"For once all five games in this last draw in the Women's A Division round robin at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships meant something as four of the games had a bearing on the top of the table with the last game intriguingly for the bottom spots.
In the Scotland v Switzerland match, Eve had the hammer and opened with a single in the first before Manuela Siegrist, the gold medallist at last season's World Mixed Doubles, now throwing last stones for Switzerland, drew for two. The teams exchanged singles over ends three and four but Eve took charge in the fifth, drawing for a three and a 5-3 lead at the break.
In the sixth the Swiss countered with a three of their own after Eve had hit and rolled out and then was just long on her draw giving Siegrist a free hit. Eve went further ahead (9-6) with a two in the seventh followed by a steal of two in the eighth.
Ninth and the Scots forced Switzerland to take a single and with Switzerland lying two in the tenth Eve his and lay for one shot and a 10-7 victory.
Eve, Anna, Vicki and Claire have qualified in third ranked place for the playoffs, as was known after Round 8. But their opposition will not be known until Russia and Germany, who finished with 5-4 records, play a tiebreaker.
In the Page 1 v 2 games undefeated Sweden will play Denmark who suffered only one loss, to Sweden. The winner of this game will go direct to the final whilst the loser will play the winner of Scotland v Germany or Russia in the semifinal with the loser going to the Bronze Medal game. The winner of the semifinal will go to the final whilst the loser will return for the Bronze Medal playoff.
As it turned out after the ninth round of games, Norway and Latvia are relegated to the B Divisions next season. Three teams finished sixth equal on three wins: Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland. Rank eight had to be determined. The round robin games were indecisive in providing a ranking so it was down to the Draw Shot Challenge which ranked the teams Italy - Switzerland - Czech Republic. Italy will play Switzerland with the winner ranked sixth. The loser will then play the Czech Republic with the winner of this game going to the Worlds in Lethbridge whilst the loser will play the World Challenge against the Division B gold medallist; and that game winner will also go to the Worlds."
Thanks Leslie. Keen blogallies will know that the Draw Shot Challenge rankings only decide the order in which the tiebreaker games are played. You cannot be relegated, or put in a position where you might lose your Worlds place, just on the basis of the DSC alone. Although this did indeed happen at a World Wheelchair event a few years ago, but since then sanity has prevailed and the rules clarified. (The controversy at the time caused me to blog this post, the only time that a quotation from T'Plana-Hath, Matron of Vulcan Philosophy, has appeared in discussions about the World Curling Federation. You gather this post remains my personal blogging highlight! It's been downhill from then, I fear. Ah well.)
There is still a move though to find ways to get rid of these pesky tiebreakers - somehow - and streamline world events. Interestingly John Brown talks about the Last Stone Draw and the Draw Shot Challenge in Toothy Tales here.
Scores: Russia 7 Norway 4, Scotland 10 Switzerland 7, Denmark 6 Germany 4, Sweden 14 Latvia 2, Czech Republic 8 Italy 4
Standings: 9/0 Sweden (QR1), 8/1 Denmark (QR2), 7/2 Scotland (QR3), 5/4 Russia, Germany 3/6 Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, 1/8 Latvia (R), Norway (R).
Mike Haggerty's reports for the Royal Club are here.
All the results, standings, and statistics are here.
John Brown has what's happening in the B divisions, here.
Top: Eve Muirhead watches behind Switzerland's Binia Feltscher, as the Swiss bring a stone into the house. Photo © Leslie Ingram-Brown.