Scotland women won European Curling Championship silver, beaten in the final by Russia, while Sweden won gold in the men’s event.
The Scots (Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Sarah Reid) had been edged out by Anna Sidorova’s Russia in the round robin, and that was to prove the case today too.
Russia scored two in end two, but Scotland instantly responded with two of their own and the game was 3-3 at the fifth end break.
The crucial end was the eighth, as Sidorova played a superb couple of shots to prevent Scotland scoring a big end – and instead come away with a steal of one.
That put Russia 5-3 in the lead and they held firm to win the game 6-4, after an incredibly tense, tight match that swung decisively late on.
Coach David Hay said: “It was the best performance of the week from us.
“We had a couple of chances, a big chance in the eighth end – Eve makes a double takeout there and we pick up three.
“Instead we lost a steal of one – a four-shot turnaround. That was maybe the changing point in the game.
“Both teams are very good, it’s one shot here, one shot there, and this time it didn’t go for us.
“Next Saturday we’re back out to Canada for the Grand Slam of Curling event in Yorkton in 10 days’ time, so a bit of rest before then.
“We’ve had a good season so far, we keep rolling on and hope to go one better next time.”
Earlier in the day, Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin, retained the men’s title they won last year, seeing off Switzerland in the extra end.
The Swedes had struggled in the group stage before knocking out Norway in yesterday’s semi finals, and started slowly here as well – Peter De Cruz’s Switzerland scoring two in the first end.
But Sweden then got into the groove that has seen them hold both European and World titles, scoring two in end four and taking the lead with another two in end six.
Switzerland, though, were not for giving up, and they scored two in end 10 to force an extra with the scores at 6-6.
However, the Swedes – holding hammer – were not unduly troubled there, Edin making a simple draw to the four foot to score one and win the title.
In the other games played on the final day, Denmark men beat Italy 4-2 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in their World Challenger series – so the Danes will play at the World Men’s Championship in Basel, Switzerland, in April 2016.
The qualifier for the World Women’s Championship in Swift Current, Canada, in March 2016 were Italy. Norway tied the series 1-1 with an 8-6 win in the second game, but the Italians won the decider 8-2.
And Belgium retained their B-Division status for next year with a 10-8 win over Croatia, who drop to the C-Division.
The European Curling Championships 2015 has been a superb event to attend as fan-turned-journalist, with Esbjerg fine hosts and the organisation behind the event doing a great job.
More spectators would have been a bonus, but teams had vocal support from their country’s supporters throughout the week.
From a Scotland point of view, the way that the men (Team Smith) came back from a very low ebb to make a playoff tiebreaker was incredibly encouraging for their future – and in the end they only went out by a single point to eventual winners Sweden.
As for Muirhead’s women, they played well throughout the week, made an extraordinary comeback in their semi final and their silver medals represent a step up from last year – not just on the podium, but as a sign that their performances are improving.
Tak (thank you) Esbjerg!