Curling: ‘Sharp’ Scots on course for Euro title defence

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Scotland’s women kept their title defence right on track at the Le Gruyere European Championships in Sweden, beating Russia 6-5 in their concluding round-robin game.

That meant that Scotland finished second in the rankings and have given themselves the bonus of a place in the top play-off game today against table-topping Sweden, giving them two opportunities to reach tomorrow’s final.

It was a clinical performance by the Scots against Russia, particularly in the second half. The Scots took two in the first end and, when the Russians responded with a score of three after a measure in the second end, and then a single steal in the third, the Scots responded straightaway as skip Eve Muirhead drew nicely for two in the fourth to level the game at 4-4. There was no stopping the Scots after that. They stole one in the sixth to take the lead and, after a blank seventh, forced the Russians to take just one shot in the eighth, levelling the game at 5-5 but, crucially, giving Scotland last stone advantage. The Scots engineered a blank in the ninth, and, in the tenth, scored the one needed for victory without Muirhead having to play her last stone as an attempted Russian freeze nudged a Scottish stone into shot position. Afterwards, Muirhead said: “We came out sharp. We controlled that. I think even just our body language showed that we wanted it more”.

The top women’s play-off sees Sweden against Scotland in the 1-2 game (winner to final, loser to semi-final) and Russia playing the winner of a tie-breaker between Denmark and Switzerland in the 3-4 game (winner to semi-final, loser to bronze