Russia defeated Italy 9-4 to win the women's 2006 Le Gruyère European Curling Championship, the first major curling title for the country that made its international curling debut in 1992.
Skip Ludmila Privivkova, the defending world junior champion, added the prestigious European title to her trophy case by scoring three points in the third end and stealing the sixth and seventh ends. Italy's Diana Gaspari scored three in the second end but could only muster a single point the rest of the way.
Privivkova and teammates Olga Jarkova, Nkeirouka Ezekh, Ekaterina Galkina and Margarita Fomina went undefeated in the round-robin with a 9-0 record against a strong field of Olympic champions and medallists. Russia then lost to the Italians in the first "Page" playoff game 7-5 but recovered to defeat Switzerland's Mirjam Ott 7-5 in the semi-final.
At next year's Le Gruyère European Curling Championship in Fussen, Germany, B-pool qualifiers Austria (B-pool champion) and Finland graduate to the A-division, while Norway, skipped by two-time World and European champion Dordi Nordby of Norway, falls to the B-pool, along with the Netherlands.
picture: copyright curlit.com