A busy opening day of the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2023 in Curl Aberdeen, Scotland saw the ten A-Division women’s teams play twice, with the men playing their opening round-robin games in between the women’s sessions. Reigning women’s world champions, Switzerland picked up two wins, while current men’s world champions, Scotland, won their sole game of the day.
After the opening two sessions of women’s play, Norway and Switzerland share top spot, each on two wins. Norway followed up an 8-4 win over Estonia with an 8-3 victory against Czechia.
Meanwhile, Switzerland opened with a 12-1 six-end victory over defending champions Denmark, then went on to beat Sweden by 8-4.
After their win over Denmark, Switzerland skip Silvana Tirinzoni was asked about her quick victory. She said, “The shorter a game the better. On the first day, you’ll try to learn the ice, but I prefer to be finished after six ends. The ice is good, but one side is curling more than the other, and we figured that out better than Denmark.”
The Danes then made amends with an 11-9 win over Scotland. This victory included a score of five in the fourth end when Danish skip Madeleine Dupont hit out a Scottish stone and kept her own in scoring position.
Germany also had a mixed day. Following a morning win over Italy (11-8), they lost to Estonia by 9-3 in the evening session. Estonia had earlier lost to Norway by 4-8, and Italy recorded their first win in the evening, beating Türkiye by 10-4 in the evening session.
Before losing to Switzerland, the Swedish women had beaten Czechia by 10-4 in the morning.
These results mean that Czechia and Türkiye share bottom spot, both still looking for their first win.
In the sole session for the men, defending champions Scotland were up against Norway. The Scots led by 3-2 after seven ends. In the eighth, the hosts added two more when their skip Bruce Mouat played a draw to the button, to increase their lead to 5-2. This was the key shot of the game, and the Scots then went on to open their title defence with a 5-3 win.
Meanwhile, Olympic champions Sweden faced Czechia. The Swedes were down by two points (4-6), playing the ninth end. In that end, their skip Niklas Edin played a hit-and-stay to score two points and tie the game at 6-6.
However, the Czechs responded in the tenth. Their skip Lukas Klima got his final stone around a front guard to hit out a Swedish stone and stay in scoring position to win the game by 7-6.
After this win, Klima said, “Obviously, playing a really good team in the first game gives you a better chance because they were making mistakes they won’t make in the second half of the week. We played very solid and were comfortable with the ice conditions.”
In other games in this session, Switzerland beat Türkiye by 6-3, thanks largely to a score of three in the fifth end, while Germany won over Finland by 7-5.
Italy had a 10-1 win over Netherlands in just six ends. This victory was completed by a double take-out by Italy skip Joel Retornaz, to score four points in the sixth end.
Afterwards, Retornaz said, “A win is a win. It doesn’t matter how much you win by, as long as you start with a “W”. We’re in a good period and playing well. We want to keep our groove and to bring it over here to the Euros, so we’re happy with that start.”
Click here for all the results from the A-Division.
— World Curling (@worldcurling) November 18, 2023
Play also got underway in the B-Division, staged in Perth. In the men’s A Group, Denmark, France, Latvia and Poland all opened with wins. The men’s Group B winners were Austria, England, Spain and Ukraine.
In the women’s B-Division, all ten teams played two games. Latvia and Poland won both of their match-ups and are currently leading the standings. Austria, England, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia all had a mixed day, with one win and one loss next to their name. Belgium and Slovakia are still looking for their first victory.
Click here for all the results from the B-Division.
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