Winter Olympics - Britain face play-off after defeat

Eurosport - Wed, 24 Feb 02:07:00 2010

World champion David Murdoch will face Sweden's Niklas Edin in a play-off for a place in the semi-finals of the men's curling competition at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

GB v Norway - 0

The British skip needed a win against Thomas Ulsrud's Norway to guarantee a spot in Thursday's semi-finals.

But a disastrous seventh end saw Ulsrud steal three points and the British rink retired two ends later, losing 9-5, ensuring a winner-takes-all clash for the chance to meet Canada in the semi-finals.

"I am pretty disappointed to be honest," said Murdoch. It was a great opportunity for us and we didn't take it. We played some great ends there we just had some slack shots.

The score didn't reflect the game. We just have to bin that and come out again tomorrow.

"So tomorrow we play Sweden and we just have to see it as another game. At least we are not out of it that's the main thing. Hopefully we will win that game.

"If we win we would play Canada. We like playing them, it always brings the best out in us. It is not something we are scared of and if we played Kevin [Martin] it would be one almighty game."

Switzerland's 6-2 victory against France sees them move ahead of the British into third, leaving Murdoch joint fourth with Sweden's Niklas Edin who overcame Ulrik Schmidt's Denmark 7-6.

The two rinks will face each other at 14:00 local time on Wednesday with the winner due to face Canada in Thursday's semi-finals.

The Swedes had the upper hand when the two teams met each other in their opening match of the competition, winning 6-4.

It could have all been so different for Murdoch but the Norwegians, best known amongst British observers for their colourful trouser-wear than ability on the ice, were determined to make their mark despite having already qualified with round-robin leaders Canada.

The 38-year old skip Ulsrud was ice-cold with the hammer in the opening exchanges, capturing double scores in the first, third and fifth ends.

To their credit, the Brits were playing well themselves, manufacturing an impressive early three score in the second end and another in the fourth to trail 6-4 at the interval.

But after being held to a blank end in the sixth, Murdoch made an ambitious attempt for a three score with his final stone in the seventh.

It backfired as Ulsrud stole three instead and after winning just one more with the hammer in the eighth, the Brits threw in the towel.

Kevin Martin's Canada wrapped up overall round-robin stage victory, maintaining their 100 per cent record with a 10-3 defeat of China, who promoted Hongchen Li to the position of skip for their last two matches.

It was a remarkable achievement for the Canadians, who become the first rink to go undefeated through the round robin stage since the sport was re-introduced to the Olympic programme in 1998.

But they still have work to do, and if Murdoch is to progress to the semi-finals, he'll be desperate for revenge after a 7-6 defeat earlier in the tournament.

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport HD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.

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