December 10, 2011
The women’s final at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2011 in Moscow was between unbeaten Sweden and a Scottish team that started the event poorly but kept improving as the week went on. The Scots came out on top, overwhelming Sweden to win by 8-2 in just eight ends.
The Scots started better, scoring singles in each of the first two ends for a 2-0 lead. After blanking the third, Sweden had their first real chance to get on the scoreboard in the fourth end, but their fourth player Maria Prytz was facing three Scottish counters as she played, and came up short, giving Scotland a further two points.
In the fifth end, once again the Scots had piled on the pressure and again had three stones counting. This time Prytz was heavy with her draw, giving Scotland another steal and a most unexpected 7-0 halftime lead.
The Swedes finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth end when Prytz had a good hit and stay for one, but the Scottish pressure was unrelenting, as Scottish skip Eve Muirhead scored a single in the seventh with a drive that could perhaps have yielded more.
The Swedes scored a consolation single in the eighth end before giving up what had become a completely unequal contest, with Scotland winning the nation’s first women’s European title since 1975, with a final score-line of 8-2.
Afterwards, an elated Scottish skip Eve Muirhead said, “It’s fantastic. It’s been one of the medals I’ve wanted. Last year we took silver against Sweden and this year we took gold – you couldn’t ask for any more. Sweden had such a great week, but we just piled on the pressure from the start and we got a few mistakes out of the skip, and as soon as they made any mistakes, we just pounced”.
She added, “I would say we had control in every single end. When it gets past that fifth end and you’re quite a few up, and you know you’ve not won it yet, you’ve just got to keep going and I think we did that well”.
Reviewing her entire campaign, she said, “we didn’t start the week well, but we did the right thing. Every game we got better and better and started going up the way, so I think we peaked at the right time”. Looking forward, she added, “this is a new team for me and I think we’re going to do great. This was a first major title and I’m delighted with that. We’re still young – Anna’s (third player Anna Sloan) still a junior and I’m only 21, so if we keep training hard and practising hard, who knows?”
After the game, a subdued Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridssen said, “Of course, we’re sad that we didn’t play our best today, but we are satisfied with the week. We’ve played really well, but unfortunately not today”, adding: “we felt confident, but it was very strange today. We didn’t get into the game and that was a bit unusual for us – we didn’t make our shots. Scotland played well but we didn’t leave anything hard for them to do. I think we’re sad at the moment but we’ll be happy with silver in a week or so”.
GROUP A WOMEN: Final Standings
1. Scotland (GOLD)
2. Sweden (SILVER)
3. Russia (BRONZE) (Qualified for WWCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)
4. Denmark (Qualified for WWCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)
5. Germany (Qualified for WWCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)
6. Italy (Qualified for WWCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)
7. Switzerland (Qualified for WWCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)
8. Czech Republic (Qualified for WWCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)
9. Latvia (relegated to ECC 2012 B Group)
10. Norway (relegated to ECC 2012 B Group)
GROUP B WOMEN: Final Standings:
1. Hungary (GOLD) (Promoted to ECC 2012 A Group)
2. Finland (SILVER) (Promoted to ECC 2012 A Group)
3. Slovakia (BRONZE)
Extensive televised coverage of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2011 can be seen by viewers in Europe on Eurosport. Additional live and on demand coverage will be available via the internet on the Eurosport Player. www.worldcurling.org/ecc2011-tv-and-web-coverage
Highlights of televised games can be seen here: www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV
Information about the event can be viewed here www.ecc2011.curlingrussia.com