Winter Sports - Brits in Sochi: Men’s curling rink faces play-off, Buckland and Coomes meet target

A look at how the Brits fared on day 10 at the Sochi Winter Olympics, with the men’s curling hopes hanging in the balance.

Winter Sports - Brits in Sochi: Men’s curling rink faces play-off, Buckland and Coomes meet target

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Britain's skip David Murdoch looks down the sheet during their men's curling round robin game against China (Reuters)


David Murdoch admits his rink got lucky – but is determined to make it count after it appeared his Olympic curling campaign was over.

Murdoch and his Team GB crew of Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow and Scott Andrews lost 6-5 to China in their final round robin match in Sochi.

But Denmark's surprise defeat of Norway on the adjacent rink meant he lived to fight another day.

Murdoch will now play Norwegian rival Thomas Ulsrud in a fourth place tiebreaker to decide who joins Sweden, Canada and China in the semi-finals, which means a guaranteed match for a medal.

"It's bittersweet because we've wanted to get across that finish line for a while now and we've just not managed it," said Murdoch, whose side have now lost three straight games to finish the group stage with a won five, lost four record.

"The Chinese skip was on fire there and you've got to give him credit, he had a tremendous game. We're still in it and thankfully Denmark did us a favour."

Murdoch's rink lost 7-6 to Norway just 24 hours ago but he remains convinced they are there for the taking.

"We've got a good record against Norway, we usually enjoy playing those guys. We know what we're getting from them, we know what to exploit, though they know our game very well too," he added.

"We're not out, we're not downbeat, we're still in this. We've played some decent stuff but we are not really hitting top gear, we need to get a two shot lead to start cruising but that is just the standard of the teams we are against."

Eve Muirhead did her best to accentuate the positives despite a lapse in concentration making her path to Olympic curling gold a little trickier.

Muirhead and her world champion rink of Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton looked to be cruising to victory in their final round robin match with Denmark.

But they surrendered a three-point lead in the final end and then saw their rivals better them again in the extra time to win 8-7.

And that means Team GB will now play unbeaten Canada - whose skip Jennifer Jones is on red-hot form - rather than European champions Sweden in Wednesday's semi-finals.

"If you'd offered us a semi-final place ten days ago we would have grabbed it with both hands. Eve is pretty battle hardened, she can handle the big occasion," insisted team coach David Hay.

"If you want to win the gold medal you've got to beat Canada at some point, though perhaps a big game is coming earlier than she hoped for.

"We had a shot to beat them in the round robin and we didn't quite make it. We just need to bring our best game."

Muirhead insists her rink will rise to the occasion when it matters and has the resume to back up her fighting talk.

But Jones has hardly put a foot wrong in recent days and is the first women skip to go through the round robin stage at the Olympics unbeaten.

"We play Jennifer a lot on tour and it's always a close game against her. I know the whole of Britain is behind us and hopefully we can do them proud," said Muirhead, who narrowly lost to Jones in the round-robin stages but beat her 12-2 in their previous encounter at the Continental Cup in Las Vegas.

"It's my first Olympic semi-final and Jennifer has never been to an Olympic Games. There is a lot riding on it but we'll relax and enjoy it and try to not get too up tight. It doesn't matter who we play at this stage of the tournament.?

"I like playing under pressure, I'm a super competitive person and I like this stage and, at past tournaments, these are the matches when we've really stepped up our game.

"After our first couple of games I would have taken a semi-final slot, you can't complain about the semi-finals of the Olympics.

"We came out here to make the top four and we're super happy. We didn't finish the game against Denmark the way we would have liked but we'll move on."


Nicholas Buckland insisted he had nothing left to give as he and Penny Coomes met their pre-Games target of tenth in the ice dance at the Winter Olympics.

Ranked 11th after the short dance, Coomes and Buckland scored 91.78 for their Michael Jackson-inspired free dance for a combined total of 151.11.

That was enough to place them tenth – a massive improvement of ten places on what they achieved on their Winter Olympic debut in Vancouver in 2010.

And Buckland was satisfied to have given his all as their path to finishing in the top three at the next Winter Olympics in 2018 continues as they want it to.

"It is good to know that you have come off and have nothing left, you have given it all out there and that is what we wanted to do," said Buckland.

"No matter what the marks, the performance, whatever – we wanted to give everything we have had and we did that.

"I have loved it. I really enjoyed our first Games in Vancouver. It is such a crazy experience when you come to the Olympics.

"I didn’t think it would be the same but I got exactly the same feeling – I was perhaps more excited.

"I felt Vancouver came sooner than expected, so in our plan Sochi would have been in our first Games. But everything seems to be mapping out like we want it to."

Meanwhile, Coomes was so overcome with emotion after she and Buckland left the ice that she lost feeling in her legs.

"I gave it everything, the crowd really enjoyed it and they were with us and that really gave us a boost," she said.

"I gave it everything. I couldn't feel my legs when I got off. I couldn't feel my feet, I just wanted to take my skates off.

"It has happened a couple of times but this was particularly bad."

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