Eve Muirhead has insisted that Britain’s women curlers can thrive under pressure as they prepare for their semi-final against Sweden on Friday morning.
The British skip was at the centre of a controversial group game loss to Sweden when she was penalised for releasing the final stone too late in a 8-6 defeat. Replays of Muirhead’s hog line violation were inconclusive but the decision stood following testing of the technology – a red flashing light on the stone – which alerts referees to any foul play.
That loss dropped the British team to a 3-3 record, but three subsequent wins has left them bursting with confidence – and determined to take revenge on the Swedes.
“The last few games we’ve got better and better and that’s important building into the play-offs,” said Muirhead. “As a team, we love playing under the pressure. You thrive under that. When you’re on the ice, you don’t think of anything else.”
However Britain’s men curlers’ hopes of joining the women in the last four unravelled in spectacular fashion after a disastrous ninth end led to them losing their play-off to Switzerland.
With two ends remaining the British men were leading 5-4 with every hope of making the semi-finals. However, a series of bad shots left them under severe pressure – and then Swiss skip Benoit Schwarz applied the coup de grace.
Schwarz was able to steer his final stone between two British guards and take out his opponents’ stones in the house to score five points – almost unprecedented at this level – as Switzerland took a 9-5 win.
Afterwards British skip Kyle Smith was left ruing what he felt were missed opportunities. “We started off very strong and we put ourselves in a great position and a couple of missed shots were the difference in the game,” said the 25-year-old. “They are a good aggressive team and when they make a lot of shots it is hard to defend against.
“But it’s a sore one. We gave ourselves the chance of making the semi-finals but we couldn’t make it happen.”