The Irish squad sees action today in both Men’s and Women’s events in
Moscow in Group B and news of their activity later this evening.
After five sessions of men’s round-robin play in the Le Gruyère European
Curling Championships 2011 in Moscow, three teams share the lead, each on
four wins – Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
Denmark had a solid 8-3 win over Italy, which now means that the Italians
are still looking for their first victory of the week. After Italy held a
3-2 halfway lead, the Danes piled on the pressure to score in the last three
ends – two, a single steal and then a steal of three – for their win.
Germany lost their undefeated record in this session of play, going down by
3-10 in just six ends to defending champions Norway, who seemed really fired
up for this game after suffering a sore loss to Scotland earlier. German
fourth player Felix Schulze had the consolation of playing a nice draw for
one point in the sixth end, but the damage had been done earlier in the game
by Thomas Ulsrud and his Norwegian team, and Germany conceded.
Commenting on his campaign so far, Ulsrud said, “it’s a roller-coaster.
This morning we had a really tough loss against Scotland – that was
annoying. But I’m proud of the guys, they came back in this match and
showed how they can play so hopefully we can keep it up. It’s been a long
time since we’ve been cruising like last year, but hopefully this will be
the kick-start. That first loss against Latvia is going to come back and
bite us – we’d love to have that game back but …that’s curling”.
Sweden is the third team sharing the lead, and they had a tough game against
Latvia, who put up a good fight before going down 5-6. In the seventh end,
Swedish skip Niklas Edin relieved a lot of the pressure on his team with a
hit for a crucial single point that Latvia could not counter in the closing
ends. Afterwards, he said, “it certainly was a tight game. They kept it
close and it could have gone either way. But the key was when they drew in
the house in the ninth end and we could blank that one. From there on we
felt the game was pretty safe”.
Latvian skip Ritvars Gulba agreed with Edin’s view on the game’s turning
point. “We gave them the last rock in the last end. It was a huge
strategic mistake to allow them to blank in the ninth end. We didn’t leave
ourselves any chance after that. It’s wrong to play like that, but we did!”.
Switzerland kept themselves in real contention for the medal games with an
8-3 win over France. To seal the win, skip Sven Michel produced a delicate
draw for two, and another for three in the tenth, for what was his team’s
third win of the week. Afterwards, he said, “we had a good start and we
felt we were in charge. Our feeling was good and we played good and that
made us comfortable. That was a very important win today. We have a tough
game against Sweden tomorrow but we’re still in”.
The Czech Republic skip Jiri Snitil makes a habit of beating Scotland’s
David Murdoch in big championships, and this one is no exception. After
playing what Murdoch described as his “best game of the week” so far, Snitil
finished off his triumph with a simple draw for three in the tenth end and
an 8-4 win.
Afterwards, Snitil said, “that was very important we hope that keeps us in
the competition. 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 hope we can stay at this level”.
Murdoch was brutal in his self-appraisal – “there was one skip that was
making everything and another skip – me – that just couldn’t finish it off.
That was the tale of the game”.
GROUP A MEN: Standings after 5 sessions:
Czech Republic 2-3
In the women’s sixth round-robin session there were two basement battles
among the four teams sharing bottom place on the rankings.
In these, the Czech Republic had a one-sided six-end 10-1 win over Latvia to
lift themselves off the bottom place on the ranking and leave Latvia there,
while Switzerland, with scores of two in the fifth, three in the sixth and
another two in the seventh, beat Norway by 8-3 in eight ends, leaving the
Norwegians anchored alongside Latvia, with three games left to play to claw
their way back to World Championship qualification, or, at least avoid
relegation or “B” Group challenge.
At the other end of the table, Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson was pushed
all the way by Germany’s veteran skip Andrea Schöpp who played a nice hit
and roll in the opening end to open the scoring with a single point.
However, eventually, the Swedes made an open hit for four in the tenth end
to run out 9-6 winners and maintain their unbeaten record so far.
Afterwards, Sigfridsson said, “we played really well but there were a couple
of bad calls in the middle. At the start we played better than them, and we
played better in the last end too, and our fourth player Maria Prytz is
marvellous”. Reflecting on their unbeaten top-of-the-table position, she
said, “we need a few more wins. It’s fine to be a favourite, but there’s a
lot of good teams here”.
The game between Italy and Scotland went all the way to the last stone of
the last end, when Scottish skip Eve Muirhead made a hit and stay for the
one point that gave her a 5-4 win. Afterwards, a delighted Muirhead said,
“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. I think we couldn’t have asked
for more today. We came looking for two wins. We need more days like
The fifth game of the session, between Denmark and Russia, went all the way
to an extra end. Russia moved into a 5-3 lead in the sixth end when skip
Anna Sidorova scored two points with a nice draw, but in the extra end,
Danish skip Lene Nielsen kept her nerve and resolve to draw against three
Russian counters already sitting in the rings for the one point needed for
her 8-7 win. This result puts Denmark in a clear second place with just one
loss. Danish skip Nielsen realised just how important his game had been to
her medal hopes, saying, “that was very tense and I’m all shaky right now.
Russia was the team I feared most. I think they’re playing really well and
have the crowd, so that’s a big scalp”.
In the wake of only her second defeat of the week, Russian skip Anna
Sidorova said, “Of course we are upset with our performance. The game was
equal but we lost momentum a little and were unlucky with some of our shots.
But we will pick ourselves up like we always do as we’ve got an important
game against Scotland tomorrow. It will certainly be another hard game so we
will need to be at our best. Scotland are a team who play classic curling
and the only way to beat them is to perform better than they do from start
GROUP A WOMEN: Standings after 5 sessions:
Czech Republic 2-4
Extensive televised coverage of the Le Gruyère European Curling
Championships can be seen by viewers in Europe on Eurosport. Additional live
and on demand coverage is via the internet on the Eurosport Player.
Highlights of televised games can be seen here: