Eve Muirhead believes the more the pressure cranks up the more her Scottish rink delivers – and that was certainly the case as they won their penultimate round-robin match at the European Curling Championships.
With the round-robin standings tight, skip Muirhead, who won European silver last year, went into her latest clash with Sweden knowing victory was needed to maintain any hopes of progressing to the page-play-offs.
A win was exactly what Muirhead produced and in some style too as with the last stone of the tenth end, which was well delivered and well swept, her Scottish rink defeated Sweden 7-6 to stay alive in Champery.
Two teams are already through to the play-offs – Russia and skip Anna Sidorova after they made it eight from eight with a 13-1 defeat of the Czech Republic and hosts Switzerland after their 8-4 defeat of Denmark.
Muirhead’s Scottish rink and Finland and Denmark and Sweden play each other in the last matches of the round-robin stages with all four nations tied in third place with only two places to play for.
That makes it a sudden death situation but Muirhead, who won Olympic bronze with Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams, both of whom are in Champery, at Sochi 2014 earlier this year, is supremely confident in her rink.
“What a win. We knew we needed it and we definitely couldn’t come up in second place. The girls dug in well, we had a really strong second half, which is what we said we wanted to do, so I’m pleased with that,” she said.
“Anna played a great shot; she couldn’t have played it any better. I knew I had to let the sweepers take my draw in. We dropped a few silly games during the week, but we’ve really upped our game against the big teams and this is the part of the week where you really need to do that.
“Hopefully we can keep building and get better and better – all the games are going to be tough now.”
Scotland men’s skip David Edwards had the chance to end Niklas Edin’s unbeaten run in his penultimate match but couldn’t as they fell to a narrow 11-10 defeat while Italy made history as they progressed to the play-offs.
Not since 1995 have Italy qualified for the play-off stages of a major championship while in Division B of the European Championships, Wales’ men lost 10-6 to Austria and England’s women lost 7-5 to Poland, the latter on four wins and four defeats.
© Sportsbeat 2014