Czech Republic, Norway and Scotland share top spot in the men’s rankings after two sessions

© WCF / Céline Stucki

Hosts Norway, as well as Czech Republic and Scotland recorded their second wins so far at the Le Gruyere AOL European Curling Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. These victories mean that they share top spot in the rankings after Sunday morning’s second session of men’s round-robin play.

Norway faced Italy in this session and the teams traded two-point scores at the start of the game.  Norway eventually carved out a 6-4 lead after seven ends, only for Italy to score two in the eighth to level the score at 6-6.  Eventually, in the tenth, Norway left Italian skip Joel Retornaz without a realistic shot to play and when Italy’s final big-weight attempt did not come off, Norway had a steal of one and a 9-6 win.

Afterwards, Norway skip Steffen Walstad said, “That was a close game, but I don’t think either us or Italy would be happy with our performance – there were a lot of unnecessary mistakes from both of us.  We were trading mistakes, but it’s always good to come out with the win.  Now we just have to keep it going.  As the teams get better and better through the week, it gets tougher and tougher to beat them, so I hope we will be lucky.”

Czech Republic started strongly again Switzerland, scoring two points in the first end. They followed that up with a draw inside two Swiss stones in the third end for another two-point count and a 4-1 lead.  The Swiss never really got going and the best they could produce was a single-point steal in the ninth to reduce the Czech lead to 5-4.  A further single-point score in the tenth was enough to give the Czechs their second win so far.

Speaking later, Czech skip Lukas Klima said, “That really was a great win.  It’s always a tough game against Switzerland, so we’re really glad that we won it.  Right now, we’re so happy because to start the week with two wins is always great and we played better there than yesterday, so we’re improving and that’s really important.”

Scotland were in control from the start in their game against Finland, taking a 4-1 lead into the break. In the sixth end, a further score of two points with a delicate tap-up by their skip Bruce Mouat gave the Scots a 6-1 lead, and they eventually emerged as 6-2 winners after eight ends.

© WCF / Céline Stucki

In the other games, Germany beat the Netherlands by 5-3 to record their first win so far. On their way to this win, Germany stole two points in the second end when Dutch skip Wouter Goesgens could not keep his own stone in position.

Afterwards, German skip Sixten Totzek said, “We also played well yesterday but the Finnish guys played unbelievable – today we kept on going with this performance but this time we were on the better side of the result.  Now we just want a solid performance for the rest of the week for World Championship qualification and to give us a good feeling for the Olympic Qualification Event too.”

In the fifth game of this session, defending champions Sweden recorded their first win so far, with a 9-5 victory over Denmark.  This was a tight game for most of the way, with only a score of four in the ninth end finally giving Sweden a winning advantage.

As there is a three-way tie at the top of the table, three further teams – Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland are still looking for their first wins.

Men’s session two results: Switzerland 4-6 Czech Republic; Germany 5-3 Netherlands; Scotland 6-2 Finland; Sweden 9-5 Denmark; Norway 9-6 Italy.

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Lillehammer, Norway

21 November 2021
European Curling Championships 2021
Le Gruyère AOP