Curling: Muirhead books final spot in Latvia

Eve MUIRHEAD and her Scottish team of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and lead Claire Hamilton beat Canada 8-7 in a tense semi-final of the Titlis Glacier Mountain World Women’s Curling Championship here in Latvia last night and now face Sweden for gold medals today.

The Scots had control from the start of the game, but a slack eighth end put them in trouble, only for the Scots to score the only steal of the game in a tense tenth end to win the game.

Now Muirhead is aiming to go one better than she did on her last appearance in a world final, when Scotland lost to Germany in 2010. “I don’t want to come away with a silver,” she said. “Making the final’s great but when you’ve already got one silver medal from a final, you don’t want another one, so we’ll be definitely pushing hard for the gold.”

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The Scots scored two in the opening end, but they could not shake off the Canadians who scored a two of their own in the second end.

The teams swapped twos again in ends three and four to tie the score at 4-4. Muirhead could only take one point from the fifth end, and then Canada’s skip Rachel Homan scored one point with a pressure draw against three Scottish counters in the sixth end to tie again, at 5-5. The Scots had two slack shots in the eighth from second player Adams and third Sloan and this put them into trouble. Canada were eventually able to draw for two and take the lead for the first time in the game, at 7-6.

In the ninth end, Homan played an important double take-out with her last stone, forcing Muirhead to score just one point to level the game at 7-7.

In the tenth, Canada’s Homan held last stone advantage and had what looked like a fairly easy double take-out to score just the one point needed for their win, but she was too straight and jammed one of the Scottish stones. This gave Scotland the first steal of the game for 8-7.

Afterwards, a smiling Muirhead said: “I’m delighted with that. We managed to pick up our two in the first end and it could have gone either way. I think it was a real high-quality game, but when it comes down to last stone like that, I tell you what – I’d rather be playing than watching because I’m not the best watcher. We always have good battles, Rachel and I, and it just shows you that was a good battle.”

Speaking about the tense last end, Muirhead added: “We didn’t have a lot of time out there, and first things first, you’ve got to make her play a shot.

“I don’t think I could have made my last stone any better. The girls set up the end well. Leaving her a big double hit is probably not ideal because she loves that shot, but when the pressure’s on, it make it tougher for anyone.”