Russia win Gold in Denmark
Team Sidorova win Gold in Denmark Photo: WCF / Richard Gray
Saturday 28 November
Russia beat Scotland by 6-4 in Saturday (28 November) afternoon's Women's Final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2015 in the Granly Hockey Arena, Esbjerg, Denmark.
This was a tight game all the way and, after blanking the first end Russia's skip Anna Sidorova drew her last stone of the second end into the house to open the scoring with two points.
Scotland's skip Eve Muirhead responded straightaway, drawing her last stone of the third end into the house for two points to level the score. The teams swapped singles in the next two ends and Russia took the lead again – at 4-3 – with another draw shot in the sixth end.
The Scots blanked the seventh end and then the turning point of the game came in the eighth end, when Scotland's Muirhead attempted a double take-out which just missed its second target stone, giving Russia a steal of one and a 5-3 lead.
Muirhead could only draw for one point in the ninth end, giving the Russians a 5-4 lead as well as last stone advantage in the tenth. When Muirhead was short with her final draw of the tenth, she left the Russians with a stone in counting position, meaning the Russian team – skip Anna Sidorova third Margarita Fomina, second player Alexandra Raeva, lead Nkeiruka Ezekh, supported by alternate Alina Kovaleva and coached by Svetlana Kalalb – could celebrate their win without having to deliver their last stone.
These two teams last met in a final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in 2102, when Russia also emerged victorious, by 6-5, in Karlstad, Sweden. This is the fourth women's European title for Russia. Apart from Karlstad in 2012, they also won in 2006 in Basel, Switzerland.
The eight European teams in the line-up for the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Swift Current, Canada (19-27 March) are: Russia, Scotland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
Estonia and Hungary are relegated to next year's B-Division, while Italy and Czech Republic are promoted to the A-Division of the 2016 Le Gruyère, European Curling Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland (18-26 November 2016).
They Said It:
Anna Sidorova; skip, Russia (after 6-4 over Scotland):
"It's absolutely perfect. I'm so proud of my team and I'm so proud of myself. I just want to thank everyone who worked with us and, of course my team. They performed so well today.
"When we realised that we were 100 per cent for sure in the medals, I think we were more confident, just because even if we lost we'd still get a medal. When I played the semis I was really nervous, and that's why I made a couple of mistakes. Today, I was nervous of course but it was a different kind, I felt a bit more confident."
"They [Scotland] really are such great competitors. We've played against them a couple times this year and they are a really tough team to play because they are so good. If you want to beat them you have to be even better so that's not easy."
Eve Muirhead; skip, Scotland (after 4-6 loss to Russia):
"I came a centimetre away from making it pay in that eighth end. Silver's not what we wanted and I thought we were good enough to get that Gold Medal but Russia did play great out there today. Anna Sidorova was fantastic and we just weren't good enough.
“When you're that close to making a big end and you don't make it, it's tough. It's going to take a long time to forget it."
Skip Federica Apollonio competing in the World Challenge Games Photo: WCF / Laura Godenzi
WORLD CHALLENGE highlights
Italy, the European B-Division Gold medallists, have secured their place at the World Women's Curling Championship
2016 in Swift Current, Canada (19-27 March) after winning the best-of-three World Challenge Games against, eighth placed A-Division team, Norway.
Team Apollonio, won the series 3-1. Italy first beat Norway 7-4 last night, before Norway levelled, with an 8-6 win this morning. However, Italy ensured their place at the annual World Curling Championships with a convincing 8-2 win this afternoon.
They Said It:Federica Apollonio; skip, Italy (after 8-2 win against Norway):
"It feels incredible. We're very happy, it's unbelievable for us. It's so important to us to be able to compete at the Worlds for Italy, especially with this new team."
WOMEN'S GOLD MEDAL result
Scotland 4-6 Russia
WORLD CHALLENGE result
Women's World Challenge Game #3: Italy 8-2 Norway
WORLD WOMEN'S CURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2016
European qualifiers (for Swift Current, Canada: 19-27 March)
1 Russia: Gold
2 Scotland: Silver
3 Finland: Bronze