Muirhead's all out tactics receiving backing in Sochi

13 February 2014 / 06:52

Eve Muirhead received backing from all parties after failing to win with the last stone against Canada yesterday – including rival skip Jennifer Jones. At least at first.

Muirhead went for a winning score of three with the very last stone of their contest with Canada with the world’s No 2-ranked rink appearing to have lost their way in that final end.

With the score at 8-6 going into the tenth, Kaitlyn Lawes missed a take out with five stones left, leaving Canadian skip Jones to clean up her mess before Muirhead’s eyes lit up.

The British skip went for three with the final stone but didn’t hit it as Canada scored one and took their third straight win 9-6 at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi.

Muirhead scoffed at the notion she should have settled for two and taken the game into an extra end – after all, Jones would have had the all-important last stone. Everyone else went that way too, from team-mate Vicki Adams to Jones herself initially, with Muirhead not panicking despite her rink slipping to two defeats from three.

“I don’t go for shots if I don’t think they are there. I definitely thought it was there, we had a good chance in that last end,” said the Blair Atholl woman. “I would go for it again for sure. The angles were all sitting there nice. I would like to think nine times out of ten I would have got that.

“Our clock was running down a little bit so I knew there was that pressure but it was a high-quality game and it could have gone either way. If you look at the last bit of the game, as a skip we get the glory if we make these shots and the flak if we miss them, and that’s that.”

Jones is looking impressive as she bids to ensure Canada upgrade the silver medal they won at home in Vancouver four years ago. And she admitted at first that she would have done exactly the same thing if she was in Muirhead’s position, before appearing to go back on her statement later. “You got to go for it, you can’t be scared to lose. She obviously saw it, was feeling it and she makes those all the time. If I was in her position and I felt like I could make it I would have thrown it,” she said initially.

She later said: “I probably would have thrown the draw to go to the extra. It was a tough triple to get everything to spin out.”

Either way, Britain have now lost to the world No 2 rink in Canada and world No 1 rink in Sweden, and Muirhead admits she is pleased to see the back of them as she turns her attentions to China, ranked two places below GB in fifth.

Elsewhere, the statistics might suggest otherwise but David Murdoch said his men’s rink finally produced a performance worth talking about in Sochi.

Murdoch led Britain to back-to-back wins for the first time as they beat Switzerland 4-2 a day after seeing off the charge of Germany 7-6 at the death.

However, the total of six points was the equal-lowest in a men’s Olympic curling match. Murdoch’s rink face the USA next and he was his most animated yet when describing the performance against the European champions.

“That was the best I have felt, even though it was as tight as it was, that has been our best performance because they are a real good team,” said Murdoch.

“We just need to play like that every game. The guys played some real nice ones.

“It is nice to see. The boys came out with their chests out and really had a lot of intensity and fire in their stomachs.”

From Ryan Bangs, Sportsbeat, in Sochi

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