STEELY SCOTS EARN THEIR PLACE IN EURO FINAL

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Two-time former champion Eve Muirhead held her nerve to steer her rink into another final at the Le Gruyere AOP European Curling Championships, by coolly drawing the shot with her final delivery of an always close fought semi-final with Switzerland’s world champions in Helsingborg. 

She and team-mates Lauren Gray, Jen Dodds and Vicky Wright out-performed their opponents throughout the match, but there was never anything in it as Team Paetz demonstrated the resolve that took them to that world title earlier this year.

The Swiss quartet had started with the advantage of having the hammer, having finished higher in the round-robin stages and with neither side prepared to give anything away scoring was restricted to a single shot apiece by the midway break.

That pattern continued after play resumed, but the key moment came in the eighth end when the Scots managed to steal a shot, the tightness of the encounter accentuated when that was decided by a measure.

With the onus to make things happen now reversed, the ninth end was blanked and Swiss skip Alina Paetz did well to draw for the levelling shot, under considerable pressure, to extend the match.

The Scots then made their advantage tell with a perfectly executed extra end, lead Vicky Wright setting the tone with two deftly executed ticks to keep the route to the centre of the house open and ensure it was straightforward from that point on.

“That game was 100 per cent a game of patience,” ex-world champion Muirhead said afterwards. 

“I think we called a really good game. We decided we’d take them pretty hard in the even ends, because obviously we didn’t have hammer at the start, so you’re always on the back foot from the word go. But at peels playing the eighth end without hammer, we said let’s double centre, let’s go really hard for a steal here. That’s exactly what we did and I do think the eighth end was probably the turning point.

“It wasn’t just me, that last end was 100 per cent end by the whole team and they left my work pretty easy to be honest. Vicky had two fantastic ticks, Lauren and Jen made their clears, so for them to make my job easy was nice.”

Their attention now turns to a gold medal play-off with defending European and reigning Olympic champions Team Hasselborg, who raised hopes of a double triumph for the host nation when they eased past Russia 9-3 in the other semi-final, their representatives in the men’s event, Team Edin, having earned a place in their final the previous day. 

“Sweden’s going to be a different game,” Muirhead acknowledged.

“It’s going to be tough and I think a Scotland-Sweden final’s going to be a very good game, I really do. It’s going to be a big battle and it’ll be about digging deep, but I’m up for it and I think we’re capable of something pretty special.”

TEAM MUIRHEAD
Eve Muirhead
Lauren Gray
Jennifer Dodds
Vicky Wright
Sophie Sinclair (alternate)

#ECC2019 #curling

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Saturday 16 November
Scotland v Norway 7-4

Sunday 17 November
Scotland v Denmark 7-6 (EE)
Scotland v Czech Republic 8-5

Monday 18 November
Scotland v Switzerland 9-8
Scotland v Sweden 4-11

Tuesday 19 November
Scotland v Germany 10-5

Wednesday 20 November
Scotland v Latvia 10-4
Scotland v Russia 5-10

Thursday 21 November
Scotland v Estonia 7-6

Friday 22 November
Women’s semi finals
Scotland v Switzerland 3-2 (EE)
Sweden v Russia 9-3
Women’s bronze medal game
Switzerland v Russia

Saturday 23 November
Women’s gold medal game
Scotland v Sweden

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