Team GB crash out of curling semi-final but can still salvage bronze

Rob Bagchi
GB lose their curling semi-final but still have a bronze medal match on Saturday - REUTERS

GB have been defeated in the women's curling semi-final, losing 10-5 and conceding the match at the culmination of end nine. It all turned on end nine when the Sweden captain Anna Hasselberg stole three after an error by GB skip Eve Muirhead.

Hasselborg was able to complete a double takeout to remove both GB stones in the house and then Muirhead attempted to salvage at least a point but failed to get through the gap between the guards and instead of the score being 5-4 to Sweden, it swung to an 8-5 lead in the space of two throws.

Muirhead who led the team to bronze in Sochi four years ago said afterwards on the eve of a bronze medal match against either Japan or Korea: "The Swedish girls were on fire. We're absolutely gutted. I missed a couple of cricial draws and you can't afford to do that. We've still got a medal to play for tomorrow and we'll be fighting hard to do that."



GB go into the bronze medal match

And Sweden go through to the final. 


Sweden 10-5 GB

Anna Hasselborg wins the match for Sweden Credit: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

 And GB concede with an end to play. 


At the sharp end of ... erm .. end 9

And now, the end is near. Sweden aren't making any errors now and have three in the house to GB's none with three each to throw. Sweden have the hammer. Sloan throws her last and curls it nearest to the centre. It will force Sweden to cover it and take the one. McManus throws her last of this end and kisses the yellow to take centre ground. Two left each. Muirhead takes the red out:

End nine, three stones to throw Credit: BBC SPORT

Hasselborg curls her first perfectly to sit on top of the lead yellow. Muirhead leaves her last throw well short. Sweden are going to take two here easily and win the match. 


Sweden 8-5 GB

No, it's not good enough. Muirhead goes for a hail mary attempt to claw back three but doesn't put enough weight on it. She'll have to go some with her last to salvage even two.  She needs to get it through this gap:


 But she does pull it off and hits the yellow, displacing the red behind it and rescuing two! Two ends to play. 


Muirhead to throw

Sloan's second at end eight is another good one, laying it on top of the red in the heart of the house. Too much, too little, too late? Hasselborg counters by taking out the top yellow and leaves the red as a guard. GB have two stones, Sweden one. 





All the talk now is of the bronze medal match for GB. A nice second shot from Vicki Adams gives GB a glimmer. Four each to throw:

Vicki Adams places her second shot behind the red Credit: BBC SPORT

 McManus does hit it but doesn't shoot it out the back of the house, leaving it on the white on the right, beneath the T line. GB call time out to weigh their options. Sloan does well to take out one of the reds and leave three yellows in the house but McManus recovers and takes two of them out. The door slams shut. 


GB need to make up five over three ends

'A mountain to climb without crampons,' says Steve Cram-pon. Everest and K2.  


Sweden 8-3 GB

Hasselborg completes the double takeout. Great throw. Muirhead has to salvage one here. Can she do it? She hits the guard! Sweden have three in the house and that looks like the game has gone. Sweden go 8-3 up. 


End seven crunch time

Sloan curls her last stone into the pupil of the bullseye, behind a red but with enough showing to be hit by Hasselborg.  But she makes a mistake and goes right through. Big chance for GB here if Muirhead can be precise. But she can't and leaves Hasselborg the chance of a double takeout. One each to play:

End seven one to play Credit: BBC SPORT



End 7

GB have the hammer. It hasn't been their best performance at all but Steve Cram thinks they will flourish when the pressure is on in the last couple of ends and that Sweden may crumble. But Sweden are still playing better in he seventh end. After six stones Sweden have two reds in the house and a yellow guard protecting them. GB none. Sloan will try to canon into her guard and displace one of the reds with it but she miscalculates and still leaves both reds in there but not in shotgun formation. Great shot from Sweden's McManus leaves three reds in the house and pretty well protected.

Sweden with three in and five stones to throw Credit: BBC SPORT



Sweden 5-3 GB

Sweden clear the house of yellows with two each to go, leaving one red, on the white, on the right, that Muirhead takes out and leaves her first yellow kissing the edge of the blue roundel. With only Hasselborg's last to throw, GB have two in the house, Sweden one.

After 19 stones Credit: BBC SPORT

 But Hasselborg throws beautifully and takes the two by leaving her last throw closer to the centre than the yellow she displaced. 


End six gets underway

Sweden have the hammer and here's how it stands after six stones each. GB are yellow:

End six Credit: BBS SPORT



Muirhead has a chance to take two

The GB and Sweden skips Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

 And with a stone left each, GB have two in the house without the apparent angle for Hasselborg to effect the double takeout. Indeed. She takes the lower one out and leaves hers tucked behind the yellow. Great shot. 

Only Muirhead to throw her last Credit: BBC SPORT

 Muirhead ends the end with a fine throw to knock the red out and leaver hers in the house. That levels it at 3-3 at halfway. 


