The Royal Caledonian Curling Club

The Royal Caledonian Curling Club

National Governing Body for Curling in Scotland

Team GB Winter Olympic Curling Latest

Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 10:45am

Medal Ceremonies

The Sochi 2014 Winter Games curling medal ceremonies have taken place.

Team GB’s curling men: Michael Goodfellow, Greg Drummond, David Murdoch, Scott Andrews, Tom Brewster.

Team GB’s curling women: Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton, Lauren Gray.

Photo WCF/Richard Gray 2014.

MEN final: Canada 9, Great Britain 3.

The Great Britain men found themselves 1-5 down after just three ends of their gold medal  final against Brad Jacobs’ Canadian team and, as skip David Murdoch conceded himself, there was no way back form such a deficit.  Eventually after playing out the statutory eight ends, the British conceded defeat as Canada beat them by 9-3. in just eight ends of Friday evening’s gold medal final of the Olympic Winter Games curling competition at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi.

This is the third successive Olympic title for Canada’s men curlers, while for skip David Murdoch personally and Great Britain, this is a first men’s curling medal of any colour since Britain won gold in the inaugural Olympic Winter Games of 1924 in Chamonix, France

Canada had last stone advantage in the first end and used it to score two points when their skip Brad Jacobs drew his second stone into the house.

British skip David Murdoch tried to get back on even terms in the second, but his hit rolled too far and he had to settle for just one point to reduce the Canadian lead to 2-1.  In the third end, Canada had built up a collection of stones in the house when Murdoch came to play his last stone.  This stone wrecked on a front guard on the way into the house, leaving Canada with a free draw to score three points and take a 5-1 lead.

In the fourth end, British skip Murdoch was heavy with his first stone, while Canadian skip Jacobs was light with his second effort.  To compound the British problem, Murdoch was wide with his second attempt and an umpire’s measure gave Canada a one-point steal for a 6-1 lead.

In the fifth end, the British team had to settle for just one point, scored when Murdoch drew his second stone just inside a Canadian stone, to reduce Canada’s lead to 6-2.  With his second stone of the sixth end, Britain’s skip David Murdoch played another hit that was too heavy and rolled too far, leaving Canada’s Jacobs with another straightforward draw into the house to score a further two points in the end, and extend his lead to 8-2.  In the seventh, Britain could only score one point when Murdoch’s last hit rolled out of the house, giving Canada an 8-3 lead as the teams went into the eighth  end.

That end came down to a nose-hit by Jacobs to give Canada another single point, and, after a brief discussion, the British team conceded defeat and shook hands with the final score at 9-3 to Canada.

After the game,  a deflated Murdoch reflected: “I’m disappointed, that was the opportunity of a lifetime but it wasn’t meant to be today.  We did everything we could to try to start well, and we just didn’t and we had a poor start and gave them a lot of confidence as well.  Obviously going 5-1 down, it’s always going to be an uphill struggle after that.  The first three ends cost us the game.  It didn’t really matter what we did in the second half.”

A fine silver medal for the British men to go alongside the women's bronzes

A fine silver medal for the British men to go alongside the women’s bronzes

Later he was starting to be able to look on the positive side of his campaign, saying, “it’s a pretty cool sound (to be Olympic silver medallists). It’s something we’ve worked for for a long, long time. We spoke after the semi-final and said it was a dream come true to get the silver medal from the Olympics and that’s certainly the case. It just feels like a bit of a kick in the teeth there at the end. When it’s all said and done we’ve won a silver medal and that’s a scary thing to have in your pocket”.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN bronze medal: China 4, Sweden 6

WOMEN final: Sweden 3, Canada 6.

Canada – skipped by  Jennifer Jones, beat Sweden by 6-3 in Thursday evening’s final of the Olympic Winter Games women’s curling competition to take gold.

The teams were level at 3-3 after seven ends and, despite being short with her final draw in the eighth end, Jones scored a single point when an umpire’s measure confirmed that one of her earlier stones out-counted Sweden.  With this, Canada took a 4-3 lead.

In the ninth end , Canada had four stones round the button and, with her last stone, Sweden’s Prytz tried to nudge out two of them to score two points with her shooter stone and one already in the house.  But she mis-judged the shot, nudging out her own stone instead while her shooter ran too far, leaving Canada with two stones closer to the button, a result that gave Canada a steal of two for a 6-3 lead.  Canada then ran Sweden out of stones in the tenth, and the Olympic title was theirs, with a final score line of 6-3.

 

WOMEN bronze medal game: Great Britain 6, Switzerland 5

The Great British team of skip Eve Muirhead, third Anna Sloan, second player Vicky Adams and lead Claire Hamilton, supported by alternate Lauren Gray,  team coach David Hay and national coach Rhona Howie, took Olympic  bronze medals with a 6-5 win over Switzerland on Thursday afternoon.

Switzerland opened the game with last stone advantage and blanked the first end before scoring two points in the second end when their skip Mirjam Ott tapped out a British stone to leave another of her own stones as well as her own shooter, for a 2-0 lead.

In the third end, Britain opened their account when skip Eve Muirhead drew her last stone inside two Swiss counters to score one point.  The Swiss then restored their two-point lead when Ott drew her final stone of the fourth end into the four foot ring to score one point, for a 3-1 lead.

In the fifth end, British skip Eve Muirhead played a double take-out with her first stone and followed that up with a nose-hit to score two points and level the game at 3-3 at the half-time break.

Switzerland had an accidental nose-hit  in the sixth end when they were looking to blank, but could only score one point for a 4-3 lead.  After this, Britain blanked the seventh.  They then scored two points in the eighth, when Ott missed the second British stone in a double take-out attempt to allow Muirhead a simple draw with her final stone for two points and a British lead for the first time in the game, at 5-4.

When Switzerland’s Ott came to play her last stone in the ninth end, she was facing three British stones already sitting in the house, and she was  forced to draw her stone inside the four-foot ring to score one point and level the game at 5-5.

Now with last stone advantage, the British team controlled the tenth end and eventually Muirhead drew her final stone onto the button to score one point, win the game by 6-5, and take the bronze medals.

Celebrations?...yes, celebrations!

Celebrations?…yes, celebrations!

Afterwards, British skip Muirhead said, “It feels fantastic. I’m super chuffed. It was such a great game which could have gone either way. We were trailing a lot of the time but we turned it. We made sure we scored in those even ends. Everyone was fantastic. We could have got frustrated but we hung in there and it shows just how much we’ve put in. I really think we deserved to get this Olympic medal.”

Third Anna Sloan continued: “It’s fantastic. We’ve all stuck in so much. I wouldn’t want to do it with any other girls. I’m just so proud”, while second Vicki Adams said: “We’ve got all our parents out here watching us. It’s great to have them here and be with us when we won the medal. We’ve also had lots of family and friends back home and the rest of Great Britain –they have given us so much support, it has been fantastic.”

Lead Claire Hamilton said: “We’ve all worked so hard and I think that has showed this week in how we’ve pulled together as a team and it finally paid off for us. We’re delighted to get the medal.”

Team coach David Hay was also pleased to win bronze.  He said, “yesterday was a massive disappointment, but total respect to the girls, they got it together overnight and came back today to play a great game against a good team.  We came with one aim, and that was the gold medal, but today is a great consolation.  It’s not the one we came for, but an Olympic medal is the ultimate achievement”.  He added, “It took us to the eighth end to get real pressure on  – in the ninth end Mirjam played a great shot and in the last end, Claire got both her ticks and it meant that the rest of the girls could play a normal end and Eve had a great shot to win”.

After the game Ott said; “I feel disappointed. We fought hard but Eve’s team was very strong today. She had a very good game and deserves her win and a medal – congrats to the team.” She added, “We had some little mistakes, we tried to blank the sixth end but made a nose hit and then in the ninth we tried to get another blank end but then we missed in the beginning of the end which made it hard for us. To steal in the tenth end against Eve is very hard.”

And she added: “It’s still a great experience (the Olympics), we did well, we played well, tried everything, prepared well and really enjoyed it. This is the second time we have finished fourth but we will just feel really bad because we did not manage to achieve a medal for the team.”

This is only the second women’s Olympic medal for Great Britain, to follow on from the gold medal won at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Semi Finals: Sweden 5, Great Britain 6; Canada 10, China 6

In Wednesday afternoon’s men’s semi-finals, Great Britain beat world champions Sweden by 6-5 and Canada defeated China by 10-6 to now face each other in Friday evening’s gold medal game.

Sweden now go on to play China for bronze medals at 12:30 (local time) on Friday afternoon, while the gold medal game between Great Britain and Canada will begin at 17:30 (local time) on Friday evening.

