Scotland win European Curling Championships to end 36 year drought
Saturday, 10 December 2011
December 10 - Scotland won the 2011 European Curling Championships after beating Sweden 8-2 in the final in Moscow, their first victory in the event since 1975, 15 years before skip Eve Muirhead was even born.
Scotland had begun the tournament unimpressively but improved over the course of the week, while Sweden had been unbeaten before the final.
Rather unexpectedly, the Scottish quartet of Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton led 7-0 at half-time following a clinical approach and some wasteful play from Sweden's fourth player, Maria Prytz.
Sweden finally scored in the sixth end through Prytz, but Scotland were unaffected and responded with a single in the seventh from 21-year-old Muirhead, who already has four world junior titles to her name.
A consolation single was scored by Sweden in the eighth before giving up an entirely one-sided affair, giving Muirhead and Scotland revenge for the 8-6 defeat at the hands of the same opponents in Champéry, Switzerland, last year.
"It's fantastic," Muirhead said.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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?"
The 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.
"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".
In the men's final, the defending champions, Norway, skipped by Thomas Ulsrud, retained their title with a 7-6 victory over the 2009 champions, Sweden.
"It feels perfect," said Ulsrud.
"The best thing is this is one of the best matches we've played all week, and to be able to do it in the final is good.
"We started really bad this week and we picked it up game by game and then we ended up playing the perfect game in the final - it's good.
"This is really big for us, because we've had a really bad season so far, but this makes it a really big season."