Russia and Sweden Successfully Defend Their Titles At European Curling Champs
On the final day of the European Championships Russia and Sweden successfully defended their titles in the women’s and men’s events respectively, at the Intu Braehead Arena in Renfrewshire.
In the men’s final it was the clash of the former world champions, Niklas Edin’s Swedish rink up against Thomas Ulsrud’s quartet from Norway. The final went to an extra end before the defending champions sealed their third title in a row, matching Scotland’s Hammy McMillan’s record for three consecutive title wins at the European Championships. Team Ulsrud had to settle for upgrading their bronze medal from last year to silver, nevertheless the achievement marked their 10th consecutive medal in the championships and 11 European medals overall for the skip.
Speaking after the final Ulsrud said of his opponents: “They are the team to beat in the world right now, they are number one.”
Team Edin were the favourites heading into the championships after they won back to back Grand Slams in Canada – the first European team ever to have won a Grand Slam - before arriving at Braehead to defend their title. The successful Swedish skip Niklas Edin said: “It feels amazing to have won three European titles in a row and also our fifth consecutive win at an event. It is an unbelievable feeling and we will get a bit of rest over Christmas and then we will come back and try to win some more.”
In the women’s final earlier in the day, the Russian women’s team skipped by Victoria Moiseeva beat Anna Hasselborg’s Swedish rink 6-4, to retain the title won by their compatriots Team Sidorova last year.
Team Muirhead had beaten both teams in going through the round robin stages with a 100 per cent record. Frustratingly for Team Scotland’s women their solitary defeat had come in the worst possible match, a semi-final loss to Russia denying them a place in the final. However they bounced back from that upset to claim a bronze medal on Friday night after they beat the Czech Republic 6-4.
Scotland’s men finished 6th in the men’s tournament after a loss to Russia in their final round-robin match denied them a place in the play-offs. However, despite their disappointment Team Brewster can take consolation from the fact they had beaten all of the teams that medalled at the championships, bronze medallists Switzerland, silver medallists Norway and Sweden who went on to win the tournament.
In the European B Division tournament, England’s women finished fifth and their compatriots Team MacDougall finished ninth, whilst the other home nation in the tournament Wales represented by Team Meikle, finished 10th.
Hetty Garnier, skip for the England women’s team said: “We felt that the field this year was the highest standard we've played against at the Europeans, hence we played four extra ends during the round robin. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong side of a few of our close games and the tiebreaker was one of them, with us unable to keep our lead in the final few ends. We played below our ability which has left us feeling slightly frustrated, but we have lots of positives to take away too and have loved being at the competition this week!”
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Photo: Winning Skip Niklas Edin in action - copyright WCF / Richard Gray