As round-robin leaders, Sweden had last stone advantage in the first end, but it was Great Britain who scored first  in the game between the two.  Sweden had blanked the first end but their skip Niklas Edin rolled too far with his last stone take-out attempt to give Britain a steal of one point for an early lead.

The Swedes took the lead in the third end, scoring two points when Edin drew with his last stone to move the score-line to 2-1 in their favour.

Britain blanked the fourth end and then scored one point instead of two in the fifth end when the double take-out that skip David Murdoch attempted just failed.  This meant the teams were level at 2-2 at the fifth end break.

Britain had another single-point steal in the sixth end when Edin hit with his last stone but once again rolled too far.  Sweden scored one point in the seventh to level the game at 3-3, but Britain moved ahead again in the eighth when, after a discussion about whether to blank the end or not, they played a hit and stay to score one point 4-3 lead.

Sweden took the lead for the first time since the third end when, in the ninth end, they scored two points by taking out a British stone that lay open, for 5-4.

In the tenth end, Sweden’s Edin played a long promote take-out that just missed its target – a British stone sitting on the button, and this left Murdoch with a draw to within the four foot ring to score two points, win the game 6-5 and put a British men’s team into the final for the first time since Britain won Olympic gold at the inaugural Olympic Winter games at Chamonix, France in 1924.

David Murdoch's 12-year Olympic medal wait ends, as he celebrates with his team-mates

David Murdoch’s 12-year Olympic medal wait ends, as he celebrates with his team-mates

After the game, British skip Murdoch was beaming.  “it’s just incredible. I’ve been trying for 12 years to get an Olympic medal and now we’re going to get one, words just can’t explain. It was an incredible team display and we’re just so happy to make the gold medal game.”

Britain’s third player Greg Drummond also spoke, saying, “we just kept applying pressure to them.  We talked about it before the game.  If we could make him play pressure shots, then we’d get mistakes.  We knew we’d have to be strong ourselves on our simple shots, though.”

Looking forward, he said: “We’re confident about playing Canada.  We only missed a win against them by a millimetre so we’re not scared of them. so hopefully we can take that performance from today into Friday.  For any athlete playing in the Olympics getting the gold medal is the ultimate dream, so to get that on Friday would  be amazing, words wouldn’t describe it.”

When he came off the ice , Sweden’s Edin offered no excuses.  “it wasn’t the start of the game we wanted and we didn’t play well enough to catch up.  We didn’t come up to our normal standard and didn’t figure out the ice till the last half of the game and that was too costly.  We should have made more shots – we started missing from end two.

By contrast to the long British wait for a men’s Olympic finalist team, Canada’s 10-6 win over China means that Canadian men’s teams have reached every Olympic final since curling was re-instated in 1998.

In this semi-final, the teams swapped single points in the first two ends, before Canada made the break-through in the third end, scoring two points when an umpire’s measure gave them the second point.  China responded with a single point in the fourth end, but another single point by Canada in the fifth end moved the score on to 4-2 in Canada’s favour at the fifth end break.

China brought themselves back into the game with two points in the sixth end that levelled the score at 4-4, but in the seventh end , Canadian skip Brad Jacobs passed a guard by the smallest of margins to make a double take-out and score three points, for a 7-4 lead.  China battled back yet again in the eighth end, when their skip Rui Liu played a nose-hit for two points to reduce Canada’s lead to 7-6, but in the ninth, Jacobs played a tap-back with his last stone to score another three points and move his lead on to 10-6.  Canada then ran China out of stones in the tenth end, for their 10-6 win.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Semi Finals: Great Britain 4, Canada 6.

An unfortunate pick-up on a British stone in the first end did nothing to help  the British team’s cause in the women’s semi-final.

This gave Canada an opening score of two points and then, when skip Eve Muirhead’s last shot in the second end rolled too far, to give up a steal of one, the British team found themselves three shots down after two ends.

About that pick-up, Muirhead said, ” “I just don’t think that the curling Gods were with us, that first end.  It was a hair from one of the brushes, it just caught the stone.  That pick-up was brutal, losing a two off the bat from something that you can’t control against Canada, it’s going to be tough to come back.  There is nothing you can do when you get a little bit of debris on the ice”.

However, Muirhead’s team got themselves right back into the game when a nose-hit by Muirhead gave them two points  to reduce the Canadian lead,  and things looked properly back on track for Britain when, with three of their own stones counting, they forced Canada’s Jennifer Jones to draw for just one in the fourth.  Muirhead tried a difficult tap-out shot for two in the fifth end, but could only take one point to give Canada a 4-3 lead at half-time.

Giving Canada a three-point lead was just too much

Giving Canada a three-point lead was just too much

Canada were again forced to draw for just one point in the sixth end and then, looking for big scores, Britain blanked the next two ends.  In the eighth end in particular, the British were in good shape to land that big score, but Jones played what was arguably the most decisive shot of the game with her first stone, a cross-house double that destroyed another good British set-up and forced the second British blank.  In the ninth, it was Canadian third player Kaitlyn Lawes’ turn to deliver the telling double, and Britain had to settle for just one point.

Trying to steal in the tenth, Britain had two stones counting, but Jones delivered her final draw onto the button for the one point that gave her a tenth win of the event and put her into the final.

As well as regretting her pick-up, Muirhed spoke more generally after the game, saying, “we’re gutted.  We gave it our all out there.  We said at the start of the week we wanted to leave here with no regrets and we did give it 110% out there.  We didn’t play badly at all to lose the game , but Canada played extremely well”.

 She added, “the first end was a big turning point  – losing a two off the bat to Team Canada is never ideal because you’re always trying to come back, but they played some fantastic cross-house doubles.  When you leave then shots like that, nine times out of ten they are going to make it.  And what a great last shot by Jen under pressure, drawing against the game is never easy”.

Looking forward, she said, “we’re going on to tomorrow now and we’re definitely going to give it our all to try to  win a bronze medal.   t’s going to take a bit to get over that, but we just need to go back and be sharp tomorrow.  Hopefully we can play well then and really do Great Britain proud”.

In the final, Canada will play Sweden who beat Switzerland by 7-5 when Swiss skip Mirjam Ott was too strong with her final effort, giving up a steal of one.  Switzerland and Great Britain will now contest the bronze medal game on Thursday, starting at 12.30 pm local time (8.30 at home).

 Men’s Semi Final: Great Britain v Sweden, 3pm (UK). Live online at BBC Sport

MEN tie-breaker: Norway 5, Great Britain 6.

no words needed this time

no words needed this time

Skip David Murdoch backed his own team all the way as they won their Tuesday morning  tie-breaker against Norway with a spectacular last-stone promote double take-out that produced the two points needed to put them into a semi-final show- down with world champions Sweden on Wednesday evening, while second-placed Canada play third-ranked China in the other semi-final.

Because they had beaten Great Britain in the round-robin, Norway had last stone advantage in the first end and they used it to score one point .  The teams then swapped single shots for the next three ends, as the score moved to 2-2 after four ends.

Norway had the first break-through of the game in the fifth when their skip Thomas Ulsrud hit and stayed with his last stone to score two and take a 4-2 lead into the half-time break.   Trying to get back on terms, Britain then blanked the next two ends when big scores became impossible and they finally drew level again the eighth end, scoring two points for 4-4 when Ulsrud’s attempted double take-out just missed a British stone at the back of the house, leaving Murdoch a straightforward draw into the house for his points.

When he came to play his last stone in the ninth end, Norway’s Ulsrud was facing three British stones already spread around the house and this situation forced him into a draw-shot to score just one point and re-take the lead at 5-4.

In the tenth end, the situation was the same in reverse, with British skip Murdoch facing a collection of Norwegian stones in the house as he came to play his last shot.  However, in this case, the angles of the stones were lined up and Murdoch played a promote raise double take-out on the Norwegian stones and, managing to keeping his own stone in the house as well as another British stone already there, he scored two points for the 6-5 win that sealed his semi-final place.  This was the only time that Britain had been ahead in the game.

Afterwards, Murdoch said: “That was incredible.  Basically we had the goal to get to the semi-final and we’re there.  The  guys played absolutely fantastic,  The standard of that game was just incredible, you miss one shot and you practically lose the game out there.”

And speaking about his decision to go for the difficult take-out rather than draw for one to tie the game and put it into an extra end, he explained: “We’ve played those guys a hundred times and your chances of stealing an extra are quite slim.  It’s very rare you get a steal against those guys.  As hard as the shot was, we had to go for it.  There was no margin for error”.  Asked about when he knew his shot had been successful, he added: “I was saying nothing until it hit.  There were too many angles to trust we were going to make everything.  We had to rely on the throw, rely on the sweeping, and to call it right, and we got everything right, it was a fantastic team effort.”

