9. 12. 2008 ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, Sweden - by George Karrys
Italy's women overcame deficits of 6-2 and 7-5 to shock powerful Scotland at the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2008.
Diana Gaspari, the surprise 2006 Euro silver-medallist, dropped another stunner on observers at Swedbank Arena by taking four points in the final end for a wild 9-7 win over Scotland's Kelly Wood, the 2007 Euro runner-up.
Gaspari opened with a 2-0 lead which was quickly erased in the second end of play, and despite a three-ender in the sixth to close the gap to a single point the Italians trailed all the way up to the fateful 10th frame.
The youthful Italians leapt into the air in victory.
""It was incredible," said Gaspari, a 24 year-old student who has been curling for half her life.
"After the fifth end we thought we would just play a few ends more and that's it. Then we scored three and we thought, maybe we're back in the game.
"We had a lot of energy and we really fought at the end."
Italy, Switzerland and and Germany are all tied in second place at 4-2 behind Sweden (5-1). Gaspari has already beaten Switzerland's Mirjam Ott and Germany's Andrea Schoepp.
Gaspari's 2006 silver was scored in Basel, Switzerland and came with a different player on the team. New third Giorgia Apollonio, 20, is competing in only her second season at third position. Apollonio threw second stones in 2006.
"Because we are a new team our goal is just to qualify for Korea (Worlds)," said Gaspari.
"But now we have four wins, so anything is possible -- again."
Sweden's front-running Anette Norberg dropped her first game, a 13-4 thumping to Germany. Denmark's Angelina Jensen climbed to 3-3, tied with Scotland and Russia, with a 7-3 win over the Netherlands. Switzerland dispatched Russia 9-4 and England defeated the Czech Republic 8-3 in a battle of last year's B-Division qualifiers.
In men's play, the Czech Republic won their third in a row after an 0-4 start to climb back into Worlds qualifying contention. The 8-7 extra-end win over Switzerland puts them at 3-4, tied with Denmark (7-4 losers to Scotland), France (who fell 5-4 to Germany) and Sweden, who defeated Spain 8-1, for fourth place.
Switzerland's Stefan Karnusian is in third place at 4-3, with defending champion David Murdoch of Scotland at 5-2. Germany's Andy Kapp and Norway's Thomas Ulsrud, who crushed Ireland 9-4, are tied for first with 6-1 records.
Curling fans can see game coverage on Eurosport (in High-Definition) and also online, with special "curling discounts" for the Eurosport Player web TV portal listed at the World Curling Federation website (at www.worldcurling.org) and the event website (at www.ecc2008.se).
Live scoring can be viewed at www.cuponline.nu
Game feeds and highlight packages are also available from World Curling Television (WCTV).