Scotland's curlers suffer potentially damaging defeat in quest for Olympics

Scottish curler Eve Muirhead and her team suffered a potentially-disastrous defeat at the final Olympic qualifiers in Leeuwarden, Holland, on Sunday.

Eve Muirhead knows performance levels need to improve in the Netherlands.
Eve Muirhead knows performance levels need to improve in the Netherlands.

The recently-crowned European champion and her colleagues Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds and Vicky Wright must finish in the top three at this event to secure their place at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing in February, and all seemed well when they won their opening round-robin fixture on Saturday.

Muirhead and company beat Dilsat Yildiz and her Turkish rink 9-4 at last month's Euros, but Yildiz scored 12 points in both games on Saturday and rattled the Scots with more heavy scoring.

An early 2-1 lead was soon wiped out, and Turkey went on to post a shock 7-3 win when they stole four points against the Scottish throw.

Muirhead's under-pressure squad now faces a crucial double-header on Monday against Olympic silver and bronze medallists Korea and Japan.

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“We’re obviously very disappointed,” said the skip. “It’s conditions here that we’ve not experienced all season, in fact we’ve not experienced for years unfortunately on the circuit. It’s pretty disappointing to come here and not have nice arena conditions.

“We’ve got two tough games and we’ve just got to hope that in some way we can figure things out to get through this.

“It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be a challenge. We know the conditions probably aren’t going to change, so we need to try to play for it to be on our side, but when you’ve always played in decent, half-decent ice conditions and find yourself facing something you don’t get at all on the circuit now, it makes it hard.”