Russia wins 2012 European Championship Women's Title

Russia - 2012 European Women's Champions photo: WCF/Richard Gray

In Saturday morning's women's final at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden, Russia defeated defending champions Scotland by 6-5 after an extra end.

The lead changed hands five times during the game which saw Russia, who had Anna Sidorova as skip, Liudmila Privivkova playing third, Margarita Fomina at second and Ekaterina Galkina as lead, took what is their second-ever European title (they previously took gold in Basel in 2006).

Having come through from the Page 1-2 game, Scotland were given the hammer at the start. However, with Eve Muirhead as skip, Anna Sloan as third, Vicki Adams as second and Claire Hamilton as lead, they could do little to stop Russia taking an early advantage, stealing a single point in the first end. Having blanked the second end, Scottish skip, Eve Muirhead, played a draw to score two points in the third end for a 2-1 lead.

Russian skip, Anna Sidorova, levelled the score in the next end when she drew for one point and then took the lead again with a single point steal in the fifth end, when Muirhead failed to remove a Russian stone with her last effort.

However, Scotland took the lead again when Muirhead played another draw with her last stone in the sixth end, scoring two points for a 4-3 score-line.

In the tenth end, Muirhead hit and stayed to score one point and level the game at 5-5, forcing an extra end. Russia had last stone advantage in this extra end and Sidorova used it to hit for one point with her last stone for a 6-5 win, the gold medals, and her own first major title.

Afterwards, a stunned Sidorova said: "I still can't believe it. I can't believe that the Europeans week has gone and we are the champions. I'm so happy that I can't feel it. I'm really proud of my team and excited to play with this team, they are amazing girls. I am proud to be here, to represent my country.
This is important for me personally and it is important for curling in Russia."

Scotland's Muirhead was gracious in defeat. She said: “It wasn't our best performance, we've played better this week. We just missed one or two slack shots here and there, but they played well. The last end could have gone either way - their second made a fantastic double and took out one in the house too."

Sweden won the bronze medal, beating Denmark by 9-3. They were always in control, with fourth player Maria Prytz hitting for two points in the third end, for a 4-1 lead. She added three more points in the fifth end with a hit and a 7-1 lead, on their way to victory and the consolation of bronze medals.

Their lead and skip, Margaretha Sigfridsson, said: “One of our best strengths is that we really lift each other and work very hard together as a team, so that’s how we got charged for this game today. I think we will be happy with the bronze. Of course were not satisfied we didn’t get to the final but we said we wouldn’t cry if we came home with a medal so that’s what we have to live with."

The men’s gold medal game between Sweden and Norway will take place at 15:00 (CET) on Saturday, December 15.

Final Women’s Standings:

A-Group:

1. Russia 10-2 (Gold. Qualified for World Women’s Curling Championship (WWCC) 2013, Riga, Latvia)
2. Scotland 8-3 (Silver. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
3. Sweden 8-4 (Bronze. Qualified for WWCC 2013)
4. Denmark 7-5 (Qualified for WWCC 2013)
5. Switzerland 6-4 (Qualified for WWCC 2013)
6. Italy 4-5 (Qualified for WWCC 2013)
7. Germany 4-6 (Qualified for WWCC 2013 as Latvia, hosts of WWCC 2013, won Women’s B-Group)
8. Czech Republic 3-7
9. Hungary 1-8 (relegated to ECC 2013 B Group)
10. Finland 1-8 (relegated to ECC 2013 B Group)

B-Group:

1. Latvia (Gold. Promoted to A-Group ECC 2013. Will play at WWCC 2013 as host nation)
2. Norway (Silver. Promoted A-Group ECC 2013)
3. Austria (Bronze)
4. Estonia
5. Turkey
6. Poland
7. England
8. Spain
9. Slovakia (relegated to C-Group)
10. Belarus (relegated to C-Group)

Event website: http://ecc2012.curlingevents.com for further information, Schedules of play, full team line ups and results from Group A and Group B.
Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCurlingChampionships

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