Braehead, Scotland – In a day of last-stone drama in both women's and men's gold medal finals, Russia’s women retained their nation’s title at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships, staged at the intu Braehead Arena in Renfrewshire, Scotland, while Sweden‘s men gained their third successive title.
The women’s final on Saturday (26 November) morning was dramatic, in a tense last end, Sweden’s skip Anna Hasselborg wrecked her last-stone draw attempt to give Russia a two-point steal for a 6-4 win and the gold medals.
The Russian women’s winning team is skip Victoria Moiseeva, third Uliana Vasileva, second Galina Arsenkina, lead Julia Guzieva and alternate Julia Portunova.
In the first end of this game, Sweden’s skip Anna Hasselborg played a cross-house tap-out on two Russian stones to score two points and take an advantage that she just failed to maintain all the way.
The game was tight throughout and in the eighth end, Hasselborg drew her last stone into the house to score one point and move onto a 4-3 lead. In the ninth end, Russia’s skip Moiseeva tapped out a Swedish stone to score the one point that levelled the game at 4-4, then, with the last stone of the tenth end, Sweden’s Hasselborg played a draw, only to wreck on a front guard and hand Russia a steal of two points for a 6-4 win and the European title.
With Anna Sidorova’s Russia team winning the title in Esbjerg, Denmark in 2015 this win by Russia is the first time since 2005 that a nation has retained the women’s crown. Sweden, successfully defended the title from 2000 to 2005.
In the men’s final between Sweden and Norway, it took all the way to a last-stone draw in an extra end, before Sweden’s Niklas Edin could claim his third successive European crown with a 6-5 win over Thomas Ulsrud’s Norway.
The only other Member Association and team, on the men’s side, that has achieved this feat is Scotland and Hammy McMillan’s team between 1994 and 1996. The Swedish men’s team is skip Niklas Edin, third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wrana, lead Christoffer Sundgren and alternate Henrik Leek.
Sweden opened the scoring in the first end and went on to steal one point in the fifth end for a 3-1 lead at the half-time break, but a score of two by Norway levelled the game at 3-3 in the sixth end.
After blanking ends seven and eight, the team swapped two points in the ninth and tenth ends to tie the game at 5-5 and put it into an extra end.
In that extra end, with last stone advantage, Edin eventually drew his final stone into the house to score the one point needed for his 6-5 win and his third successive European title.
Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud and his team had the consolation of knowing that this was their tenth successive medal at the European Championships.
The Austrian men lost to Netherlands 9-2, tying their best-of-three world challenge series, 1-1, on Saturday morning. In the final men’s world challenge game, Netherlands beat Austria 6-5 to advance to the Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2017 in Edmonton, Canada (1-9 April).
They said it:
Victoria Moiseeva; skip, Russia (after 6-4 gold medal win over Sweden): “We don’t quite understand how this has happened to us! Of course, we were hoping for that and now it’s happened, it just feels great. I thought she [Anna Hasselborg, Sweden skip] was going to make it [her last stone draw] and we had done what we could so she wouldn’t make it. I didn’t think it would be that way, but it happened!
"It’s so great to win the gold at our first European Championship. We qualified from fourth place and now we’re here – it’s great. My team were so good and they were supporting me so good. We were such a team, it was great.”
Anna Hasselborg; skip, Sweden (after winning the sliver medals): “I still can’t believe that we actually lost. I had played the exact same shot earlier and we had the same ice – I have no idea how that last rock ran. I have no words! It was there all along and the curl didn’t come – I have no idea why. I’m so proud of the team and how we’ve played all week. We really hoped to win that last one. I’m proud of my team but sad about the silver medal.”
Federica Apollonio; skip, Italy (after winning World Challenge Games against Hungary): "I am very happy. I am very emotional and I don't know what to say, I don't have a word to explain my emotions. We have a little more experience in playing on this high level, and we are mentally strong to play tough games.”
Niklas Edin; skip, Sweden (after 6-5 gold medal win over Norway): “It feels great – we were looking for the gold the whole way, but we knew this would be a tough but close final. Team Norway were playing better and better through the week and we kind of lost our touch in the semi-final. We focussed on making out own shots but we had some nervous moments. It was a really exciting final and I’m glad we got the best of it.
“It's hard to compare this with previous wins. All of them have been special in their own way but winning three in a row, it’s definitely up there. All three of them have been really sweet.”
Thomas Ulsrud; skip, Norway (after winning sliver medal): “I think we played a pretty good game, but if you play team Niklas Edin right now, they are the team to beat in the world – right now they’re number one. We managed to stretch them to an extra end but we just couldn’t quite handle it there. It was key that they had the hammer coming in and it was a tight game – all credit to Niklas and the boys.”
Jaap Van Dorp; skip, Netherlands (after winning World Challenge Games against Austria): “This just feels amazing right now. I mean just being able to make the last draw and the guys judging it perfect and getting it on the pin, that's the way you want to end a curling game. It's really amazing. We played really well, especially at the start of the week, it was just a confidence-boost, just to be able to play solid and get really confident wins.”