Norway men first to reach ECC 2015 semi-finals

  • Thomas Ulsrud in action against Sweden Photo: WCF / Laura Godenzi

In Wednesday morning's (25 November) seventh session of men's round-robin play at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2015 in Esbjerg, Denmark, round-robin leaders Norway faced defending champions Sweden in a top-of-the-table clash, while every other game was between teams striving to get as far up the table as possible.

In the clash between Sweden and Norway, it was the Swedes who scored first, when their skip Niklas Edin opened the scoring in the first end with a draw for one point. But, Norway responded immediately, and their skip Thomas Ulsrud hit out a Swedish stone in the second end to score three points and take a 3-1 lead.

Following this, Norway had steals of two points in the third end, and three more in the sixth end, with the score at 9-2 in Norway's favour. Sweden conceded defeat after just six ends, a result that guarantees Norway a place in the semi-final line-up.

Switzerland faced the Czech Republic, and in the eighth end of this game, Swiss fourth player Benoit Schwarz hit out a Czech stone to score two points and take a 6-4 lead. Following this, Switzerland went on to win by 10-4.

In the seventh end of the game between Russia and Finland, Russia's fourth player Alexey Stukalskiy played a perfectly-weighted draw right onto the button through a busy house for two points and a 7-5 lead. In the ninth end Finland's skip Aku Kauste drew his final stone into position to score two points and level the game at 7-7. Stukalskiy won the game, in the tenth end, with a draw inside two Finnish stones to give Russia a 8-7 victory.

Germany took a 4-2 lead into the half-time break in their game with the Netherlands, thanks largely to a well-played raise double take-out in the fifth end by their skip Alexander Baumann. Germany went on to win by 7-4.

At the bottom of the table, Italy faced Scotland. The Scots opened by scoring one point and then stealing one more in the second end for an early 2-0 lead. Eventually, Scotland's skip Kyle Smith played a tap-back on an Italian stone to score one point in the tenth end for a 6-4 win.

They Said It:

Peter De Cruz; skip, Switzerland (after 10-4 win over Czech Republic):

"We're very happy with that, now we need one more win. We’re just focusing on the performance and at the moment we're where we want to be. We feel like we're progressing in the tournament. When you're in this type of competition and you play 100% to win the first six games, you don't end up in the play-offs."

Kyle Smith; skip, Scotland (after 6-4 win over Italy):

"I'd say we controlled that game. We got a good start with a two-point lead and then we really controlled the game. We're now making more shots, that's the difference, we were missing too many earlier. I'd say we're getting more confident now as a team. We knew that we could make any shots, but it's just getting the feel and actually doing it. We know what we have to do now – just keep winning. If we can play like that again tonight, we'll be looking quite good."

B-Division Highlights

Austria and Latvia remain tied for first place in the men's B-Division Group B after both teams won this morning, during Session 21. Austria defeated Croatia by 11-4, while Latvia held off Spain for an 8-6 win.

Israel beat Estonia by 8-2 to hang on to third spot in Group B. England beat Slovakia 8-6 in nine ends.

MEN'S RESULTS, Session 7:

Switzerland 10-4 Czech Republic; Finland 7-8 Russia; Italy 4-6 Scotland; Netherlands 4-7 Germany; Norway 9-2 Sweden.

MEN'S STANDINGS after Session 7 (W - L):

Norway 7-0
Germany 4-3
Russia 4-3
Switzerland 4-3
Sweden 4-3
Finland 3-4
Scotland 3-4
Czech Republic 2-5
Italy 2-5
Netherlands 2-5