Sweden's men open Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships defence with win

  • Niklas Edin during the men's first session Photo: © WCF / Jeffrey Au

The Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2016 got underway on Saturday (19 November) morning at the intu Braehead Arena, Renfrewshire, Scotland with the opening men’s round robin session.

Defending champions Sweden faced Germany and, in the fifth end of the game, their skip Niklas Edin drew his final stone into the house to score two points and move onto a 7-1 lead. He built on this lead in the seventh end, with another well-judged draw-shot, scoring two points for the end and for a 9-3 lead. Sweden went on to win by 9-4.

Finland faced Norway and, in the sixth end of their game, Norway’s fourth player Thomas Ulsrud came up lighter than he planned with his final stone but still managed to score two points for a 9-3 lead. Norway eventually emerged as 10-3 winners.

Returning to the top A-Division, after a 20-year gap and earning promotion from the B-Division in 2105, Austria played Switzerland. They led the game 2-1 as Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwarz drew his final stone into the house to score one point and tie the game at 2-2. In the seventh end, another draw by Schwarz gave Switzerland two points to take a 5-3 lead. Austria could not recover from this and Switzerland went on to win by 6-4.

Hosts Scotland faced world silver medallists Denmark in their opener. After blanking the first three ends Denmark’s skip Rasmus Stjerne opened the scoring with a hit for two in the fourth end and then a double take-out by Stjerne in the sixth end gave his team three more points and a 5-1 lead. Denmark went on to win by 8-3.

In this session, Russia faced Italy and were up 4-0 after three ends thanks to a steal of two in the second end and a further single steal in the third. Although Italy had a single steal of their own in the seventh end to reduce Russia’s lead to 5-3, the Russians went on to win by 7-3.

Play will continue on Saturday (19 November) afternoon, with sessions for the women and men. The women’s championship begins at 14.00 (Greenwich Mean Time). From that session Russia v Switzerland will be broadcast live on World Curling TV and national broadcasters (geo-blocking may apply).

They said it

Niklas Edin; skip, Sweden (after 9-4 win over Germany): “We had a really good start, playing 100% in the first end. I had a few sloppy mistakes throughout the game and we weren’t totally happy with our play but will try to make a few more shots next game.”

Torger Nergaard; skip, Norway (after 10-3 win over Finland): “That was pretty good – we had an ok start, we got two in the second, got a good break in the third, stole five and then it was pretty much game over.”

Rasmus Stjerne; skip, Denmark (after 8-3 win over Scotland): “It's something special to be back in the A-Division. We were in the B-Division last year, we missed out on home ice. Just to be in the A again is really big for us. I thought Scotland had some unfortunate breaks and we had the good breaks, so, while the scoreboard might say it was really one-sided, I felt it was tied until the break and then we got the three.”

Results men's session one: Germany 4-9 Sweden; Finland 3-10 Norway; Austria 4-6 Switzerland; Scotland 3-8 Denmark; Italy 3-7 Russia

Standings after men’s session one (W-L):

Denmark 1-0
Norway 1-0
Russia 1-0
Switzerland 1-0
Sweden 1-0
Austria 0-1
Finland 0-1
Germany 0-1
Italy 0-1
Scotland 0-1

For live broadcast information from these championships visit, www.worldcurling.org/broadcast and www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

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