Scotland's Duncan Menzies at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships, 2019, Helsingborg, Sweden © WCF / Richard Gray

Italy, Scotland, Switzerland chase leaders Sweden in Helsingborg

Wins for Italy and Scotland in Tuesday morning’s sixth men’s round-robin session put them into joint second place behind unbeaten Sweden as the play-offs come closer at the Le Gruyère AOP Curling Championships 2019.

Italy beat England by 8-2, while Scotland had a 7-2 victory over Germany. Switzerland also sit in joint second place but suffered a set-back when Norway beat them by 9-4 in this session. Meanwhile, Sweden beat Russia, 9-2, to stay unbeaten at the top of the table. Netherlands also won in this session, beating Denmark by 7-6.

Second place scramble

In the game between, Italy and England, with the score tied at 1-1 in the third end, Italy skip Joel Retornaz nudged an England stone out of a scoring position and kept his own in the house to score four points and take a 5-1 lead. England did not recover from this and an Italy steal of two points in the sixth end for 8-2 was enough to persuade England to concede early.

After this fourth win for his team, Retornaz said, “that was an important win. We’re just trying to keep the pace of the best teams and now we’re performing really well. Now, we have to keep going.”

Italian skip Joel Retornaz at the Le Gruyere AOP European Curling Championships 2019, Helsingborg, Sweden © WCF / Céline Stucki

Germany blanked the first two ends in their game against Scotland and then were forced to take a single in the third. In the fourth end, Scotland skip Ross Paterson hit out a German stone to score two points and take the lead for the first time, at 2-1. In the seventh end, Scotland were 4-2 ahead when Germany’s skip Marc Muskatewitz could not find a way through a busy house and gave up a steal of three. Germany then conceded, with Scotland winning by 7-2.

Steady Swedes

Swedish hosts faced Russia and in the third end, with his team already leading by 2-1, Sweden skip Niklas Edin played a nose-hit to remove a Russian stone and score four points to extend his lead to 6-1. Sweden then had a steal of two in the fourth end and went on to win by 9-2.  hey now stand unbeaten at the top of the table with a two-win advantage over the chasing pack.

Norway faced Switzerland in this session, looking for a win to keep their medal hopes alive. Norway were 5-0 up after three ends, thanks to a steal of three in the second end. Then, In the sixth end, Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud drew his final stone into the house to score two more points and move his lead onto 7-2.

Norway’s Steffen Walstad at the Le Gruyere AOP European Curling Championships 2019, Helsingborg, Sweden © WCF / Céline Stucki

Norway went on to win by 9-4 and after this, Ulsrud said, “we needed that win desperately. We had a good start and we managed to hang onto the lead after that. All the years I’ve played before I’ve been playing at the weekend, but right now, I’m struggling. We’ve taken one step away from the bottom half and now we’re in the middle in no-man’s land, so we’ll see if the next one goes down or up – it’s up to us.”

In the fifth game of the session, Denmark faced Netherlands. Denmark had opened the scoring with two points in the first end but, in the second, Netherland’s fourth player Wouter Goesgens hit out a Danish stone to score two points and level the score at 2-2. Eventually, Goesgens delivered a draw into the house with the last stone of the game to give his team a 7-6 win.

Results men session six: Sweden 9-2 Russia; Norway 9-4 Switzerland; Germany 2-7 Scotland; England 2-8 Italy; Denmark 6-7 Netherlands

Men’s standings after session six

Sweden 6-0
Italy 4-2
Scotland 4-2
Switzerland 4-2
Germany 3-3
Norway 3-3
Denmark 2-4
Netherlands 2-4
England 1-5
Russia 1-5

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Helsingborg, Sweden

19 November 2019