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Victory over Russia then Swedes add sour note for British curlers

BRITAIN'S curling teams both suffered defeats at the hands of Sweden in the opening round-robin sessions yesterday.

David Murdoch leads the GB team to victory over Russia. Picture: PA
David Murdoch leads the GB team to victory over Russia. Picture: PA

David Murdoch's men had got off to a flying start with a victory over hosts Russia but they could not maintain the standard in their second game against the reigning world champions from Scandinavia. Eve Muirhead's women also lost to Sweden in their only game.

The men had a straightforward opener against the Russians, with official statistics scoring Murdoch at 100% and the team at 89%.

They blanked the first end and then Murdoch had a simple draw to score two in the second for a lead he would never lose.

The Russians blanked the next two ends, but a good freeze by Murdoch in the fifth forced the hosts to draw for just one, leaving GB still in the lead, at 2-1. The sixth end was the turning point and, when Murdoch hit out the sole Russian stone lying in the house, the British scored four points for a 6-1 lead. Eventually, Britain ran Russia out of stones in the 10th secure victory 7-4.

The Scots were slack against Sweden. After opening the scoring with a single point in the first end, they found themselves 2-4 down after a fifth end in which Murdoch failed to take out three Swedish counters, leaving one in the house and allowing Swedish skip Niklas Edin a straightforward draw to score two.

By the eighth end, Murdoch's team were chasing the game and trying to steal or force a single score, but Sweden's third player, Sebastian Kraupp, disrupted the British set-up with a cross-house double take-out and eventually Edin had a promote double take-out to score four.

Murdoch had the consolation of drawing his last stone in the ninth end on to the button to score one, but Sweden ran out 8-4 winners.

The GB skip said his team had made it too easy for the Swedes: "The ice is absolutely great and we got used to the conditions quickly. But I don't think we put enough pressure on Sweden. We've got a good record against those guys, but when you don't play your 'A' game, you can't expect to win".

The GB women, the world cham­pions, had a slow start. In the second end, Muirhead missed a takeout attempt to hand Sweden a steal of one and the lead. The British team were in trouble again in the third end, and Muirhead faced four Swedish counters when she came to play her last stone. She was able to limit the damage to just two points given away, Sweden taking a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth end, Muirhead scored one to get on the scoreboard, and then got back into the game with single steals in the fifth and sixth ends to level the score. But Sweden moved ahead in the seventh end and Muirhead's team eventually lost 6-4.

"It was always going to be tough - they are the current European champions and one of the favourites out here," said Muirhead.

"We got off to a slow start and managed to crawl back to get to all-square. That's one out of nine, so I'm definitely not disheartened. We just weren't making the simple shots. We'll need to come out now firing a bit sharper from the start."

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