Curling: Scots slip to loss and medal hopes gone

It was a mixed day for the Scots, who beat the USA but lost to the Czechs
It was a mixed day for the Scots, who beat the USA but lost to the Czechs
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There were mixed fortunes again for Scotland yesterday at the CPT World Men’s Curling Championship in China.

In their morning game in Beijing, the Scots rink recorded their second win of the week with an 8-6 defeat of USA, but then went down by 5-6 to the Czech Republic in their evening match.

Against the USA, the Scots forced their opponents to take just a single point at the eighth end. Then, in the next end, skip Ewan MacDonald cleared out two USA stones with his first effort to lie three, and then, with his last stone, played a hit and stay to score three and take an 8-5 lead.

Eventually, in the tenth end, MacDonald removed a USA guard to run his opponents out of stones with just one American stone sitting in the house to score a consolation point.

Afterwards, MacDonald said: “We feel better for getting that win on the board. The guys played good, a good solid performance, and it was nice to finish it off. It was good to get a win.”

The later loss to the Czechs, however, was Scotland’s fifth defeat of the week, a result that virtually wipes out their tie-breaker or play-off chances.

The Scots had a bad start, giving up a steal of two in the second end after blanking the first. They opened their account with a single shot in the third and then got back into the game with a single steal in the fourth end to level at 2-2.

The score was level at 5-5 after nine ends, but the Scots did not have the crucial last stone in the tenth.

Despite powerful sweeping by the Scottish front end of Euan Byers and Dave Reid, MacDonald’s last stone just feathered a front guard, leaving a Czech stone already sitting in the house to score the one point needed to give them a 6-5 win.

Afterwards a visibly upset MacDonald spoke about the tenth end in particular.

He said: “What can I say? We’re absolutely gutted with that, not even a millimetre – to rub it by that little. The thing is, we had to go tight on the guard. We couldn’t miss the guard by a lot to move it because it was sitting on top of the tee. I thought the boys had held it there, I thought it was perfect.”

The Scots face table-toppers Norway today, followed by bottom-placed Russia.