End five

Two red guards high on the left, a yellow for GB in the blue and low in the white on the right with two stones each and the skips left to throw.  


Sweden 3-1 GB

Muirhead's first clears the house of reds and leaves hers above the T on the right on the edge of the red. Hasselberg knocks the yellow out. Eve Muirhead needs a better shot to try to get one or prevent a two for Sweden but she hits the red on the nose and leaves it open to being knocked out. Sweden are wondering if a red that appears to be out on the left is in fact in. Out comes the measure. It is out and Sewden take the one when going for the blank because Hasselberg's final stone stays in high on the right after removing Muirhead's. They go 3-1 up but give GB the hammer.



End four

GB go first and after six stones there's one red in the house that is hit by Sloan's first throw but leaves it still on the edge of the blue roundel on the left. Here's how they stand after seven each. 

After seven shots Credit: BBC Sport

 Sloan's second shot is a terrific double takeout that leaves hers in the red and bull that McManus takes out. Two each left. Muirhead to throw first. 


GB pull a point back

Sloan throws her first to the right which is taken out by McManus, leaving two reds in the house on the left, below centre on the left. Her second is laid on the blue to the right, 30cm below the T-line. Skips next. Hasselberg takes out Sloan's stone. Muirhead sizes up her options and opts for curling in front of the two reds. She fails and pushes it.  through the house. Too heavy. One stone each left. Will GB go for the blank? 'We need to score,' says Adams. And they do - Muirhead takes out the red and curls her yellow into the heart of the house. GB 1-2 Sweden. 



End three, the early forays

As with the honour in golf, the winner of the preceding end goes first next, meaning GB have the advantage of the hammer and going last. A mistake from Lauren Gray busts the house without taking a red stone with it. So it looks like this after six stones. Vicki Gray goes for a shooter and takes out both reds which makes up for Gray's miss. GB are yellow:

After six stones at end three Credit: BBC SPORT



Sweden take the lead

Terrific double take-out, almost a triple from Anna Sloan with her last shot of end two. Sara McManus's final shot is close to the T line on the right. Sweden are the red.

How it stands before the skips throw at end two Credit: BBC Sport

Muirhead's first takes out the red on the left but the ricochet take sit just beneath the red on the right. Hasselberg lays her first on the right by the T-line, just about where the red just removed was. Muirhead will go for the double takeout again but only knocks the first out, leaving her yellow stone in the house and the red on the right undisturbed. Hasselberg takes Muirhead's out but her shooter almost knocks the other red out but it stays just inside the nearest yellow so Sweden go 2-0 up after end two. 


A brush of the foot

Sweden carry over the hammer with a blanked end. Amazing what you learn. Sofia Mabegs changes tack  and puts up a guard - as does Gray, both of them high on the right. Mabergs' other stone was at the top of the house. Vicki Adams' stone hits the foot of one of the sweepers (Sloan) as it knocked Mabegs' stone oot the hoose and the Sweden skip, which is her right, is allowed to take it further out so it rests outside the roundel. After six stones GB have a stone on the blue, Sweden one on the blue and one on the white, all three on the right. 

Sara McManus, daughter of Scots, curls for Sweden Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nichols



Here come the skips

Muirhead takes out McManus's stone and leaves hers on the edge of the red. Anna Hasselborg takes it out and leaves her first stone beneath centre on the right. Muirhead takes it out and is left right  of centre on the white. What will Hasselborg do? Yes, she took it out and blanked the end. End 1 finishes at GB 0-0 Sweden. 


Early stones

Sweden have the hammer (go second and thus play the last stone) so Lauren Gary leads off against Sofia Mabergs who take each other out with their stones and GB's second Vicki Adams takes out Mabergs' last. Ditto for Adams and  Agnes Knochenhauer. No guards so far. All aiming for the house - as do Anna Sloan and Sara McManus with their first stones - and Sloan leaves her last alone in the house, on the line of the blue and white roundel where it meets. McManus take sit out and leaves hers central on the left. 


Out come the teams

Steve Cram has had his bowl of Start and is ready to go. Korea are playing Japan in the other semi which means we should have a vibrant atmosphere. 


'Curling is much harder than it looks'

Isn't it great to see Clare Balding? Such a scarce opportunity. Where's she been hiding herself?


Here's an amuse-bouche before the action

And welcome to coverage of GB women's curling semi-final against Sweden when we will see if Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Lauren Gray can make it through to the final. GB finished third in the round robin and Sweden second. In the group match Sweden prevailed 8-6 but needed an 11th end to win it after a neck-and-neck match.

If Steve Cram can turn himself into a curling expert, swept (arf!) along by the enthusiasm then so should we. GB lost at this stage at Sochi but went on to win their bronze medal match and will be hoping for a return to the glory days of Salt Lake City and Rhona Martin's gold medal winners. 

To the sheet!