Sweden women begin European title defence with a win in Lillehammer

Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Defending European champions Sweden, faced an understrength Czech Republic team — with skip Anna Kubeskova out due to illness — in Saturday morning’s opening session of round-robin play at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021, being staged in Lillehammer, Norway.

This game was tight throughout, and Sweden made the first break-through with a single-point steal in the fourth end for a 3-1 lead.

Two blank ends followed. The teams traded single points over the next three ends, before Swedish skip Anna Hasselborg played a take-out in the tenth end, for a 5-3 win.

Mixed fortunes for A-Division newcomers

© WCF / Steve Seixeiro

There were mixed fortunes for the two newly-promoted teams from the B-Division.

Turkey held a 5-3 lead over reigning world champions Switzerland at the fifth-end break. A steal of four points by Switzerland in the seventh end put them ahead, 8-5, on their way to a 10-8 win.

Newly promoted Italy opened their game against Denmark with a score of two points in the first end and a steal of further two points in the third end, followed by a single-point steal in the fourth end for a 5-0 lead.

Denmark — with skip Madeleine Dupont in obvious difficulties from an injury — responded with a score of three points in the fifth end, reducing Italy’s lead at the break to 5-3. Despite a continued fightback, the Danes were forced to concede in the tenth end, giving Italy an 8-5 win.

Following this win, Italy skip Stefania Constantini said, “We are very happy for this win. We had a very strong first half then Denmark came back very well, but we kept focus and we got our first win of the Championship”.

Speaking more generally, she added, “Our target is to remain in the A-Group, and we would also like to qualify directly for the Worlds… so we’re on target!”

Wins for Germany and Scotland

© WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Germany won their opener against Estonia. They scored two points in the fourth end and then finished off their 13-3 win with a score of six points in the ninth end.

Afterwards, a relieved German skip Daniela Jentsch said, “It’s always nice to get the first win in – it is always the hardest. We’re happy that we got it done today. They were trying to be aggressive at the end, but we played well, and we made our shots. It’s always a relief because we always struggle with the first few games, it’s nice to have that done now, and we can now focus on the next game.”

In the fifth game of the session, Scotland faced Russia, and the Scots opened with a score of two points in the first end.

Scotland remained in control after that and moved into a 5-2 lead with a steal of one point in the sixth end.

Scotland skip Eve Muirhead finished the game with a take-out of a Russian stone in the tenth end, to score one point and complete a 10-8 win.

Afterwards, Muirhead said, “That first game is one of those that’s it’s nice to get it under your belt, and a win’s a bonus, especially against a team like Russia, who are among the favourites. Now we’ve got a handle on the ice and we’re all playing well, so hopefully that’ll continue.”

Watch all the action from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2021 online, exclusively on The Curling Channel.

Session one results: Czech Republic 3-5 Sweden; Italy 8-5 Denmark; Germany 13-3 Estonia; Scotland 7-4 Russia; Switzerland 10-8 Turkey.

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Lillehammer, Norway

20 November 2021
Le Gruyère AOP