“That’ll go up there as one of my best shots.  It’s not often you get that opportunity, you just have to go  for it.  It’s part of the game, you just have to trust everything you’ve done previously, all your practice shots and how you’ve been playing all week.  We had the courage to go for it.”

British coach Soren Gran, who was called in for a time-out before the decision to play the double was made, also spoke about the tenth end decision-making, saying, ” we all agreed to go for the shot with the best chance to win the game.  He looked at me and gave me a smile, so I knew he liked to play the shot and that was the most important thing – to see that smile and the fighting spirit”.

Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud was gracious in defeat, agreeing that Murdoch had made the right call.  He said: “As soon as we played our last rock, I said ‘that’s on’.  I would definitely have played that shot .  If you think about what’s on the line it was a really good shot – if you miss it, you’re out, and if you make it you’re in the semi-finals of the Olympics.  All credit to him, that’s the kind of player he is. That’s why he plays skip for Great Britain, he doesn’t crack under pressure.”

He  was still left ruing missed opportunities however, saying: “It feels sore because that’s one of the few chances we left him.”

Watch the last shot here: BBC Sport Sochi 2014

Report: Mike  Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN session 12:  Denmark 8, Great Britain 7 (extra end).

Despite losing out to Denmark by 7-8 after an extra end in their ninth and final round-robin game on Monday evening, the Great Britain women now move on to Wednesday’s semi-finals, to play Canada’s Jennifer Jones, who completed her unbeaten round-robin campaign with a 9-4 win over Korea.  Second-placed Sweden play third-ranked Switzerland in the other semi-final.

This really was a game that got away from the British team.  After giving up a steal of two in the first end they had fought their way right back into the game to lead by 7-4 after eight ends.  But, after she blanked the ninth end, Denmark’s skip Lene Nielsen tapped up one of her own stones to score three points in the tenth end to level at 7-7 and push the game into an extra end.  In this end, without last stone, Nielsen again tapped up one of her own stones onto the button, leaving British skip Eve Muirhead with a hit and roll that didn’t work, allowing Denmark to steal one point and win the game by 8-7.  After the game, Danish skip Nielsen summed up her win with one word – “amazing”.

one that got away

…one that got away

In fairness to Muirhead she did suffer a bad pick-up on her way to a surprising defeat.  Afterwards, she said, “we came out here to make the top four and we’re super happy. We didn’t finish the game the way we would have liked but we’ll move on”.

“We played well but had a slack couple of last ends but we’d rather it happen in that match than on Wednesday” adding, “after our first couple of games I would have taken a semi-final slot”

This result means that Britain face Canada in the semi-final rather than playing Sweden if they had won and finished third. About that, team coach David Hay said, “if you want to win the gold medal you’ve got to beat Canada at some point.  We need to play a good game. We had a shot to beat them in the round robin and we didn’t quite make it. We just need to bring our best game”.

RESULTS

Session 12: China 6, Switzerland 10; Denmark 8, Great Britain 7; Canada 9, Korea 4; Sweden 8, Japan 4. (bye – Russia and USA)

 Standings after 12 sessions: Canada won 9, lost 0 (play Great Britain in semi-final); Sweden 7-2 (play Switzerland in semi-final); Switzerland 5-4 (play Sweden in semi-final); Great Britain 5-4 (play Canada in semi-final); Japan, Denmark,  China 4-5; Korea, Russia 3-6; USA 1-8.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

MEN session 12: China 6, Great Britain 5

Despite losing their ninth and last round-robin game by 5-6 to China in Monday afternoon’s round-robin play – their second successive single-point loss – the Great Britain men remain in the medal hunt, thanks to a 5-3 win by Denmark over Norway that leaves the British and the Norwegians tied for fourth place.

They will now play Norway in a tie-breaker on Tuesday morning (9.00am local time) to decide which of the two will face top-ranked Sweden in Wednesday’s semi-finals.  The other semi-final will be between second-placed Canada and China, whose victory over Britain ranked them third overall.

The game between China and Great Britain was tight all the way.  The advantage of last stone in the first end was won on a coin-toss by China when the pre-game draw-shots by each skip that normally decide the team with last stone were measured as absolutely equal.

China then used last stone to score one point.  Britain then scored one in the second and stole another point in the third end when an attempt by China to remove two British stones could only take out one of them.  David Murdoch’s men were facing three Chinese counters in the fourth end, but his run-back attempt could only remove two of them and eventually China’s Rui Liu drew a second counter into the house for a 3-2 lead.

Britain blanked the fifth end and China cleared out two British stones in the sixth, leaving Murdoch with no option but to draw for one and level the score at 3-3.

China scored one in the seventh and then stole a single in the eighth for 5-3 when Murdoch came up just short with his final draw.  Britain split the house early in the ninth end and this eventually allowed Murdoch to score the two points that levelled the game at 5-5, with a nose-hit.

In the tenth end, China’s lead player Jialiang Zang played two tick shots on British centre guards to make it almost impossible for Murdoch to steal.  Eventually Liu drew his final stone within two British counters for the win, at 6-5.

Britain suffered their second successive single-point loss, but are still alive

Britain suffered their second successive single-point loss, but are still alive

In their game with Norway, Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne Hansen just nudged a Norwegian counter out of second-shot position in the ninth end, for a 5-3 lead.  The Danes then spent the tenth end taking out Norwegian stones and eventually ran their opponents out of stones for a 5-3 win that gave them sixth place overall and forced Norway into the tie-breaker against Great Britain.

After the session, Murdoch said, ” We’re still in!  In some ways it’s bitter-sweet.  We’ve wanted to get over that finish line and it didn’t happen there.  The Chinese guy was on fire.  It’s tough when you’re up against a skip that’s making everything.  We were still confident of stealing in the tenth end, but when they make the tick shot it’s difficult”.

He explained what went wrong in the eighth end when he gave up a steal of one.  ” We were in a little bit of trouble in the eighth and then we get out of it, and then he plays an absolute pistol behind the guards.  I was just looking not to overthrow it.  We were on a quick spot and just under-threw it and that changed the game a little bit”.

Asked whether he was keeping an eye on the Norway game, Murdoch said, “actually I didn’t even know what had happened until our rock finished.  Then I looked over and saw the scoreboard, I’d no idea what was going on, you’re very focussed on what you’re doing.  We’re still in, Denmark’s done us a favour and we’ve got another chance to get over the line”.

He went on, “we quite enjoy playing Norway, we know what to expect, but if we play like that then we’re confident of winning.  We’ve got to take what we’ve got – we’re not out.  We’ve never really got in front in any game so far, but that’s the standard, it’s the highest I’ve ever seen at the Olympics”.

RESULTS

Session 12: China 6, Great Britain 5; Germany 7, Russia 8; Switzerland 6, USA 3; Norway 3, Denmark 5. (bye – Canada and Sweden)

 Standings after 12 sessions: Sweden won 8, lost 1 (to play winner of tie-breaker in semi-final); Canada, China 7-2 (to play each other in semi-final); Norway, Great Britain 5-4  (to play each other in tie-breaker); Denmark 4-5; Russia, Switzerland 3-6; USA 2-7; Germany 1-8.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 

WOMEN: Session 11: Russia 6, Great Britain 9

Their 9-6 win over Russia in Monday morning’s eleventh session of women’s round-robin play all but guarantees Eve Muirhead’s team third place in the rankings, with a final round-robin game – against Denmark – to play on Monday evening.

As the teams go into the last session, there are 16 different permutation of final placings depending on all four results.  In all but four of these, Britain comes out in guaranteed third.  In the other two, ranking will be done by the Draw Shot Challenge where “Britain is much better than Japan or Switzerland” with the last games figures to be factored in.

In the game against Russia, after blanking the first end, Britain opened the scoring in the second end when Russian play forced them to take one.  In the third end, Russian skip Anna Sidorova drew her second stone into the house to score two points for a 2-1 lead.  Britain re-took the lead when skip Eve Muirhead  drew for two in the fourth end, for 3-2.

Russia blanked the fifth end and, when a big Russian score looked possible in the sixth, Muirhead played a perfect freeze, locking up two Russian stones in the house and limiting the damage to just a Russian draw for one, to tie the game at 3-3. Britain blanked the seventh end, and scored a game-changing four points when Muirhead had a simple tap-out on an open Russian stone for a 7-3 lead. This had all been set up when third player Anna Sloan cleared out two Russian stones with her second – admittedly after a miss with her first stone.  The Russians fought back in the ninth, scoring three points to reduce Britain’s lead to just one point, at 7-6, but Muirhead sealed victory for her team with a double take-out to score two points from the end and win by 9-6.

