ECC 2013: Day 3 Early Round-up

Russia skip, Anna Sidorova, led her team to victory against hosts Norway Photo: WCF/Jesse Kushneryk

Scotland and Switzerland share the lead and the same unbeaten record following Monday morning's fourth session of women's round-robin play at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Stavanger, Norway.

In this session, reigning world champions Scotland faced Denmark in what turned out to be a one-sided game.

The Scots built an early lead, scoring three points in the first end, stealing two points in the second end and then another three points in the third end to go 8-0 up.

The Danes finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth end, with a single point, but a nice draw-shot by Scottish skip Eve Muirhead in the fifth end added another single point on their way to a 10-1 win in just six ends.

After this win, Muirhead said: "We've had slow starts in our previous games, so we said that we've got to be really fired from the start and that's what we did".

Switzerland faced Sweden and took an early lead in the third end when their skip Mirjam Ott drew into the house to score two points in the third end for 2-1.

She then had another nice draw in the sixth end for another two points and added again to her team's score with a hit for two points in the eighth end and a 6-3 lead.

Sweden gave up a steal of one point in the ninth end before Switzerland ran the Swedes out of stones in the tenth end to win by 7-2.

Although they lost by 3-12 to Russia, Norway had some cause for celebration when skip Marianne Roervik played a raised tap-back for two points in the second end. This shot levelled the score at 2-2, but Russia took control from then on and their skip Anna Sidorova scored four points in the seventh end to complete their win.

The Czech Republic recorded their second win of the week when they beat Latvia by 11-1. This game was close for the first four ends, but after that the Czechs scored three points in the fifth end. They then went on to steal another three points in the sixth end and added a further steal - this time for four points - in the seventh end, after which Latvia conceded.

This win for Czech Republic followed last night’s defeat to Italy and skip Anna Kubeskova said: "After the big loss yesterday it was very good for us to get back and to play well. We made some mistakes at the beginning but at the end we made some good come rounds so it worked out."

Germany had their first win of the week beating Italy by 14-2 in just eight ends - a game that concluded when Italy gave up a steal of five points in the eighth end.

Afterwards, Germany's experienced skip Andrea Schöpp's assessment was: "It has been difficult for us. You need a little bit of luck and we haven’t had any of it so far this season. I don’t think we have a good chance here this week but our goal is to stay in the A Group."

Later, Russia faced Denmark in Monday afternoon's fifth session of men's round-robin play, looking for just their second win. However, in the eighth end of the game, with his team well in control, Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne drew into the house to score four points and take a 7-3 lead.

The Danes eventually won by 7-4, a result that keeps them at the top of the rankings with an undefeated record.

Norway, the joint leaders with Denmark, beat Switzerland by 8-6 in their game, thanks to a steal of three points in the sixth end when Swiss skip Michel Sven got an attempted take-out wrong.

Later, in the tenth end, Norway's skip Thomas Ulsrud drew into the house to score the one point that sealed his team's fifth victory.

Sweden, who are also world champions, are shaping up to make a strong defence of their European crown. In their game against France, skip Niklas Edin played a well-judged double take-out in the sixth end to score two points for a 4-1 lead.

Later, in the eighth end, Edin hit to score another two points to take an 6-2 lead, which, after a blank ninth end, was also the final score.

Afterwards, Edin said: "It was a really important victory. It’s a game we should win on paper, but it’s on ice that you win, so we needed to play a good game. It took a few ends before we got into it but we made a lot of shots at the end, which is really good for the next game."

When Finland faced the Czech Republic, they had still to record their first win and they didn't look like winning this game either when Czech skip, Martin Snitil, substituting for his sick brother Jiri, scored three points with a hit in the fifth end for a 6-3 lead.

However, the Finns fought back from this to push the game into an extra end. In that end, Finnish fourth player, Toni Anttila, sealed his team's first win with a brave take-out to score two points and complete an 11-9 victory.

Afterwards, skip Tomi Rantamaeki said: "We need three victories, so there’s not much relief for us yet. The ice here is very different from what we are used to in Finland, it curls a lot more here so we have to change the way we play.”

In the fifth game of the men's session, Latvia took Scotland all the way to a tense tenth end.

Earlier in the session, a brief power-cut meant that time-clocks had to be dispensed with, and the tenth end, which featured almost every stone in play, took longer and longer as each shot was debated back and forth by the teams.

With that last stone, the Latvians tried to promote a short front guard. It whistled wide and the Scots scored two points for a 7-6 win without having to play their last stone.

Afterwards, a relieved Murdoch said: "It's the result that matters, of course, but that was down to some not-so-good play by me - the guys played well."

Talking about the last end he said: "Their third played a really good first stone, into a good spot, and I clipped with my first, but we got the two in the end somehow or other."

Results
WOMEN
Session 4:
Czech Republic 11, Latvia 1; Switzerland 7, Sweden 3; Germany 14, Italy 2; Denmark 1, Scotland 10; Russia 12, Norway 3.

Standings after 4 sessions:
1. Scotland 4-0
1. Switzerland 4-0
3. Czech Republic 2-2
3. Denmark 2-2
3. Russia 2-2
3. Sweden 2-2
7. Germany 1-3
7. Italy 1-3
7. Latvia 1-3
7. Norway 1-3

MEN
Session 5:
Russia 4, Denmark 7; Norway 8, Switzerland 6; France 2, Sweden 6; Scotland 7, Latvia 6; Czech Republic 9, Finland 11 (extra end).

Standings after 5 sessions:
1. Denmark 5-0
1. Norway 5-0
3. Scotland 3-2
3. Sweden 3-2
3. Switzerland 3-2
6. Latvia 2-3
7. Czech Republic 1-4
7. Finland 1-4
7. France 1-4
7. Russia 1-4.

Extensive televised coverage of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2013 from Stavanger can be seen by viewers in Europe on Eurosport and additionally in Norway on TV2 Sport. Live coverage will also be available via the internet on the Eurosport Player and on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. Complete coverage details can be seen here: http://ecc2013.curlingevents.com/tv-broadcast-web-tv-coverage-schedule

Event website: http://ecc2013.curlingevents.com for further information, schedules of play, full team line ups and Results.

Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCurlingChampionships

Twitter Hashtags: #ecc2013 #curling

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