Scotland win women’s Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 title
Defending champions Sweden faced Scotland, who had topped the round-robin rankings, in Saturday (27 November) afternoon’s gold medal final of the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 in Lillehammer, Norway.
In the first end, Scotland skip Eve Muirhead was facing one Swedish stone, protected in scoring position. Her attempted promote was at the wrong angle and Sweden opened the scoring with a single-point steal.
In the second end, already lying one counter, Scotland’s Muirhead tried to add another with her final stone. But her draw attempt nudged a guard and she had to settle for just one point, to level the score at 1-1.
Sweden blanked the third end. Then, in the fourth end, Swedish skip Anna Hasselborg attempted to promote one of her own stones into position to knock out two Scottish stones already counting in the house. However, her angle was wrong, and her stone missed its target, giving Scotland a steal of two points, and a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth end, Sweden’s Hasselborg removed two Scottish stones, but her stone ran out of the house, giving Sweden just one point from the end. With this, Sweden reduced Scotland’s lead to 3-2.
The Scots blanked the sixth and seventh ends. In the eighth end, with one of her stones already biting the button in scoring position, Scotland’s Muirhead drew a second into position to score two points and take a 5-2 lead.
In the ninth end, Sweden’s Hasselborg played a hit-and-stay on a Scottish stone at the back of the house, to score two points and reduce Scotland’s lead, to 5-4.
The Swedes tried to build up the tenth end, with the Scots doing their best to clear. Eventually, Muirhead was faced with a gentle hit-and-stay to score two points and make her team European champions.
This was a third European crown for Muirhead, and her tenth European medal in total.
After her win, Muirhead said, “It’s been a roller-coaster, but it’s shown that all the work we’ve done has worked. I’m so proud of Hailey [Duff] — first Europeans, first international ladies’ event… Mili [Smith] as well — first Europeans. For these girls this is really special, and I’d like to think that they’re going to go onto even better things. I’ve already got two European titles under my belt — having a third is amazing — but for these guys it’s always so nice to get your first.”
Thinking about the game itself, she added, “Giving up the steal in the first wasn’t ideal. Scoring in the second was good, but I think it turned when we got that steal in the fourth end. To steal the two in the fourth and to manage to force them for one in the fifth was huge. I would say the fourth end turned it.”
Scotland’s gold medal and European title winning team are skipped by Eve Muirhead, with third Victoria Wright, second Jennifer Dodds, lead Hailey Duff, alternate Mili Smith and coach Kristian Lindstroem.
Silver medallists Sweden are skipped by Anna Hasselborg, with third Sara McManus, second Agnes Knochenhauer, lead Sofia Mabergs, alternate Johanna Heldin and coach Wayne Middaugh.
During the fifth-end break, a special ceremony was held. In this ceremony, World Curling Federation President Kate Caithness inducted the double Olympic champions of Sweden’s Team Anette Norberg in the World Curling Hall of Fame.
Previously, President Caithness had inducted former World Curling Federation Secretary General Mike Thomson into the World Curling Hall of Fame.
Watch all the broadcast games from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 online, exclusively on The Curling Channel.
Women’s gold medal result: Scotland 7-4 Sweden.
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