ECC 2013: Day 5 Early Round-up

Carmen Küng and team from Switzerland suffered their first defeat earlier today Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Switzerland faced Russia in Wednesday morning's eighth session of men's round-robin play at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Stavanger, Norway, looking for a victory that would seal their place in the weekend's medal play-off games.

In the third end, Swiss skip Michel Sven took a 2-1 lead with a draw for two points and in the fifth he had a hit to score a further three points for a 5-2 lead. The Swiss eventually won by 8-3 in eight ends to keep their medal hopes alive.

Afterwards, Swiss skip Sven Michel said: "We are really happy at the moment. The pressure is gone a little bit now. We played well, struggled a few times but came back better after the fifth end break, so it was a good win.” He added: "Now we have an important game against Denmark tonight to see if we can make the Page play-off one-two game."

Unlike the Swiss, the Norwegians already knew they were in the play-offs, so their game against the Czech Republic was all about keeping their unbeaten record intact. They managed this with a 6-4 win, helped along the way by a hit for two points by skip Thomas Ulsrud in the fifth end. Norway will now finish top of the round-robin rankings.

World and defending European champions Sweden can no longer make the play-offs. Against Latvia, their skip Niklas Edin produced an angle double raise shot in the fourth end to count two points and take a 4-1 lead on his way to an eventual 7-3 victory in eight ends of play.

Like Switzerland, Scotland needed a victory in this session to ensure a medal play-off slot. They achieved that with a 9-2 win over France in just six ends, helped by an angle raise double take-out played by their skip David Murdoch in the fourth end to score three points.

This result means that Scotland will finish in fourth place on the rankings regardless of the result of their final round-robin game against Norway, and will therefore play in the Page 3 -4 Play-off game.

Skip Murdoch was pleased about that, saying: "That's the first thing you always look for, to get into the play-offs. That performance was solid throughout and if we keep playing like this and we're confident, we can make a lot of shots and hopefully win a few more games."

Looking forward to the medal games he added: "In some ways we prefer the big teams. We like the intensity and we're looking forward to playing those guys."

As Swiss skip Sven observed, Denmark are the fourth team that will be involved in the weekend medal play-offs. Denmark had an 8-5 win over Finland in their game in this session, during which, in the seventh end, their skip Rasmus Stjerne delivered a double take-out to score one point and move his lead to 5-4. After the Finns levelled the score, Stjerne finished the game off in the tenth end with a hit to score three more points and push the final score to 8-5.

In the women's eighth round-robin session that followed, Switzerland faced Russia, with the Swiss looking to keep their unbeaten record going and the Russians desperate for the win that would keep their medal hopes alive.

In the fifth end, Switzerland's Mirjam Ott played a double raise tap-back to score her first point of the game, but the Russians took control after this.

In the seventh end Russian skip Anna Sidorova hit for two points and a 4-3 lead and then, in the tenth end, she drew her final stone into the house to score one and win by 6-4.

After the game, Sidorova said: "That was really important for us because it could have been the last chance to get through to the play-offs, so we really needed to get that win. Tomorrow we’re against Italy and although they’re not on top of the rankings they can still play well, so we need to be on top of our game.”

Sweden played Latvia and like Russia they needed a win to stay in the medal hunt. In the first end, their fourth player Maria Prytz hit out a Latvian stone to open the scoring with one point. The Swedes stayed on top throughout the game and eventually won by 8-1 after seven ends.

After this game, Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridsson, who plays lead stones, said: "That was a comfortable game with no surprises. We have one more important game but the most important thing is that it's all still in our own hands."

The Czech Republic played Germany, with both trying to avoid the relegation zone. The Germans were 3-6 down by the ninth end when their skip Andrea Schöpp hit to score one point and reduce the deficit. This was not enough though as in the tenth end the Czech skip Anna Kubeskova played a double take-out to score one point and take a 7-4 win.

Like Russia and Sweden, Denmark are still fighting for a place in the medal play-offs and, in their game against Italy, their skip Lene Nielsen drew into the house in the sixth end to score one point and take a 6-1 lead. Denmark then went on to win by 7-2 after eight ends of play.

Like Russia and Sweden, she was all too aware of the importance of her win. She said: "It was a win we had to get! We have another big match against the Czech Republic tomorrow, but right now three teams are even going into the final session, so I’m just glad we have a shot."

Meanwhile, Scotland, the world champions, continued their unbeaten run with a 10-1, six-end win over Norway.

Norway won the draw shot challenge to have last stone in the first end, but the Scots stole two points in that end and followed that up with a steal of two points in the second before stealing another three points in the third end. Eventually, when Norwegian skip Marianne Roervik, wrecked with her last stone in the sixth end to give Scotland another steal for one point, the Norwegians conceded.

After the game Scotland skip Eve Muirhead said: "That was a good solid performance. When you get up on the scoreboard it's hard to keep your concentration but we did that and played all the simple shots well."

RESULTS
MEN
Session 8:
Switzerland 8, Russia 3; Czech Republic 4, Norway 6; Sweden 7, Latvia 3; France 2, Scotland 9; Finland 5,Denmark 8.

Standings after 8 sessions:
1. Norway 8-0 (Qualified for Play-offs)
2. Denmark 7-1 (Qualified for Play-offs)
3. Switzerland 6-2 (Qualified for Play-offs)
3. Scotland 6-2 (Qualified for Play-offs)
5. Sweden 4-4
6. Russia 3-5
7. Czech Republic 2-6
7. Latvia 2-6
9. Finland 1-7
9. France 1-7

WOMEN
Session 8:
Russia 6, Switzerland 4; Sweden 8, Latvia 1; Czech Republic 7, Germany 4; Scotland 10, Norway 1; Denmark 7, Italy 2.

Standings after 8 sessions:
1. Scotland 8-0 (Qualified for Play-offs)
2. Switzerland 7-1 (Qualified for Play-offs)
3. Denmark 5-3
3. Russia 5-3
3. Sweden 5-3
6. Czech Republic 4-4
7. Germany 2-6
7. Latvia 2-6
9. Italy 1-7
9. Norway 1-7

Both A and B Groups will open with round-robin play and, after tie-breakers on Thursday 28 November, semi-finals, promotion challenge games and medal finals take place on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th December.

Extensive televised coverage of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2013 from Stavanger can be seen by viewers in Europe on Eurosport and additionally in Norway on TV2 Sport. Live coverage will also be available via the internet on the Eurosport Player and on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. Complete coverage details can be seen here: http://ecc2013.worldcurling.net/tv-broadcast-web-tv-coverage-schedule

Event website: http://ecc2013.worldcurling.net for further information, schedules of play, full team line ups and results.

Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCurlingChampionships

Twitter Hashtags: #ecc2013 #curling

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