Muirhead crushes Swiss to reach European final

Anna Sloan shouts instructions during Scotland's 10-3 demolition of Switzerland. Picture: Richard Gray
Anna Sloan shouts instructions during Scotland's 10-3 demolition of Switzerland. Picture: Richard Gray
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Eve Muirhead’s Scotland will play in their fourth successive European Championships final today, following a 10-3 victory over Switzerland in yesterday’s Page 1 versus 2 Play-off game at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships.

This was a tenth successive victory for Muirhead and her team of Anna Sloan, Vicky Adams and Claire Hamilton, and it was as dominant a performance as they have produced all week.

Scotland made the early breakthrough in the fourth end. With an earlier stone sitting at the back of the house, Muirhead had a hit-and-stay on a Swiss stone in the front of the house to claim two shots and take a 3-1 lead.

In the fifth end, Swiss skip Mirjam Ott was heavy with her last stone giving Scotland a steal of three and a 6-1 lead.

The Swiss took a single in the sixth end to cut the Scottish lead to 6-2 and, in the seventh, Muirhead played boldly, producing two straight raises of her own stones to score four shots and effectively end the game.

At this point, the teams shook hands, only to be reminded by the umpire that playing out eight ends is mandatory at this stage of the event. The eighth end was a quiet affair and Ott finally drew for one and a final score of 10-3 to Scotland before the teams shook hands for real.

Meanwhile, Sweden beat Denmark by 10-2 in the Page 3 
versus 4 game to go onto the semi-final against Switzerland, with the Scots facing the winners of that for gold.

Afterwards, Muirhead said: “We’re unbeaten so far this week, so we can’t complain, but we’ve still got a job to finish off”.

The Scots have only played a full ten ends three times this week and Muirhead acknowledged the dominant form her team has been showing.

She said: “We came out to do that. I think it shows we’re working hard as a team and stamping down a marker before the Olympic Games. Yes, this is a major Championships and we’re giving it everything, but this is a stepping stone towards the Olympic Games.”

Looking forward to the final, she said: “I think if we play the way we have been playing, it’ll be a good game. Whoever it is – Switzerland or Sweden – will come out firing. When you get to a gold medal game you give it everything, but we know how to win major championships and we know how to call a game against whoever we play. We need to stay patient – chances are it’ll come down to the last stone, last end.”

Following their last stone upset 5-6 loss to Denmark in their Page Play-off, David Murdoch’s Scottish men will play for bronze medals today at the same time as the women’s final.