December 10, 2011The men’s final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2011 in Moscow was between defending champions Norway, led by Olympic silver medallist Thomas Ulsrud and the 2009 champions Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin.
These two teams had produced two tight encounters earlier in the week and this time round it was Norway who had the better start.
A simple draw by Ulsrud in the eighth gave Norway one point for 6-4. In the ninth, a Swedish stone had jammed at the back when Norway tried to clear out the house early in the end, and having this stone still sitting there contributed to Edin’s score of two with a hit and stay, to level the game at 6-6.
Norway held the last stone advantage in the tenth end, and, while Edin tried all he could to steal the win, Ulsrud finally delivered a perfect draw that covered the button to score the one point needed for the Norwegians to retain the title.
After the game, Swedish skip Edin said, “we had a terrible start. We couldn’t really figure out the ice and we had some bad shots early on and that ruined it for us. We played well at the end of the game but it wasn’t enough to catch up. We had a good finish but we didn’t really manage to put our rocks in the right positions” adding, “it didn’t go our way this time. I want to try to make some better set-ups next time to make him work hard for the game”.
By contrast, Ulsrud was a happy man. “It feels perfect. The best thing is this is one of the best matches we’ve played all week, and to be able to do it in the final is good. We started really bad this week and we picked it up game by game and then we ended up playing the perfect game in the final - it’s good”.
Asked why he had managed to win this game after losing the previous two encounters between the teams, he said, “in the previous two games against Sweden, the whole team hadn’t played well, but this time we had everybody playing well, so it was perfect. It’s every skip’s dream – to draw the four foot to win the European Championships, it feels really good”.
He added, “this is really big for us, because we’ve had a really bad season so far, but this makes it a really big season.”
Philippe Bardet, Director of Le Gruyère AOC the Swiss cheesemaker who has been title sponsor of the European Curling Championships since 2002, expressed his delight at the success of the championships in Moscow: “Le Gruyère AOC is delighted to have been involved with the event for 10 years and congratulates all the competitors and organisers on the success of the event in Moscow.”
In the B-group host nation Russia won the final against Hungary by 7 to 4. Also here, both nations are promoted to the A-group of the European Curling Championships 2012, which will take place in Karlstad, Sweden from 8-15 December.
In the B-group host nation Russia won the final against Hungary by 7 to 4. Also here, both nations are promoted to the A-group of the European Curling Championships 2012, which
GROUP A MEN: Standings after Bronze medal games
1. Norway (GOLD)2. Sweden (SILVER)3. Denmark (BRONZE) (Qualified for WMCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)4. Czech Republic (Qualified for WMCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)5. Scotland (Qualified for WMCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)6. Switzerland (Qualified for WMCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)7. Germany (Qualified for WMCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)8. France (Qualified for WMCC 2012 and ECC 2012 A Group)9. Latvia (relegated to ECC 2012 B Group)10. Italy (relegated to ECC 2012 B Group)
GROUP B MEN: Final Standings:
1. Russia (Gold) (Promoted to ECC 2012 A Group)2. Hungary (Silver) (Promoted to ECC 2012 A Group)3. England (Bronze)4. Ireland5. Austria6. Estonia7. Finland8. Poland9. Belgium10. Spain11. Wales12. Lithuania13. Netherlands14. Slovakia15. Belarus16. Croatia