"Great stone placement" comes from great sweeping - discuss...

“Great stone placement” comes from great sweeping – discuss…

When she came off the ice, Muirhead said, “we’re really pleased with that, we played well.  It was always going to be a tough game against Russia, they’re  one of our big European rivals.  We had a bit of a turning point in the eighth end getting that four, but it was always going to be a game of patience and that was exactly what we did”.

About the eighth end in particular, she added: “We played the scoreboard and blanked the seventh end, and scoring in the eighth is always good.  My two would have been good, but taking a four was a bonus.  We had great stone placement in that end and left her a really tough last shot and for myself, a wee hack-weight tap, so to come out with the four gave us the kind of lead that we needed.”

The British women came back onto the ice on Monday after a rest day on Sunday, and about that, Muirhead said, “it was good that we had yesterday off.  It was good to re-group, relax and chill. We’ve been relaxed all week.  This is what we’ve trained hard for, it’s the Olympic Games and we’re giving it our all, but the main thing is, relax and enjoy it”.  And about the noise of the Russian crowd she said, “half of the time during that game you couldn’t hear yourself think, right enough.  You just hoped there wasn’t an important line call, because there’s no way the sweepers would have heard you scream, but we used a lot of hand-signals”.

The British women now close their  round-robin against Denmark on Monday evening, when a win would dispense with all the rankings scenarios and put them directly into Wednesday afternoon’s semi-final against Sweden.

RESULTS

Session 11: Russia 6, Great Britain 9; Korea 11, USA 2; Japan 8, China 5. (bye – Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.)

 Standings after 11 sessions: Canada won 8, lost 0 (qualified for semi-finals); Sweden 6-2 (qualified for semi-finals); Great Britain 5-3; China, Japan, Switzerland; Denmark, Korea 3-5; Russia 3-6; USA 1-8.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN session 11

The British men sat out Sunday evening’s eleventh session of round-robin play, but the results there made their task perfectly clear – beat China to ensure they stay alive in the event., either to a semi-final slot, or more probably a tie-breaker.  If they lose they could still end up in a tie-breaker, if Norway lose to  Denmark.

 RESULTS

Session 11: Norway 5, Switzerland 3; China 8, Canada 9 (extra end); Germany 3, Denmark 6; USA 4, Sweden 6. (bye – Great Britain and Russia)

Standings after 11 sessions: Sweden won 8, lost 1 (qualified for semi-finals); Canada 7-2 (qualified for semi-finals); China 6-2, Great Britain, Norway 5-3; Denmark 3-5, Russia, Switzerland , USA 2-6; Germany 1-7.

WOMEN: session 10

Great Britain’s women sat out Sunday afternoon’s tenth session of round-robin play, a session that saw Sweden join unbeaten Canada in the semi-final line-up.

The British team play in both of the concluding round-robin sessions on Monday, facing Russia in the morning and then Denmark in the evening,

 RESULTS

Session 10: Denmark 7, Korea 4; Japan 9, Switzerland 7 (extra end); Sweden 5, Russia 4; USA 6, Canada 7 (extra end).  (bye – China, Great Britain)

 Standings after 10 sessions: Canada won 8, lost 0 (qualified for Semi-finals); Sweden 6-2 (qualified for Semi-finals); China, Great Britain 4-3; Switzerland 4-4; Japan 3-4; Denmark, Russia 3-5; Korea 2-5; USA 1-7

 –

MEN Session 10: Great Britain 6, Norway 7

The British men entered dangerous territory when they lost their Sunday morning round-robin game to Norway by 6-7.  They have one round-robin game left to play – in Monday afternoon’s last round-robin session – against a Chinese team that has effectively qualified for the semi-final already, alongside Sweden (who are definitely through) and Canada  – while Norway, who have still to play two games, still have semi-final hopes.

A win against China assures David Murdoch’s men of at least a tie-breaker and perhaps a direct semi-final slot, depending on Norway’s results.  If Murdoch’s men lose to China then their fate will be in Norway’s hands.

In Sunday morning’s game, Britain blanked the first end and then took the early lead with two points through a nice Murdoch tap-back.  Norway levelled in the third and then, after good set up play by the British team, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud played a good draw that destroyed the possibility of a multiple score for Britain, who had to settle for just one from the end.

In the fifth end, Murdoch only removed one Norwegian stone with his promote attempt, leaving Ulsrud with an easy draw for two and a 4-3 lead.  Norway then stole a single in the sixth end when Murdoch’s hit rolled out instead of staying .  The teams then swapped singles and the British team got back on level terms with two points from a  well-played ninth end.  However the British could not get anything going in the tenth and Norway used last stone advantage to score one for the 7-6 win that kept their hopes alive.

Despite it all, Britain could not get anything going in the crucial tenth end

Despite it all, Britain could not get anything going in the crucial tenth end

Afterwards, Murdoch said, ” It seems I’m always leaving it to the hardest way possible at the Olympics.  But it’s still in our own hands, we can’t let that defeat us too much.  It’s still possible.  It would have been nice to get that win todoy and secure that play-off but you just have to move on – that’s curling”.

Speaking about the game itself, he said, “we had a couple of bad ones (pick-ups) out there.  We had him on the ropes a few times and we never really took our chances -we could have been a little bit more clinical.  Thomas played an incredible shot with his last in four or we were getting a handful in that end.  We were playing some  good stuff in that first five and certainly some decent stuff in the last five, so we’re definitely going to have to come out tough tomorrow.  To be honest I fancy our chances, I really do.  We’ve got a good record against China.  We know they’re playing well, but so are we and we’ve lost a couple  of games by inches”.  Finally he summed it up effectively – “we’ve just got to make sure we win tomorrow – if we do that, we’re still in”.

The crucial game against China comes in Monday afternoon’s last session of men’s round-robin play.

RESULTS

Session 10: USA 6, Canada 8; Great Britain 6, Norway 7; Sweden 8, Russia 4. (bye – China, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland)

Standings after 10 sessions: Sweden 7-1 (qualified for Semi-finals); China 6-1; Canada 6-2; Great Britain 5-3; Norway 4-3; Denmark, Switzerland, USA 2-5; Russia 2-6; Germany 1-6.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

WOMEN Session 9: Great Britain 6, Switzerland 8.

The British women went down to their third loss of the event, by 6-8 to Switzerland, in Saturday evening’s ninth session of round-robin play.

Eve Muirhead’s team were slow out of the blocks in the first half, giving up two points in the second end and a steal of one in the third rid to find themselves 1-3 down  They then got themselves into real trouble after the sixth end when Muirhead missed a double take-out to leave Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott an easy draw for three and a 6-2 lead.

The  British team fought back, but fate was against them when they had a pick-up in the eighth end after having built up a good position in the house, which was immediately destroyed by their opponents.  Muirhead’s team fought back again after this, but it was too little and they lost by 6-8 when Ott hit and stayed against two British counters in the tenth end.

Despite a strong finish Britain suffered their third loss to Switzerland

Despite a strong finish Britain suffered their third loss to Switzerland

After this game, Muirhead said, ” we’re not down and out.  We took it right down to the last shot and she played a good shot for the win”. She added, ” It’s now in our own hands, we’ve got a day off tomorrow then we need to come back strong against Russia and Denmark”.

Muirhead also said, “we were digging deep at the end there and we got an absolutely brutal pick in the eighth end.  I know we were a couple down then but if we had managed to get a steal of one or two that end it would have been  great, but that’s curling.  We’ve lost to three of the top teams. We know that if we play them again they’re there for the taking”.

RESULTS

Session 9: USA 6, Sweden 7; Canada 5, Russia 3; Great Britain 6, Switzerland 8; Denmark 9, China 6. (bye – Japan and Korea)

 Standings after 9 sessions: Canada won7, lost 0 (Qualified for Semi-finals); Sweden 5-2; China, Great Britain, Switzerland 4-3; Russia 3-4; Japan, Korea 2-4; Denmark 2-5; USA 1-6.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 9: Canada 7, Great Britain 5

A hard-fought game in which the lead changed hands three times was eventually won by Canada when Great Britain’s last stone of the tenth end – a double take-out attempt by skip David Murdoch – just failed to catch its second target stone, giving Canada a steal of one and a 7-5 win.

