Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scotland: European Champions 2011

Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton, with Kay Adams the alternate, are European Champions after beating Sweden in the final of the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Moscow this morning!

Leslie reports from the Megasport Arena:

"One year ago in Champery, Switzerland, Eve Muirhead, Kelly Wood, Lorna Vevers and Annie Laird with alternate Anna Sloan were in the final of the Le Gruyere European Championships. They played Sweden's Margaretha Sigfridsson and lost with the last stone of the game to bring home the silver medals.

This year the two skips met again in the final here in Moscow. Scotland was a new team. Anna was back, this time at third, Vicki Adams was second, Claire Hamilton was lead, and Kay Adams was the alternate. Eve had already admitted that winning only the silver medal last year hurt badly as it was down to her last stone. This year she wanted one thing only - gold.

Under the rules, the team with the better win/loss record at the end of the round robin has the choice of playing first or second stone in the first end. Sweden chose to play the second stone. From the first stone Eve and the Scots started to control the game and with last stone at the first end, Maria Prytz, throwing last stones for Sweden, had a simple shot to blank the end but was wide and it was a steal of one to Scotland.

Second end and another mistake by Sweden with the last stone with Prytz hitting against two, and running out, for another steal to the Scots. The third end was blanked.

In the fourth, Scotland lay three. Sweden came up short with their draw to lie only third shot and it was another steal of two shots for Muirhead who now led 4-0.

The fifth saw further disaster for Sweden as Scotland were again lying three shots as Sweden played a draw which was heavy from the time it left the hand, and it finished at the back of the house. At the break it was 7-0 for Scotland and surely that gold medal so wanted by Eve Muirhead was becoming a reality.

In the sixth and seventh the two skips hit and lay for singles. Scotland lead 8-1.

Eighth and Sweden hit for a single and conceded, the score at 8-2. The title, the trophy and the gold medal was coming home to Scotland.

After the game Eve said, "This is the one I really wanted badly after last year. The girls played well and we got better all week. We were confident going into the game and I felt we controlled the game. It is a young team and one which I hope can build on this experience."

For anyone wishing to meet the team on their return they are due to arrive to-morrow at Edinburgh Airport by British Midland at 14.45.

In the World Challenges, France beat Russia 10-4 and 10-6 in the men's event and in the women's competition the Czech Republic beat Hungary 7-4 and 7-4. Both countries retain their places at the World Championships.

And finally, congratulations to England and sympathies to Ireland as Alan Mac Dougall beat Robin Gray for the B Division Bronze Medal 8-4."

Mike Haggerty's reports for the Royal Club are here.

All the results, standings, and statistics are here.

Top photo: Scotland with the European Championship trophy. L-R: Kay Adams, Claire Hamilton, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead. Click on the image to see larger size.

Above: Gordon Muirhead, one happy coach!

Ireland's John Jo Kenny and Robin Gray discuss options as England's Alan MacDougall watches behind. This from the B Competition bronze medal game.

Photos © Leslie Ingram-Brown