The Scottish womens curling team, which included Stranraer’s Vicki Adams, got a big boost to their confidence ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics when they won the European Curling Championships in St Gallen, Switzerland at the weekend, beating Sweden 6-3 in the final.
The team - skip Eve Muirhead, third Anna Sloan, Vicki at second and lead Lauren Gray will now focus on the ultimate prize - Olympic gold in PyeongChang, South Korea in February 2018.
Scotland and Sweden had met on 19 previous occasions at European Championships, with Muirhead leading 10-9, so was going to be close. From the ECC2017 analytics, there was only a one percent difference in percentages between these two teams going into the final but the score and not the percentages are what counts.
Scotland took a little more time than the Swedes to get into the game but forced Sweden to a single in the first. Sweden made an open hit to remove a Scottish stone and have two stones in close and Muirhead performed a hit and roll to take one and level the scores. The Scots put the Swedes under pressure and finished with two stones in play forcing Hasselborg to draw for a single. In the fourth, with five guards, the teams exchanged precision hits through a narrow port and a double take out by the Swedes let Muirhead blank the end with a take out. Scotland also blanked the fifth, so Sweden had a 2-1 lead at the break. Both teams had found the ice a little tricky and different from the semi-final.
In the sixth, Scotland manage to split the house and a succession of hits gave Scotland two points and the lead for the first time. In the seventh Scotland forced Sweden to draw for a single and in the eighth Scotland were poised for two when Hasselborg went through the house but Muirhead’s shot caught on a guard and Scotland scored a single. Scotland challenged Sweden in the ninth and were lying two with one guarded by a Swedish stone, Hasselborg didn’t manage the weight with her draw and the Scots scored a steal of one.
The last end Sweden were two down, with hammer and again Scotland put them under pressure. The Swedes were chasing after the Scottish shots from the outset and the last Scottish stone from Muirhead hit out a Swedish stone and forced Hasselborg to a very technical tap back which she failed to achieve, handing Scotland a steal of one and the title.
It was Scotland’s Women’s eighth consecutive European medal and was Eve Muirhead’s 100th game for Scotland at a European Championships.