September 26, 2008

Playoff decider at Kitzbuehel

Alan Smith, Gillian Howard, David Mundell and Karen Strang had a long lie this morning and a frustrating wait for the 2pm start of their playoff decider against Germany, who had beaten Denmark earlier. At stake was a place in the semifinals of the European Mixed Curling Championship.

Rainer Schopp and his German team came out aggressively as they had played this morning, drawing around short stones at every opportunity, and making good use of the free guard zone. They took two at the first. So tight was the position in the house that the German skip elected not to play his final stone, there being no way to count a third. Then Alan was forced to play his last stone through a port to the button just to get a single at the second.

Germany took a single in the third. The fourth was blanked.

The Scots tried to get something going in the fifth, but Rainer Schopp played a raise takeout to leave his side lying four. Alan's last stone takeout just had to curl a millimetre more to get shot, but it didn't and the Scots were down 4-1.

The Scots had a chance, though not an easy one, to get at least two back in the sixth, but it was not to be Alan's day, and they lost another single against the head. They DID get their two at the seventh, but the rally was a little late. They were 5-3 down in the eighth, without the hammer.

The Germans did not change tactics to keep things clear in the last end, at first anyway, and the Scots were able to get something of a guddle underway. The most extraordinary thing then happened. The German skip decided not to play his first stone!

Alan then played a cracker, hitting an edge of his own at speed to move it sideways to push the hidden German stone out of the house (did you understand that explanation?) The Scots lay two.

But Rainer Schopp had an open takeout for the game, and this he made!

Semifinals and final tomorrow, Saturday. Sweden plays Germany; Russia plays the Czech Republic. Find all the results here.

Top: The Scots in action against Germany. Pic by Bob.

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