The teams swapped singles in the first two ends and then Britain had a single steal in the third when a promote attempt by Canadian skip Brad Jacobs went wrong,  In the next end, Jacobs was able to draw his final stone into the house to score three points and take a 4-2 lead when British skip David Murdoch’s attempted double just missed.   In the fifth end it was Murdoch’s turn to have an easy draw, this time for two points to level the game at 4-4.  Canada blanked the sixth end and the teams swapped singles in the seventh and eighth ends.  Canada then scored just one in the ninth end when his shooter rolled out on an attempted double, to go 6-5 ahead.  In the tenth, Murdoch had a double take-out attempt to score two points for the win.  But he just missed the second stone, allowing Canada to steal one point and win by 7-5.

so near...

so near…

When asked his reaction after the game, Canada’s Jacobs said “relief, complete and total relief. We got lucky. That was a big break to get but  to win events you need big moments like that. It’s a game of millimetres and that was the most nervous feeling this week.  Dave (Murdoch) threw that last rock perfect. It was just crazy curling out there.”

Meanwhile, a gutted Murdoch said, “you’re talking one millimetre – one millimetre on the high side and that’s the game.   People in other sports have inches to play with, we’ve got millimetres.  That’s all that was . It was a pretty cruel blow to be honest. We were tactically smart, we played well. We put a lot  of pressure on them and we didn’t get the win.  Maybe the luck is even-ing itself out this week, because we had some in other games”.

Speaking more generally, he went on, “we’ve just got to get on it tomorrow and we can’t beat up ourselves up too much.  We’ll  be pretty mad for a little while, but we just need to bin that one and move onto tomorrow”.

Asked about the positives he saw in the game, he said, “this team can play on the big stage – that was the Olympic Games against Canada, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.  The guys didn’t feel an ounce of pressure, there was a real good feeling and belief right through the game and that was really nice to see” and asked if he feared facing Canada again, he said, “obviously playing them again is in the future, and we’ve got two big games now.  You want to get over that finish line into the semi-final and we certainly need more wins if we’re going to do that.  We need to re-group and come out and make sure we play like that tomorrow.  That’s the only way you can get into the semi-final”.

He added, “I’ve been feeling cool and calm throughout this tournament and it’s nice to feel like that.  There’s zero pressure on us – there’s zero pressure on the guys  and that’s showing.   The team’s got a good flow and for young guys at their first Olympics they are a credit to themselves, they’ve performed really well”.

The British men now face a Norwegian team fighting for survival in Sunday’s morning session, before concluding their round-robin against table-topping China on Monday afternoon.

RESULTS

Men Session 9: Sweden 8, Germany 4; Denmark 3, Switzerland 9; Canada 7, Great Britain 5; Russia 6, China 9. (bye – Norway and USA)

 Standings after 9 sessions: China, Sweden won 6, lost 1; Canada, Great Britain 5-2; Norway 3-3; USA 2-4; Denmark, Russia, Switzerland 2-5; Germany 1-6.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

WOMEN Session 8: Great Britain 10, China 8.

The British women faced Korea In Saturday morning’s eighth session of round-robin play and survived a wobble in the ninth end to win by 10-8, their third successive victory.

Korea won last stone in the first end and used that to open with two points in the first end, but Britain moved ahead in the second end.  When she came to play her last stone Korean skip Jisun Kim was facing four British counters but could not get inside two of them, leaving British skip Eve Muirhead with a straightforward draw for three and a 3-2 lead.

Korea blanked the third end and then Britain added to their score with single steals in both the fourth and fifth ends, for 5-2 at halfway.  Korea opened the second half by scoring two points in the sixth end to which Britain responded with two points of their own in the seventh to keep their lead, at 7-4.  Korea fought back with another two points in the eight and then stole two points in the ninth end when Muirhead was short with her final draw. This gave Korea the lead – at 8-7 – for the first time since the first end.

However, Britain set up the tenth end well, and with the last stone of the game British skip Eve Muirhead came round a guard to tap out a counting Korean stone and score three points and take a 10-8 victory.

It was all action against Korea

It was all action against Korea

After the game, Muirhead said, “we came out strong in the first half and they came out strong in the second half.  Give them their dues, they played really well,.  We had a slack ninth end, giving up a steal of two.  But winning the game the way we did puts down a marker.  To be one down and then get three is ideal and I think we played 100% in the last end.  It’s great to know we can play these ends under pressure”.

When pressed about what went wrong in the ninth end she said, “you can’t  look into the ninth end too much – we were one up with the hammer but the guards weren’t situated just right and we got sucked in.  They played a lot of good hit and flops too”, and reflecting on her team’s tenth end fight-back, she added, “we showed a lot of grit – a lot of teams could have put their heads down, but we came back fighting because we knew we still had a chance.  When you play a nice shot to win a game, it always feels good.”.

More generally she said, “after our first couple of games, all we needed to do was keep winning.  We’ve got the ball rolling and momentum going”.  The British women face Switzerland next, on Saturday evening and about that game, Muirhead said, “if we can sharpen up on little bits here and there we will give Mirjam (Ott) a good game this evening”.

In the same session, Canada beat Japan by 8-6  to keep their unbeaten record.  Sweden lost to China by 6-7 and these results mean that China, Great Britain and Sweden all share second place on the rankings, with four wins and two losses, two wins behind Canada, who are now assured of at least a tie-break slot.

RESULTS

Session 8: Canada 8, Japan 6; China 7, Sweden 6; Great Britain 10, Korea 8. (bye – Denmark, Russia, Switzerland and USA)

Standings after 8 sessions: Canada won 6, lost 0; China, Great Britain, Sweden 4-2; Russia, Switzerland 3-3; Japan, Korea 2-4; Denmark, USA 1-5.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

MEN Session 8 Great Britain 8, Denmark 6.

For most of this game a win for Great Britain looked most unlikely – they were 1-5 down going into the fifth end break and they  had their backs against the wall without last stone in a tenth end that was getting away from them.  But  a game-turning three in the sixth end and single steals in each of the ninth and tenth ends gave David Murdoch’s team an 8-6 win over Denmark that put them into joint top place on the rankings alongside China and Sweden.

Denmark blanked the first end, scored two in the second and stole a single in the third before the British team got onto the scoreboard with a single point in the fourth.  In the fifth end Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne Hansen hit out the only British stone in the house to score two for a 5-1 lead.

This was a game that got away from Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne Hansen

This was a game that got away from Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne Hansen

The game changed completely in the sixth end, when the British men played arguably their best end of the competition so far to give Murdoch a simple draw for three shots and close the gap to 5-4 in Denmark’s favour,  Eventually, a further two points in the eighth end finally brought Britain level at 6-6. Strong play by his team and stronger decision-making by Murdoch piled the pressure on Stjerne Hansen in the last two ends, forcing two mistakes with his last stone in each end to hand Britain steals and a 8-6 win.

Afterwards, Murdoch said, “that was an incredible game.  I’ve never come out from a game of curling with an adrenalin rush like that for a long, long time – not since we won the Worlds in ’09.  It was outrageous out there tonight, the noise, the ice changing, the way the game was, the huge momentum swing after that sixth end”.  About the first half of the game, he said, “we weren’t actually doing much wrong, we got caught out  just a little, but we need to smarten up, we can’t play like that tomorrow”.

And about the complete change in fortunes in the second half, he added, “we decided  we’d throw the kitchen sink at them, and out-score them six points two.  We were really pumped for that sixth end.  We were going to have to take some risks and we got that big three and it completely changed the game on its head”.

Asked if it was a fortunate win, he insisted, “when you  see the amount of pressure we forced at the end there, there was no luck in it.  That was just sheer determination in the last five ends that I’ve never seen before – I’m really proud of those guys.  We really believe in  ourselves, the confidence is sky-high in this team, and it’s a great feeling.  If we can just keep that confidence and start sharp then we’re dangerous out there”.

The British men face Canada next in Saturday’s afternoon session.

RESULTS

 Session 8: Great Britain 8, Denmark 6; Russia 7, USA 6; China 7, Norway 5; Switzerland 7, Germany 8. (bye – Canada and Sweden)

 Standings after 8 sessions:  China, Great Britain, Sweden 5-1; Canada 4-2; Norway 3-3; Denmark, Russia, USA 2-4; Germany, Switzerland 1-5.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 7: Great Britain 12, Japan 3

Eve Muirhead’s team set another new Olympic record when they became the first women’s team to record a steal of five on their way to a dominating 12-3 win over Japan in Friday afternoon’s seventh session of round robin play.

