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2018 European Curling Championships
Here we are again with a monster playing schedule from 16 to 24 November in Tallinn, Estonia. There are a total of 20 Women’s and 26 Men’s teams taking part in both the A and B Championships.

The 10 A-Division Women’s teams are Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland, with a further 10 Women’s teams - England, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey in the B Division.
Scotland are the defending champions and are again skipped by Eve Muirhead, with a new combination of Jennifer Dodds, Victoria Chalmers and Lauren Gray. England are represented by skip Lisa Farnell, Sara Jahodova, Victoria Kyle and Niamh Fenton, who all played last year, finishing in an excellent 5th place.

The 10 A-Division Men’s teams are Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland. The 16 B-Division Men’s teams are Group A - Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey and Group B - Austria, Belarus, Denmark, England, Israel, Lithuania, Slovenia and Wales.
Scotland's team is Bruce Mouat (Skip), Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan, while Andrew Reed (Skip), Michael Opel, Jamie Malton and Tom Jaeggi are playing for England and Adrian Meikle (Skip), Rhys Phillips, Gary Coombs and Simon Pougher will represent Wales.

More information to come over the next couple of days.
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The round robin games will finish on Thursday 22 November. The men’s semi-finals will take place in the evening of Thursday 22 November, while the women’s semi-finals will be on the afternoon of Friday 23 November. The bronze medals will be contested on Friday 23 November in the evening, and the finals will be staged on Saturday 24 November.

Not only are Sweden the defending Mens' champions, they have won the last 4 Championships with Niklas Edin as skip. Edin has won the event as skip a total of 6 times (one more than Scotland's Hammy McMillan, whose son is in this year's Scottish team) and the Swedish third player, Oskar Eriksson, has featured in the same 6 successes. For the Women, Eve Muirhead has won this event twice before.

A Division Games on Saturday
Women - Denmark v Scotland.
Men - Scotland v Norway, Scotland v Germany.

A Division Games on Sunday
Women - Scotland v Sweden, Scotland v Czech Republic.
Men - Russia v Scotland.

B Division Games on Saturday
Women - Estonia v England.
Men - Slovenia v Wales, Austria v England, Denmark v Wales.

B Division Games on Sunday
Women - Poland v England, England v Turkey.
Men - England v Lithuania, England v Wales.
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Scotland's Men opened their account with a top performance and a last stone draw to win 8-7 against Norway and later beat Germany by 8-3 with a less emphatic performance but a more comfortable game. Their Women also won their first game, beating Switzerland by 7 shots to 4, the Swiss running out of stones in the last end.

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SCOTLAND - Ross Whyte(alternate), Hammy McMillan, Bobby Lammie, Grant Hardie and Bruce Mouat
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SCOTLAND - Vicky Wright (alternate), Lauren Gray, Victoria Chalmers (formerly Vicki Adams), Jennifer Dodds and Eve Muirhead

In the B Division Games, England's Men lost 6-7 against Austria, losing 3 shots in the last end, but Wales started off with a win over Slovenia by 9-6. The Welsh team then overcame Denmark 9-7 after an extra end.

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ENGLAND - Gary Tapp (alternate), Tom Jaeggi, Jamie Malton, Michael Opel and Andrew Reed
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WALES - Simon Pougher, Gary Coombs, Rhys Phillips and Adrian Meikle

For the Women, England came off with a good win over Estonia by 6-3 in a tight game.
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ENGLAND - Niamh Fenton, Victoria Kyle, Sara Jahodova and Lisa Farnell
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Just watched some of the ladies match Scotland v Sweden. Well beaten 10-4 in the end. Sad
Glad I missed it, Snooty, thanks to my granddaughter. The Scottish teams' attitude obviously harks back to the golden days of not doing work on the Sabbath because it's a day of rest. One of the shots the women managed to score was when Eve Muirhead drew the shot with her last stone against a count of 4, so it might have been even worse. If Eve kept the score down against Sweden, she had a poor game against Czech Republic and lost 7-8 at the last end. The others played better this time, but never quite at the standard required.

The Men fared no better in a tight game of catch-up. In the last end the Russians kept clearing out Scottish stones to limit them to 1 shot, the Scots losing 7-8.

England's Women lost a very tense game by 3-4 to Poland in the morning and later lost 6-9 against Turkey in another tight game. Their Men's team beat Lithuania 10-7 despite losing 5 shots in the 6th end and consolidated their strong position by winning 6-5 against Wales tonight.

A Division Games on Monday
Women - Scotland v Italy, Latvia v Scotland.
Men - Switzerland v Scotland, Scotland v Poland.

A Division Games on Tuesday
Women - Finland v Scotland.
Men - Netherlands v Scotland, Scotland v Italy.

B Division Games on Monday
Women - England v Spain, Slovenia v England.
Men - Wales v Israel, Belarus v England.

B Division Games on Tuesday
Women - Norway v England.
Men - Wales v Lithuania, Slovenia v England.
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Scotland Women continued to struggle today, opening with a hard-fought 9-7 win over Italy, who are yet to win a game. The Italians were in the hunt all the way and actually led with 3 ends to go. The Scots then had an horrific start, losing 5 shots in the first end to Latvia, and although they came back into it late on always had too much to do and eventually lost 7-9. Amazingly, Scotland are still in the hunt, being only one win behind Russia and Sweden who are joint 3rd. On current form, they only have a slim chance.

Scotland Men continued on their merry way, stifling Switzerland 8-4 in the morning game and demolishing Poland by 11-2 thanks to scoring 6 shots in the 6th end, prompting a concession by the Poles. The Scots lie equal 2nd along with Italy on 4 wins, with Sweden top on 5 wins.

