Curling: Shaky start shrugged off by Muirhead

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SCOTLAND’S Eve Muirhead recovered from a shaky start with two solid wins yesterday as she defends her title at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships.

She had faced the toughest of openers to her campaign on Saturday when the round-robin draw gave her reigning world champions Switzerland as her first opponents of the week. This game swung between the two teams throughout until eventually, in trying to score the two shots that would give her victory, Muirhead’s last effort went wrong and she went down by 3-5. She then made short work of beating Italy in her second game yesterday morning, gaining her first victory, by 8-2 in just eight ends.

Later the Scottish women came back on to the ice to face Finland, setting up their eventual 11-5 win with a score of four in the third end when Muirhead’s last stone was well-swept into a busy house. Afterwards, Muirhead said: “We controlled that game – we did what we needed to do”.

The Scottish men, led by Aberdeen’s Tom Brewster, also had mixed fortunes. They lost their opener on Saturday morning, going down by 5-6 to the Czech Republic.

After that, however, they secured a straightforward eight-end 7-2 win over Germany in their Saturday evening second round-robin game.

Brewster’s men then suffered another set-back yesterday morning, going down by 5-8 to Russia. After losing three shots in the first two ends, it took until the eighth end for the Scots to claw back level at 5-5, but they were tight on the time-clock, rushed their play in the tenth end and gave up a steal of one when Brewster wrecked with his first stone.