The British team were in charge from the start, scoring two points in the first end when Japan’s skip Ayumi Ogasawara wrecked with her last stone, leaving Muirhead with a simple hit.  Japan managed to score two in the second end before Muirhead had a nose-hot for another two in the third.

another Olympic record for the British women, against Japan

another Olympic record for the British women, against Japan

In the fourth end Ogasawara was facing three British counters when her tap-out was weak, giving up a steal of one.  Japan did manage a single score in the fifth end, to give Britain a 5-3 halftime lead.  Muirhead played a nice tap out to score two in the sixth end and then, in the seventh, Ogasawara was facing five British stones with her last.  She wrecked on the front stone in this collection to give Muirhead her record-breaking five-point steal.

After the game  a pleased team coach David Hay said, “the next four games are going to be big games but Eve’s pulling off all the big shots and the girls are playing well”.

Fof her part, Muirhead added, “we felt from yesterday that the momentum was starting to build and we continued that today. None of these teams is going to be easy, we knew Japan were going to come out sharp and we knew we had to be firing from the start”.  Looking at her team’s performance she added, “I’m happy with the way we played today.  We’re enjoying ourselves and we’re relaxed and we want to continue that.  The girls are playing fantastic, they’re setting me up and it’s a good team performance” adding, “it’s nice to know that the coach recognises I’m playing the big shots, but these are the shots you need to have in your pocket because at the Olympic Games you’re going to have to pull them off at times”  Reflecting on her climb up the rankings – her team is now in joint third position – she said, “we came expecting all sorts of things in this tournament, but we can only control what we are controlling right now, and that’s getting more ‘w’s on the board”.

The women play two games on Saturday, against Korea in the morning session and then Switzerland in the evening session.

RESULTS

Session 7: Korea 3, China 11; Great Britain 12, Japan 3; USA 2, Denmark 9; Russia 6, Switzerland 3. (bye – Canada and Sweden)

Standings after 7 sessions: Canada 5-0; Sweden 4-1; China, Great Britain 3-2; Russia, Switzerland 3-3; Japan, Korea 2-3; Denmark, USA 1-5.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard gray/WCF

MEN Session 7

The British men sat out Thursday morning’s seventh session of round-robin play.  They face Denmark in Thursday evening’s eighth session.

RESULTS

Session 7: Sweden 6, China 5; USA 8 Germany 5; Canada 10, Norway 4.

Standings after 7 sessions: Sweden 5-1; China, Great Britain 4-1; Canada 4-2; Norway 3-2; Denmark, USA 2-3; Russia, Switzerland 1-4; Germany 0-5.

WOMEN session 6

The British women sat out Thursday evening’s sixth session of round-robin play.  They return to the ice on Friday afternoon to face Japan.

RESULTS

Session 6: Sweden 7, Denmark 6; Russia 4, Korea 8; Switzerland 5, Canada 8; Japan 6, USA 8.

Standings after 6 sessions: Canada 5-0; Sweden 4-1; Switzerland 3-2; China, Great Britain, Japan, Korea 2-2; Russia 2-3; USA 1-4; Denmark 0-5.

MEN session 6: Great Britain 5, USA 3

The British men now sit in joint second place on the rankings, alongside Sweden, following their 5-3 win over USA in Thursday afternoon’s sixth session of round-robin play.

These two teams have joined China, who sat out the session, on four wins, but with the Chinese having played one game less and also holding a 100% record – as opposed to the single loss each of Great Britain and Sweden have suffered – China remain at the top of the table.

In this win, Murdoch’s men  stole more points  – three in total – than points they scored with last stone advantage.  For the first time so far, skip David Murdoch was out-drawn for last stone advantage.   Regardless of that, they opened with a single steal when USA’s John Shuster’s tap-up in a busy house went wrong.   USA blanked the second, and Britain stole a further two points in the third for 3-0, when a USA attempt to come in  off a winger didn’t work out.

USA got on the scoreboard with a hit and stay for one point, but Britain responded with a single point of their own in the fifth end when Murdoch drew his final stone into shot position, giving Britain a 4-1 half-time lead.

The Americans then blanked the sixth and could do no more than score another single point in the seventh end.  Britain responded again with a single point in the eighth end to restore a three-point lead, at 5-2.  USA could only score another single point in the ninth end and then ran out of stones in the tenth, with the result at 5-3 to Britain.

Britain's "commanding" front end

Britain’s “commanding” front end

Afterwards, a delighted Murdoch said, “that was a commanding  performance.  That’s what we talked about a couple of days ago, and yet again we did it.  I think we dominated from start to finish.  We were aggressive in the first five ends and got our lead and we were clinical after that.  We had some great shot-making and I thought Greg (Drummond) was on fire”.

When reminded that he had more steal shots than hammer shots, he said, “it’s not often you can say that, but it’s good to see.  It  means we’re drawing well and getting our rocks in perfect spots and causing them all sorts of trouble”.

Asked about where to from here, he said, “you’re always trying to do better.  I think  we’re gradually getting stronger – we’ll need to be, we’ve got a lot of tough games to come.  It’s all about  momentum, if we can keep going the way we are, then we’re in a good place.  I think we’re very comfortable with the situation right now.  We’re up there near the top and if you’d said that at the start of the week, I’d be very happy with that.   We’ve got a good formula going now, so it’s just keep doing what we’re doing”.

Meanwhile USA second Jared Zezel said, “today we didn’t play good enough to beat those guys, and they played great”.

The British men now sit out Friday morning’s session, but face Denmark in the evening session.

RESULTS

Session 6: Switzerland 6, Russia 7; Canada 7, Denmark 6; Norway 4, Sweden 5; Great Britain 5, USA 3. (bye – China, Germany)

Standings after 6 sessions: China 4-0; Great Britain, Sweden 4-1; Norway 3-1; Canada 3-2; Denmark 2-3; USA 1-3; Russia, Switzerland 1-4; Germany 0-4

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN session 5: China 7, Great Britain 8

Although the final score-line was tight, at 8-7 to Britain, Eve Muirhead and her team controlled their game against China in Thursday morning’s fifth session of women’s round-robin play.  This gave the British team their second win and keeps them well in qualification contention.

China started with last stone advantage and, when Muirhead just failed to clear out the second of two Chinese stones in the first end, China’s Bingyu Wang used that advantage to hit and stay for two points.  But the British team levelled with two of their own in the second and, in the third, an umpire’s measure gave China just one point for them to take a 3-2 lead.

Job done!

Job done!

Muirhead’s team turned the tide in the fourth end when Muirhead’s last stone came tight round two guards and chipped out a Chinese stone to score two for a 4-3 lead.  Britain then forced China to take a single point in the fifth as they kept the initiative.  After the break, a tap-up for two gave Britain a 6-4 lead.  The teams then swapped singles in the next two ends before China scored two in the ninth when Wang played a tap-up, to level the score at 7-7.

The British knew they should keep the last end simple and they were helped in this ambition when second player Vicky Adams cleared two Chinese stones out of the house.  Eventually, Muirhead had a draw to the four-foot for the one point that produced the  8-7 victory.

Speaking about the last end in particular, Muirhead said, “I love it when my team play so great.  Vicky played a fantastic double-rip that really opened up that last end. It left me a draw to the four-foot, which, as a skip is a routine shot.  The sweepers looked after it really well, and Anna called the line great – it was a real team effort.  If I was asked before the game if I wanted to be all square with China in the last end, with the hammer, I’d take that all day long”.

More generally, she said, “I was really pleased with that, it was a solid performance and we realised how important that game was, because China are always going to be a really tough team.  It was essential for us to get a win there.  I think we’ve got a bit of  momentum going.  Yes, we dropped our games against Sweden and Canada but they’re two tough nations.  And we know we didn’t play great, so we know we can play a lot better against them if we come up against them again, but it’s essential that we keep this performance going and get better and better”.

The British women now sit out Thursday evening’s sixth round-robin session and are next in action against Japan on Friday afternoon.

RESULTS

Session 5: Canada 8, Denmark 5; China 7, Great Britain 8; Switzerland 8, Sweden 9. (bye – Japan, Korea, Russia, USA)

Standings after 5 sessions: Canada won 4, lost 0; Sweden, Switzerland 3-1; Japan 2-1; Great Britain, Russia 2-2; Korea 1-2; Denmark, USA 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty

PIcture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 5: Switzerland 2, Great Britain 4

David Murdoch’s British team produced a workmanlike performance to beat Switzerland by 4-2 in Wednesday evening’s fifth session of men’s round-robin play and record their third win so far.

Britain were always in control against Switzerland

Britain were always in control against Switzerland

This was a cagey game, that featured four blank ends in total.  Murdoch caused the first two of these before opening the scoring in the third end with just one shot when his attempted hit and stay for two rolled on instead.  In the fourth end the British put a stone on the button early and despite all the Swiss efforts to remove it, Britain emerged with a single steal from the end.  The fifth end saw Switzerland with last stone for the first time and eventually their skip Michel Sven was forced to draw for one.  Murdoch restored his two-shot lead in the sixth when he nudged out an Swiss counter with his second stone. The Swiss blanked the seventh and scored one in the eighth after which Britain blanked the ninth and scored one point in the tenth with a Murdoch take-out to win by 4-2.

