||Men: SCO v NOR|
|13:00||Women: DEN v SCO|
|18:00||Men: SCO v GER|
|Sun 18th Nov||07:00||Women: SCO v SWE (live on WCTV*)|
|12:00||Men: RUS v SCO|
|17:00||Women: SCO v CZE|
|Mon 19th Nov||06:00||Men: SUI v SCO|
|10:00||Women: SCO v ITA|
|14:00||Men: SCO v POL|
|18:00||Women: LAT v SCO|
|Tues 20th Nov||07:00||MEN: NED v SCO|
|12:00||Women: FIN v SCO|
|17:00||Men: SCO v ITA|
|Wed 21st Nov||0700||Women: GER v SCO|
|12:00||Men: SWE v SCO (live on WCTV)|
|17:00||Women: SCO v RUS|
|Thur 22nd Nov||07:00||Men: SCO v FIN|
|12:00||Women: SUI v SCO|
|17:00||Semi-finals: Men (1v4 and 2v3)|
|Fri 23rd Nov||12:00||Semi-finals: Women (1v4 and 2v3)|
|17:00||Bronze Medal Games : Men & Women|
|Sat 24th Nov||08:00||Gold Medal Game: Women|
|13:00||Gold Medal Game: Men|
*Live internet streaming is available on World Curling TV via youtube here
Full results, statistics, news and photos from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2017 are available on the WCF’s official event website here
Facebook Twitter: @worldcurling, Hashtag: #ECC2018
By Barbara McFarlane