It was another tough day for Scotland at the European Championships, with a thumping win being followed by two defeats to quality opposition.
The morning game saw Scotland women (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) effectively kill off Oona Kauste’s Finland in four ends.
After scoring a single with hammer in end one, they stole two in end two, three in end three and one in the fourth, getting their stones into dangerous positions and guarding up Finland’s way in.
Finland scored one in end five, but the Scots scored another one in the sixth and at that point the Finns conceded the game.
After the match, Eve Muirhead said she felt her rink were starting to build momentum: “Yes, for sure. After the opening loss we came back strong, and that’s what we needed to do. Things are definitely going in the right direction.”
Scotland men (Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith) bounced back from a loss to Norway by beating the Czech Republic, but today they faced the current world champions – Niklas Edin’s Swedes.
Conceding three in end one meant Scotland were always playing catch up, and were 5-1 down after three ends.
They managed to pull the game back to 6-4 after six ends, putting the Swedes under real pressure with their play, but ended up losing 9-6.
After, Kyle Smith said: “They were too good for us today. We have to take the positives from the end of this game into the start of the next one.
“There’s no easy games and there’s a lot of good teams still to play, so we have to improve on that.”
Also left to rue costly mistakes early on were Team Muirhead in their heavyweight clash with Russia, skipped by Anna Sidorova.
They conceded two in end three to fall 3-1 down, pounced on a Russian mistake to level at 3-3 but then immediately gave up another two – and from there the Russians were able to keep them at arm’s length despite a lot of mistakes being made by both sides.
Muirhead was forced into an ambitious in-off takeout to try and score two to level the game in the 10th end, but could only score one – Russia winning 7-6.
The skip reflected on that game by saying: “We got off to a bit of a slow start, and against a team like that, if you do that you’re always going to struggle to come back.
“But it’s a marathon not a sprint, with several games to go, so we’ve just got to take it on the chin, keep our heads up, because there’s no point getting too disappointed.”
Denmark and Russia continue to lead the way on W4 L0 records, ahead of a gaggle of teams on W2 L2 including Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as Scotland.
As for the men, Norway are the only unbeaten team (W3 L0), ahead of Germany, Russia and Sweden on W2 L1.
In the B-Division, England women began the day by beating Slovakia 9-2 to put them on a W2 L2 record.
England men, however, suffered an 8-2 defeat to Spain, while Wales men lost twice – to Poland 8-5 and Denmark 9-2.
Tomorrow will see the first day of televised coverage from Esbjerg, on World Curling TV on YouTube and also Eurosport.
And there will be another Esbjerg Daily right here wrapping up the day’s action, focused on the Scottish teams but taking a wider view as the qualification picture sharpens up as well.