After the game Murdoch said, “that was a much better performance, we really came out today really firing.   We wanted to come out and step on their toes.  We were always going to stay ahead of them and we just pushed and pushed them the whole game .  we really dominated throughout and were in control”.

Asked about how his team felt, he said, “it’s always tense – this is the Olympics, so you don’t want to miss a shot, never mind lose a game, but we’re 3-1 and I would have taken that at the start of the week”

The British men now face the USA in Thursday afternoon’s only men’s session.

RESULTS: Germany 7, China 11; Switzerland 2, Great Britain 4; Russia 4, Canada 7; Denmark 8, Sweden 5 (bye Norway, USA).

Standings after 5 sessions: China won 4, lost 0; Norway 3-0; Great Britain, Sweden 3-1; Canada, Denmark 2-2; USA 1-2; Switzerland 1-3; Germany, Russia 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 4: Canada 9, Great Britain 6

In Tuesday afternoon’s fourth session of women’s round-robin play, Canada beat Great Britain by 9-6 with a single steal in the last end of the game, to remain unbeaten on three wins.

When she came to play last stone in this end, skip Eve Muirhead was looking at a straightforward draw within the eight-foot ring to score two and tie the game up. But, keeping in mind she would have had to steal an extra end for victory, and that the Canadians have yet to give up a stolen end in this event, she opted to attempt a triple take-out on three clustered Canadian stones that would have given her a score of three and the win.  This attempt got rid of two of the Canadian stones, but did not have enough energy to remove the third, which instead rolled into shot position inside two of Muirhead’s own.

Worried looks all round - Canada's Dawn McEwen (l) and Jill Officer behind Eve Muirhead

Worried looks all round – Canada’s Dawn McEwen (l) and Jill Officer behind Eve Muirhead

Muirhead had won the draw shot challenge to have last stone in the first end, but she came up short with her last effort in that end to give Canada a steal of one, and the British found themselves chasing the game from then on.  They levelled with a single in the second, but Canada took two points from the third when Muirhead missed a double take-out and Canadian skip Jennifer Jones drew accurately.

In the fourth end, Muirhead split the house with her first stone and then hit out a Canadian stone to score two and keep her team in touch at 3-3.  However, Jones played a nice angle take-out to score three in the fifth for a 6-3 half-time lead. A good double by Muirhead in the sixth end yielded two points and kept Britain in the game at 5-6.  In the seventh both teams debated whether a Canadian stone at the back of the house was in or out, and Jones hit and stayed with her last stone, instead of rolling out, and was dismayed when the umpire confirmed the back-stone was out, meaning she only scored one when a blanked end would have been preferable.

Muirhead had a nose-hit attempt to score two points in the eighth, but she wrecked on the way in and only scored one point to remain one point behind at 6-7.  Jones responded with a tap-up to score one point in the ninth and restore her two-point lead and then survived Muirhead’s very aggressive last stone call in the tenth to keep her unbeaten record going.

Afterwards, a philosophical Muirhead said, “it was always going to be a close game and we had a great chance in the last end “.  She acknowledged her poor start in giving up a steal, saying, “we always were on the back foot” adding, “but we played a couple of good ends and we managed to force them into ones, which was good. It’s always a big game against Canada but there’s a lot of positives to take out of that game, and there’s a lot of games left.  We knew our first three games were going to be tough”.

Meanwhile , Canadian skip Jones said, “we took it right down to the wire – either team could have won that game. In the last end we made a really good shot on my first one and it saved the game for us. We were in a little bit of trouble and fortunately we were lucky enough not to have to go to the extra end.”

The British women now face China in Wednesday’s morning session.

RESULTS.

Session 4: Japan 8, Russia 4; USA 4, China 7; Korea 4, Sweden 7; Canada 9, Great Britain 6. (bye – Denmark, Switzerland)

STANDINGS after 4 sessions:

Canada, Switzerland 3-0;  China, Japan, Sweden 2-1; Russia 2-2; Great Britain, Korea 1-2; Denmark 0-3, USA 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture; Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 4

Great Britain sat out Wednesday morning’s fourth session of men’s round-robin play, along with Canada, Russia and Sweden.   They face Switzerland in Wednesday evening’s fifth session.

RESULTS

Session 4: Denmark 5, USA 9; Norway 8, Germany 5; China 5, Switzerland 4.

Standings after 4 sessions: China, Norway, Sweden won 3, lost 0; Great Britain 2-1; Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, USA 1-2; Germany, Russia 0-3.

WOMEN: Session 3: Great Britain 12, USA 3.

Eve Muirhead’s British women bounced back from their opening defeat at the hands of Sweden with a thumping 12-3 six-end win over USA in Tuesday evening’s third session of round-robin play.

Britain's Vicky Adams is a study in concentration

Britain’s Vicky Adams is a study in concentration

Earlier, they had to sit out the morning second session of play that saw Canada, Russia and Switzerland move unbeaten to the top of the ranking, but they signalled their intent straightaway against the USA, with single steals in the first two ends, for a 2-0 lead.  USA got on the scoreboard with one point in the third and then had a complete disaster in the fourth with mistake after mistake while Britain rolled stone after stone into the house.  Eventually skip Erica Brown’s last draw rubbed a front guard and lay open, leaving Muirhead with the simplest of hit and stay shots to score what is a single end Olympic record-breaking seven for an unassailable  9-1 lead.

USA managed to score two in the fifth end and then, after the half-time break, the British women finished with a flourish when Muirhead played a perfect double take-out to score three points for a 12-3 score-line, after which the Americans immediately conceded defeat.

Later a smiling Muirhead said, “that was a lot more like us, that was like Team Muirhead out there.  We played really well.  We said right after yesterday’s game that the ice was especially quick and we all learned from what we did wrong yesterday and we all came out firing tonight”.

When told her score of seven in the fourth was an Olympic record, she reacted – “Oh wow!”, then, with eight points being the maximum single end score available in curling, she joked, “after it happened, we were looking for who to  blame – who didn’t get the other one into place!”

Asked how she felt about recovering from her Monday defeat to European champions Sweden, she said, “I wouldn’t say relief, just more pleased that we played like we can play – still not perfect, but night and day compared to yesterday.  We’ve got a bit of momentum going now.  That’s the kind of game we want to have early on, and now we want to keep that going.”

The British women are now up against unbeaten Canada in the only women’s session today.

RESULTS.

Session 3: Great Britain 12, USA 3; Korea 6, Switzerland 8; Denmark 3, Japan 8; China 7, Russia 5. (bye – Canada, Sweden).

Standings after 3 sessions: Switzerland won 3, lost 0; Canada 2-0; Russia 2-1; China, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Sweden 1-1; Denmark, USA 0-3.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN session 3: Great Britain 7, Germany 6.

It took all the way to a last-stone, last-end single steal, but David Murdoch’s British men beat Germany by 7-6 in Tuesday afternoon’s third session of men’s round-robin play to record their second win so far.

After both teams opened with singles in the first two ends, Murdoch tried what he called two “glory shots” in the third and fourth ends, each time trying to come-in off wingers for double take-outs.  Both just missed and Germany gained two successive single steals and a 3-1 lead.  In the fifth end, Murdoch repaired that damage when he split the house with his own first draw in the fifth and then scored two with his second draw, to tie the game at 3-3.

By contrast to Murdoch’s two failed attempts off wingers, German fourth player Felix Schulze was successful with his attempt at this shot in the sixth end, to score two.  But, although they were actually looking to blank the end,  Britain levelled the score again in the seventh when Schulze had a complete miss with his last stone, allowing Murdoch a simple draw for a most unexpected two points that levelled the game again at 5-5.  In the eighth, the Germans were forced to finally settle for just one point.

In the ninth end, Murdoch cleared out three German stones with his first shot and lay two, but Shulze followed that up with a successful double take-out that meant Murdoch had to draw for just one point to level the game at 6-6 and go into the last end without last stone.

In the tenth, the British team set up well, with two centre guards that dictated play throughout the end.  Eventually, for the second time, Schulze had a complete miss, leaving a British stone around the button to score one for the single steal that gave Britain the win.

Britain's front end in action

Britain’s front end in action

Afterwards, when asked how much Olympic luck he had used up in the game, a relieved Murdoch said, “it’s about time we had some Olympic luck, I’ve not had much in my previous eight years!  That’s what this team is all about, it’s about forcing pressure on the opposition skip to make a mess of it, and we did that”, adding, “we always fancy our chance of a steal in the last end if we’re down, it’s one of our strong points”.

