Eve Muirhead and her Scottish team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, lead Claire Hamilton and alternate Sarah Reid carved out the chance to defend their title when they beat Sweden by 9-3 in yesterday’s Page play-off at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships here in Karlstad, Sweden.
Sweden opened the scoring with a single in the second, when their fourth player Maria Prytz had to draw against four Scottish counters. But the Scottish breakthrough came in the fifth end when Muirhead had a nose-hit for two.
In a sixth end that featured a spectacular triple take-out by second player Adams, Sweden levelled the game at 3-3 with a single. The Scots blanked the seventh and then Muirhead made a hit for four in the eighth for a 7-3 lead and effectively ended the game. The Scots took a steal of two in the ninth when Prytz missed, and the teams shook hands with a final score of 9-3.
Muirhead now goes into her third successive European final, while Sweden have a second chance to face the Scots again in today’s final as they now drop down to the sole semi-final.
After the game, Muirhead said: “I really enjoyed that, and the girls made my job easy. Right till the fifth, each team was forcing ones, but once you get that two, that’s you in control. We blanked the seventh end and went for a two in the eighth and came out with a four, which was a bit of a bonus”.
She added: “I love these big games, we’ve trained so hard all season and this shows all our hard work is beginning to pay off,” and looking forward, she said: “I don’t really mind who we play in the final but I think that coming out and winning like that will play on their minds, whichever team it is. Hopefully we will bring the same game to the final.”
In the other Page game between third-ranked Denmark and fourth-ranked Russia, the Danes took the early lead, but the Russians fought back and levelled the score at 5-5 in the sixth.
Russia eventually won by 7-6 to move onto the semi-final against Sweden, while Denmark await the loser of that game to play off for bronze medals.
Also on the ice in this session was the men’s semi-final, with defending champions Norway defeating the Czech Republic by 6-4.
They now face Sweden again in today’s men’s final, while the Czechs play Denmark for bronze.