Italy and Scotland men win vital games in Esbjerg

  • Italy Alternate Andrea Pilzer helps his team to an important win Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

As they came onto the ice to play Tuesday (24 November) afternoon's sixth session of men's round-robin play at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2015 in the Granly Hockey Arena in Esbjerg, Denmark, Italy and Scotland were locked together at the foot of the table, and both carved out crucial wins to keep their campaigns alive.

Italy faced the Netherlands and a steal of three points in the fourth end gave them an early 5-1 lead. They did not look back from that and eventually won by 9-3.

Scotland were playing Finland, and in the third end Scottish skip Kyle Smith got his final draw inside three Finnish counters already in the house, to score one point on his way to a crucial 7-3 win.

Meanwhile, unbeaten table-toppers Norway faced Germany. Norway took an early advantage when, in the second end, their skip Thomas Ulsrud played an angled raise take-out to score three points for a 3-1 lead. In the sixth end, Germany's Alexander Baumann drew for one point to reduce Norway's lead to 6-3, but the Norwegians then went on to win by 8-3 to stay at the top-of-the-table.

Defending champions Sweden faced Switzerland and, in the seventh end of what was a tight game, Switzerland's fourth player Benoit Schwarz drew his last stone into the house for one point to level the score at 2-2.

In the tenth end, with the score still at 2-2, Sweden's lead player Christoffer Sundgren slipped as he swept the last stone of the game. He touched the running stone, which was then taken off, which handed a steal of one and a victory by 3-2 to Switzerland.

Russia were playing the Czech Republic and they opened their game with a score of three points in the first end when their fourth player Alexey Stukalskiy drew his second stone into the house. The Russians then went on to win by 8-3.

They Said It:

Joel Retornaz; skip, Italy (after 9-3 win over Netherlands):

"We needed to be focused to win this game, we definitely needed a win today. We'll see what happens in the next games, but this good performance gives us some confidence. Our goal was, and still is qualifying for the Worlds [Basel, Switzerland: 2-10 April 2016]. We need more wins on the board to qualify and if we can repeat this kind of performance we definitely can battle out there on the ice."

Kyle Smith; skip, Scotland (after 7-3 win over Finland):

"We're feeling a bit better than yesterday. We took our time to get into the game and made a few mistakes, but we made up for them with a few good shots which we haven't done in previous games. We managed to bail ourselves out there and played a really good last few ends and didn't give them any chances. Hopefully, we can come out like that tomorrow again."

Andrey Drozdov; lead, Russia (after 8-3 win over the Czech Republic):

"We played good and we got the result we wanted. We have three wins, but that's not enough. We want to be relaxed on these games, and just play the game against the rocks and not the team."

B-Division Highlights:

The Czech Republic scored two points in the tenth end of their game against Turkey, earning them a 7-6 victory and sole possession of first place in the women's B-Division, after session eight. At the same time, Poland beat Italy 6-5 with a one-point steal in the tenth end. Latvia scored a decisive five points in the fifth end against the Netherlands on the way to a 9-7 win, while Austria fell to England by 9-4 after eight ends.

WCTV Highlights: next live broadcast today at 1900 (CET), Norway v Denmark (Women's Session 7)

MEN'S RESULTS, Session 6:

Netherlands 3-9 Italy; Germany 3-8 Norway; Sweden 2-3 Switzerland; Czech Republic 3-8 Russia; Finland 3-7 Scotland.

MEN'S STANDINGS after Session 6 (W - L):

Norway 6-0
Sweden 4-2
Finland 3-3
Germany 3-3
Russia 3-3
Switzerland 3-3
Czech Republic 2-4
Italy 2-4
Netherlands 2-4
Scotland 2-4