“We had a terrible first half , then we really came out flying.  We just quite didn’t set  up as well as we like to in the first half, we got caught out a couple of times and it puts them on the front foot.  We didn’t get our twos with hammer and we went for a couple of glory shots to try to get our twos and we missed them by half an inch, which is hard to take”

Explaining the turn-round in their second half form, he said, “our coach had a good talk with us about believing in our ourselves and coming out and playing the way we can, and I think we did that. We need to take that play into future games.  We were pretty pumped up after  winning and we were just saying to ourselves how we need that attitude for the rest of the games.  We’ve got to be a lot more pumped coming into the start of games and come out firing a lot quicker”.

Talking about Germany, he said, “those guys know what they’re doing, they’ll certainly pick up some wins during the week” and speaking generally about the competition so far, he added, “from what I can see  there’s lot of close scores.  There’s a lot of accurate hitting.  You can’t fault the ice, it’s up to you to play well on that ice, and the guys are doing a great job”.

The British men now sit out the fourth session before facing Switzerland on Wednesday evening.

RESULTS.

Session 3: Canada 6, Sweden 7; USA 4, China 9; Great Britain 7, Germany 6; Norway 9, Russia 8 (bye – Denmark, Switzerland).

Standings after 3 sessions: Sweden won 3, lost 0; China, Norway 2-0; Great Britain 2-1;Denmark, Switzerland 1-1; Canada 1-2; Germany, USA 0-2; Russia 0-3.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 2

The British women sat out the second session of round-robin play on Tuesday morning, while Korea and Japan faced each other as they started their campaigns, with Korea emerging as 12-7 winners.

Canada, Russia and Switzerland moved to the top of the leader-board as they all recorded their second wins to keep their unbeaten records.

The British women are back on ice for the Tuesday evening session, facing USA.

RESULTS

Switzerland 7, Denmark 6; Sweden 3, Canada 9; Russia 9, USA 6; Korea 12, Japan 7 .

Standings after 2 sessions: Canada, Russia, Switzerland won 2,  lost 0; Korea 1-0; Sweden 1-1; China, Great Britain, Korea 0-1; Denmark, USA 0-2

MEN Session 2: Sweden 8, Great Britain 4

The British men suffered their first loss of the round-robin so far when they went down by 4-8 to world champions Sweden in Monday’s evening’s second men’s session of round-robin play

By skip Murdoch’s own admission, his team were slack and, after opening the scoring with a single point in the first end, the British quartet found themselves 2-4 down after a fifth end that saw Murdoch just fail to take out three Swedish counters, leaving  one in the house and allowing Swedish skip Niklas Edin the most straightforward of draws to score two from the end.

By the eighth end, the British team was still down and trying to steal or force a single score, but Sweden’s third player Sebastian Kraupp completely disrupted the British set-up with a cross-house double take-out  and eventually Edin had a promote double take-out to score four and effectively end the game as a contest.  Murdoch had the consolation of drawing his last stone in the ninth end onto the button to score one before shaking, with the score at 8-4 to Sweden.

After the game, a downbeat Murdoch said, “I just don’t think we put enough pressure on them.  We’ve got a good record against those guys, but when you don’t play your ‘A’ game , you can’t expect to win.  There’s a lot of tough teams here and it just  shows that when you’re not playing your best game, you’re going to be chasing”.  He added, “they were mostly in control for most of the games.  We didn’t have a great set-up and we were chasing some of the ends”, adding, “we just need to put that to one side – a loss to the world champions isn’t the end of the world”.

The swedes were just too good for Britain

The Swedes were just too good for Britain

Murdoch’s men now face Germany in their only Tuesday game.

RESULTS: USA 4, Norway 7; Denmark , Russia (extra end); Canada 4, Switzerland 5; Sweden 8, Great Britain 4.

Standings after 2 sessions: Sweden won2, lost 0; China, Norway 1-0; Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Switzerland 1-1; Germany, USA 0-1; Russia 0-2.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 1: Sweden 6, Great Britain 4

The British women went down by 4-6 to Sweden in their opening round-robin game here.

Skip Eve Muirhead won the draw shot challenge to have last stone and she blanked the first end.  Then in the second end, she just missed a raise take-out with her final stone to hand Sweden a steal of one and the lead.  The British team were in trouble again in the third end, and Muirhead found herself facing four Swedish counters when she came to play her last stone in that end.  She hit one of them out but rolled further than she wanted, to give up a further steal of two points, handing Sweden a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth end, Muirhead got on the scoreboard with a draw to count one.  After this, the British team got themselves back into the game with single steals in each of the fifth and sixth ends to level the score at 3-3.  But Sweden moved ahead again in the seventh end when their fourth player Maria Prytz cleared out some trouble with her first stone and drew for two points with her second.

The eighth end was looking good for Britain when third player Anna Sloan split the house with a nicely-judged hit and roll but a later nose-hit attempt just rolled out of the house which eventually resulted in Muirhead drawing for one point, rather than the two that had looked likely earlier in the end.  Sweden moved two points clear again in the ninth when Prytz had a nose-hit for one point and a 6-4 lead.  In the tenth, Britain could not get anything going and eventually conceded before Muirhead played her last stone.

Sweden's skip and lead Margaretha Sigfridsson watches closely with Britain's Eve Muirhead and Anna Sloan keeping an eye on developmentsf

Sweden’s skip and lead Margaretha Sigfridsson watches closely with Britain’s Eve Muirhead and Anna Sloan keeping an eye on developments

After the game, Muirhead said, “it’s always disappointing to lose your first match.  It was always going to be tough – they are the current European champions and one of the favourites out here.  We got off to a slow start and managed to crawl back to get to all-square, but she (Maria Prytz) played a fantastic shot in the seventh end that gave them that step ahead.  That’s one out of nine, so I’m definitely not disheartened. We just weren’t making the simple shots.  We’ll need to come out tomorrow, firing a bit sharper from the start”.

Asked if she would be worried about facing Sweden again she said, “we don’t have a great round-robin record against them but in play-offs we do have a good record to them.  If we meet them again, I definitely won’t be scared”.

The arena was packed with an enthusiastic Russian crowd, and Muirhead explained, “the crowd’s crazy out there and we had some mis-communications.  Tomorrow we know we’re going to have to use a lot of hand signals if Russia are playing.

The British women now sit out Tuesday morning’s session of play, but face USA in the evening session.

RESULTS.

Women Session 1: China 2, Canada 9; Switzerland , USA ; Sweden 6, Great Britain 4; Russia 7, Denmark  4. (bye- Korea, Japan)

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 1: Russia 4, Great Britain 7

The British men opened their campaign with a convincing 7-4 win over hosts Russia in front of a noisy home crowd.

David Murdoch and his men could not have had a more straightforward opener, with Murdoch’s official stats scoring him at 100% and the team at 89%.

Having won the hammer, they blanked the first end and then Murdoch had a simple draw to score two in the second for an early lead he would never lose.

The Russians, with Alexey Stukalskiy skipping, blanked the next two ends looking for a big score, but a good freeze by Murdoch in the fifth end forced Stukalskiy to draw for just one in the fifth to leave the British still in the lead, at 2-1.

The sixth end was the real turning point and, when Murdoch hit out the sole Russian stone lying in the house, the British scored four points for a 6-1 lead.  The teams swapped singles in the next two ends and a brief Russian revival saw them score two points in the ninth after they split the house early in the end.  Murdoch’s men then ran Russia out of stones in the tenth for their opening win, by 7-4.

The British men always controlled the opening game against Russia

The British men always controlled the opening game against Russia

After the game, Murdoch said, “It’s good to get the first one out of the way, you never really know what it’s going to be like.  The ice is absolutely great and we really got used to the conditions quickly”.  Speaking about the big sixth end, he said, “we got that big four, and once we got our noses in front, we were coming home nicely.  We could have played that a little bit down-weight to try to get five, but we knew we’d take four to be five up and had a bit of comfort” and, acknowledging that he sometimes is not the best of starters at round-robins, he said, “it makes a change to open with a win, and we’ll take that momentum into tonight.  We’re playing the world champions (Sweden) tonight and they’ve just had a win too, so it’s going to be a tough game”.

Sweden beat European champions Switzerland by 7-5, while elsewhere, Canada had to come from behind to beat Germany by 11-8 and China defeated Denmark by 7-4.

In the evening session, The British quartet face Sweden, Canada play Switzerland and Denmark face Russia, while USA and Norway have their opening games.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

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