Scots beat Hungary to keep title quest alive

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SCOTLAND’S Eve Muirhead kept her campaign to retain her title alive at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden, with a businesslike 8-5 win over Hungary yesterday.

In contrast, Tom Brewster’s men went down by 6-7 to table-topping Sweden but, with a 6-5 win over Hungary in their last round-robin game last night, finished seventh overall to make sure of Scotland’s place in this season’s world championships.

In the women’s event, the Scots took control from the second end when Muirhead hit to score three. They then stole a single in the fifth when Hungary’s skip Ildiko Szekeres could only remove one of two Scottish counters, to give them a 5-3 halftime lead. Although Hungary levelled in the sixth, another two shots in the seventh gave Scotland a 7-5 lead. They built that to 8-5 in the eighth when Hungary missed a chance for two and handed Scotland a ­single steal. Eventually, Scotland ran the Hungarians out of stones.

Muirhead said: “We didn’t play badly but they played great out there. The scoreline was close but we were in control.”

Looking forward to her key last round-robin game against Russia this morning, she added: “We’ve got a big game, that’s going to determine a lot”.

The Scottish men have had wretched luck on and off the ice at this event and yesterday’s game against Sweden was no different. The weekend medal games are out of reach but they looked like winning this game. Skip Brewster played a nice soft take-out in the sixth end to score three for a 5-2 lead. But Sweden fought back and, in the ninth end, skip Niklas Edin tapped out a Scottish counter to score two and then moved on to win 7-6.

After the game, Brewster said: “That was one that got away.”

After the 6-5 victory over Hungary, Brewster added: “We were always in control.”

On having to win to qualify for the worlds he added: “I was almost as nervous as playing in a world final but we’ve come through it.”