Scotland’s teams have been enjoying mixed fortunes at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden.
The men’s team, skipped by Aberdeen’s Tom Brewster (above), struggled in their first European outing and were eliminated yesterday in the final day of group-stage play.
Despite winning their final game 8-5 against Hungary, the Scottish men were left with an overall record of four wins and five losses – they had to settle for a seventh place finish in a group of ten teams.
While this ensures qualification for this season’s World Championship in Canada, it was well below the high expectations of the team back home – Brewster and his rink were 2011 and 2012 Scottish champions and they have two World silver medals to their name.
For the 2012/13 season, Team Brewster have welcomed David Murdoch to their ranks –a move that has not gone down well with many curling fans.
The results from Karlstad furthered this criticism but Tom Brewster was defensive of Olympian and two-time world champion Murdoch: “We’ve not had a great season for various reasons. A lot of people are going to say it’s because we brought Dave into the team, but that’s got absolutely nothing to do with it.
“We’re just not making enough shots and that’s all. We’ve changed techniques, we’ve changed our style of play, and we’ve altered quite a few things. We’re still getting to grips with that and hopefully, come the Scottish Championships in February, we’ll be making more of the right shots. We have changed a lot and that takes time”
Brewster was realistic about his team’s performance over the week and reflected on how personally disappointing the event had been: “Qualification? That’s great. But ultimately we didn’t come here just to do that, we came here to win medals and we’re disappointed we’re not in the play-offs. At the end of the day we’re in this game to win medals, not just qualify. This is the first international competition I’ve been at and never medalled, so I feel not all that good about it”.
Scotland’s women, meanwhile, have had a great deal more success so far than their male counterparts.
Eve Muirhead’s team (above) won gold at the Europeans in Moscow in 2011 and, as defending champions, they have looked hungry for a repeat performance.
Having beaten Russia this morning, Scotland conclude their group-stage campaign with seven wins and just two losses. This has earned them a play-off berth against home crowd favourites Sweden tomorrow afternoon – comfortable qualification for the World Championship in Latvia was secured several games earlier.
After this morning’s game, Muirhead said: “We came out sharp. We got the hammer and we took our two in the first end. Their three came out of nowhere – she played two perfect shots and got three on the measure. But we didn’t let that faze us, it wasn’t the end of the game so we got our two back and forced when we had to force, and got the ideal situation at the end”.
“We controlled it. I think even just our body language showed that we wanted it more. All in all, a solid performance by all of us. Our goal was to get into the 1-2 game, which we’ve done. The girls are playing great and leaving me simple shots, which I like”.