Germany claim last semi-final place at the Le Gruyère AOP Europeans

  • Germany take the last semi-final place © WCF / Stephen Fisher

Despite losing their last round-robin game to Sweden by 2-8, Germany gained the fourth semi-final qualification slot at the Le Gruyere AOP European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, joining Sweden, Scotland and Italy.

Germany shared the same won five, lost four record as Norway and Switzerland but had the superior draw shot challenge performance, to keep their medal hopes alive.

Sweden rested regular skip Niklas Edin for the game against Germany, with Oskar Eriksson stepping up to lead the team, and this win kept their unbeaten record intact as they qualified in top spot. Germany and Sweden will now have a re-match in the semi-final.

The other semi-final will be between Scotland, who beat Finland by 10-4 in this session, and Italy, who lost by 6-10 to Russia, a result that ranks Russia seventh overall, to give them the last available direct qualification slot in the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Championship.

Norway and Switzerland faced each other in this last round-robin session and a win for Norway would have given them the semi-final slot ahead of Germany. Norway had the early lead but, helped by a steal of two points in the seventh end, Switzerland emerged as 8-7 winners.

Norway ranked fifth on the final table while Switzerland are sixth.

After this game a subdued Swiss skip Peter de Cruz said, “the draw shot challenge has been really important in the last few major events. We know if we don’t have a good one we can end up in this kind of situation. But it’s not the draw shot challenge that’s kicked us out, it’s probably one or two performances that we regret. “

The defeat to Scotland means that Finland finish ninth overall and are relegated to next year’s B Division. However, they do have the consolation that they now go to January’s World Qualification Event, still with a chance of reaching this season’s world championship.

After his win, Scotland’s skip Bruce Mouat said, “that was a good round-robin from our team, so we’re pretty happy with that. We’ve got second spot which is what you want – that gives us hammer in the semi-final. We had a good game against Italy in the round-robin but they’re playing well so we need to come out firing.”

Netherlands faced Poland in this session and although neither team could reach the semi-finals, this was still a do-or-die match-up, with only the winners going on to qualify for the World Championships Qualification Event.

In the eighth end, Netherlands’ fourth player Wouter Goesgens [pictured below © WCF / Stephen Fisher] drew his last stone into position to score one point and take a 6-3 lead. Netherlands went on to win by 8-3, a result that means they finished eighth overall and now go on to January’s World Qualification Event.

Poland finished tenth overall and are relegated to the B-Division for next season’s championship.

Afterwards Netherlands skip Jaap Van Dorp said, “it’s still good to have a chance to qualify for the Worlds, we’d prefer to do it directly but during the week it didn’t go so well and we didn’t get the wins. We’ll go to the qualifier and do the best we can.”

Session nine results: Netherlands 8-3 Poland; Italy 6-10 Russia; Scotland 10-4 Finland; Norway 7-8 Switzerland; Germany 2-8 Sweden

Final round-robin standings:

Q Sweden 9-0
Q Scotland 7-2
Q Italy 6-3
Q Germany 5-4
Norway 5-4
Switzerland 5-4
Russia 3-6
Netherlands 2-7
RFinland 2-7
RPoland 1-8

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