Karlstad, Sweden – Sweden's Niklas Edin lost his unbeaten record at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Karlstad, Sweden when he lost to Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne in Tuesday afternoon's seventh round-robin session.
Denmark eventually won 9-5 to rob Sweden of their position alone at the top of the rankings. On the way to a victory that keeps Denmark in medal contention, Stjerne played a nice, well-swept draw for two points to level the score at 3-3 in the fourth end. Then, in the seventh end, Stjerne played a hit and roll to score three points and put the final result beyond doubt.
After his victory, Stjerne said: “It’s a big win. We knew we needed two more wins to stay in contention. These guys have been playing good all week but I think we caught them on a bad day."
Sweden now share top position with defending champions Norway, who beat Germany by 6-4 with regular third player Torger Nergard skipping. Germany are fighting to avoid relegation, and in this game, their skip Andreas Lang played a draw for two points in the fourth end to level the score at 2-2. But it was too little as Norway emerged as 6-4 winners.
Afterwards, regular skip, Thomas Ulsrud, explained: "Torger is not feeling that well so he was skipping. I think this was actually the first official game that I swept. It was a new experience but it was fun. I’ve never done any sweeping training before – the guys actually gave me a hard time, but it was a lot of fun standing around at the hogline talking rubbish with all the other sweepers."
Denmark's win over Sweden places them in joint third place with the Czech Republic, who enhanced their chances of reaching the medal games with an 8-3 win over Switzerland.
In the fifth end, Czech skip Jiri Snitil played a gentle tap-up to score two points and in the eighth, he sealed his win with a draw for three points. After this win, a beaming Snitil said: "That was a big one. Last year we got into tie-breakers on 5-4 and we're onto five wins with two games to come, so we really want to get into the top four and hope for a medal." He added: "We've tried to learn from each game and it seems to be working. Our play is getting more consistent, we don't have the crucial misses. This is our eighth Europeans and we've always been coming from behind, and now finally we're in a higher position, so it feels good."
Russia beat Hungary by 7-4 to share fifth place with Switzerland on the rankings and retain a chance of making it to the medal games.
In the fifth game of the session, Scotland beat France by 9-7, but, along with Germany and win-less Hungary, both of these teams are still in the relegation zone. For France, skip Thomas Dufour was on the bench with alternate Tony Angiboust skipping. When he came off the ice, Scottish skip Tom Brewster wasn't quite sure what position his team was now in. He said: "I'm not totally aware of what the standings are but it's nice to get a win."
Eight European team places are available in the draw for the Worlds in Victoria, Canada, with whoever finishes eighth being challenged in a best-of-three format for the final place by this week's B group winners.
The situation is that, with two games left to play, Scotland are two wins ahead of their nearest rivals for seventh place, Germany and France, and a clear non-challenged qualification slot for the Worlds.
Germany and France play each other in the last round-robin draw, so the worst that can happen to Scotland in their last two draws is that they go into a tie-breaker for that seventh place.