Finland win keeps them chasing A-Division leaders

  • Second Pauli Jaamies delivers a stone for Finland Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Norway emerged with their unbeaten record intact after Monday (23 November) morning's fourth session of men's round-robin play at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2015, being held in the Granly Hockey Arena, Esbjerg, Denmark, but Finland, with an 8-4 win over Germany, remain in the chasing pack.

Before this session, Norway stood alone at the top of the rankings, and they continued their dominance in their game against Italy. In the sixth end their skip Thomas Ulsrud drew his last stone into the house to score three points for a 6-3 lead, on the way to an eventual 8-3 win.

Finland faced Germany in this session and in the third end of the game, Finland's skip Aku Kauste hit to score two points and take a 4-1 lead. Germany's skip Alexander Baumann then scored two points in the sixth end with a draw-shot to reduce the Finnish lead to 5-3. However, Finland managed to withstand the German pressure to win by 8-4.

Russia were up against defending European champions and reigning world champions Sweden and held a 3-1 lead at the fifth end break. But, in the sixth end, Sweden's skip Niklas Edin pulled his team level, with a draw-shot inside Russian stones to score two points and tie the game at 3-3.

In the seventh end, Russia's fourth player Alexey Stukalski hit out a Swedish stone to score two points and re-take the lead at 5-3, but Sweden eventually prevailed, to win by 8-7. This win puts Sweden in second place on the table, with just one loss so far.

Switzerland played Scotland in this session, and, already 5-2 up, Switzerland's fourth player Benoit Schwarz drew his final stone into the house to score two more points from the fifth end and take a 7-2 lead into the break. The Scots then conceded the game in the sixth end when Switzerland stole two more points. The final score was 9-2 to Switzerland.

The fifth game of the session produced the first extra-end of the Championships so far, as the Czech Republic faced the Netherlands. Both teams were looking for their second win of the event and in the fifth end, the Czech skip David Sik hit out a Dutch stone to score two points and reduce the Netherlands' lead to 5-2. The game was tied at 7-7 after ten ends and in the extra-end the Czechs eventually completed their victory to win by 8-7.

They Said It:

Thomas Ulsrud: skip, Norway (after 8-3 win over Italy);

"We're usually slow starters, so I hope this lasts. We've been playing really good stuff in these four games. We've really got a feel for the ice and it's a good feeling when you're in the hack feeling like you can't miss a shot. I hope we can keep it up because right now I think the boys are playing the best I've seen all year, so good timing."

Aku Kauste; skip, Finland (after 8-4 win over Germany);

"We played very well during the first half of the game, but got into problems after the break, especially in the seventh end. Fortunately, Germany was not able to steal more than one point. We managed to fix the situation with two points in the eighth end and finally won the game with a steal of one in the ninth end. Overall a very good game from us!”

David Sik (Czech Republic skip, after 8-7 win against Netherlands);

"When we started stealing points it was good for us. We got into the game more and more. As soon as we started to play better, we focused more and we understood we could win so we focused better. I think we've been playing better and better, so we would like to keep it as it is."

B-Division Highlights

Austria grabbed first place in Group B of the men’s B-Division after a 6-4 win against Israel this morning. These two teams had previously been tied for top spot in the group. Croatia stole a single in the final end against Estonia for a 6-5 win, while Slovakia beat Spain 8-3 for their second victory of the round-robin. Latvia beat England by 7-6.

MEN'S RESULTS, Session 4:

Czech Republic 8-7 Netherlands; Russia 7-8 Sweden; Finland 8-4 Germany; Italy 3-8 Norway; Scotland 2-9 Switzerland

MEN'S STANDINGS after Session 4 (W - L):

Norway 4-0
Sweden 3-1
Czech Republic 2-2
Finland 2-2
Germany 2-2
Russia 2-2
Switzerland 2-2
Italy 1-3
Netherlands 1-3
Scotland 1-3