England's Women defeated Spain 8-5 this morning and followed this with a 6-3 win over Slovenia, despite being 2-3 down after 6 ends. These wins put them right in the hunt for a qualification place as they lie in 3rd equal place with 3 wins and 2 defeats, alongside Hungary and Lithuania and behind Norway and Turkey.

In the Men's competition, England are at the top of the table following their 12-5 win over Belarus, emphatically decided with 5 shots in the 9th and final end. They have 3 wins after 4 games and are closely followed by 6 other teams on 2 wins, including Wales, who narrowly lost 7-8 to Israel this afternoon.
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Scotland's Women are just about hanging on to a qualification place, following a convincing win against Finland by 10-5, which keeps them in 4th equal along with Russia on 3 wins and 3 defeats. Switzerland lead with 6 wins, Germany are 2nd with 5 wins and Sweden are 3rd with 4 wins.

The Scottish Men continued their fine form with wins against Netherlands by 8-5, scoring in 3 consecutive ends near the finish and running the Dutch out of stones in the last end, and then sneaking past Italy 7-6 after an extra end. Sweden lead the rankings with 7 wins from 7 games and Scotland sit in 2nd with 6 wins, both teams guaranteed qualification. Italy are 3rd with 5 wins with Germany, Norway and Switzerland having 4 wins and all have a great chance of qualifying.

A Division Games on Wednesday
Women - Germany v Scotland, Scotland v Russia.
Men - Sweden v Scotland.
On Thursday, the Women's final game is against Switzerland, meaning they still have to play 3 of the top 4 teams. The Men play Finland in their final game for a more comfortable finish.

The English Women had an excellent 7-5 victory over Norway after leading all the way, keeping them in 3rd place behind Norway and Turkey with 3 games still to play. England's Mens' team had a dominant 10-4 win against Slovenia to stay at the top of their Group with 2 games to go. They might have done enough already, but 1 win should see them safely through to the next stage. Wales suffered a 4-7 defeat by Lithuania, probably ending their hopes of progression.

B Division Games on Wednesday
Women - England v Slovakia, England v Hungary.
Men - England v Israel, Wales v Belarus.

B Division Games on Thursday
Women - Lithuania v England.
Men - Austria v Wales, Denmark v England.
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At last the Scottish Women came out with all guns blazing to overcome Germany 9-2 after only 8 ends, to give them a chance to redeem themselves. The team got an excellent overall 95% score in that game, but they fell away again in the next game with a percentage score of 78%, losing 7-8 against Russia in a very competitive game. They are just outside the qualification places and must defeat unbeaten Switzerland tomorrow and hope that Sweden beat Germany. Switzerland, Sweden and Russia are the 3 certain qualifiers.

The Scottish Mens' team had an exciting game against unbeaten Sweden, losing 8-9 after a loss of 3 shots in the last end. Despite this the Scots have qualified for the last four along with Sweden and Italy with one session still to play. The other qualifier will be Germany, Norway or Switzerland.

The England Womens' team are giving a great account of themselves, continuing their push for qualification with a 6-2 win over Slovakia. Unfortunately for them they had one bad end against Hungary, losing a 3 in the 7th end, to lose 4-5 this evening. They still sit in 3rd place tied with Estonia, both behind Norway and Turkey who have already qualified and they will also qualify with a win tomorrow. A loss and it's all in the lap of the gods depending on other results.

England's Men got off to a terrible start in their game against Israel, losing 7 shots in the first 2 ends, and eventually losing 8-10 despite a valiant fightback to be only 1 down coming into the last end. They are holding on to first position with 4 wins, albeit joined by Belarus and Denmark.
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Scotland's Women were beaten 5-6 in an extra end decider by Switzerland to finish 5th in the tournament. Scotland were in trouble right from the start of the extra end and, to me anyway, chose to draw for the game instead of the easier double-takeout with last stone. Frustratingly, they lost 3 games by 1 shot and with only 1 extra win would have qualified for the Semi-finals. Equally frustrating was the fact that, statistically, Scotland was easily the 4th best team, but statistics don't win games and consistent inconsistency was the big problem.

Tomorrow's Semi-finals will be Germany v Switzerland and Sweden v Russia followed by the Bronze Medal Games for both Women and Men. Finland and Italy are relegated to the B Division.

Scotland's Men moved smoothly into the last four by winning 10-4 against Finland. The Scots finished second to Sweden and, although both were beaten, Italy and Germany joined them. Tonight's Semi-finals will be Sweden v Germany and Scotland v Italy, while Finland and Poland are the relegated teams.

The Semi-finals finished Sweden 6 Germany 3 and Italy 6 Scotland 9. Sweden controlled their game all the way through, but Scotland had to battle hard to hold off the Italians and claimed victory with 3 shots with the last stone in an extra end. Germany and Italy will contest the Bronze Medal tomorrow, with the Gold Medal Game between Sweden and Scotland on Saturday.

In the B Division, England's Women were beaten 4-5 by Lithuania after an extra end to finish in 6th place with the same number of wins as Lithuania and Hungary. The Semi-finals are Lithuania v Norway and Estonia v Turkey which will be played tomorrow morning. The relgated teams going down to the C Division are Slovakia and Slovenia.

The England Mens' team finished on a high, beating Denmark 8-2 in a comfortable win and thereby going straight into the Semi-finals played tomorrow. Czech Republic are the other definite Semi-finalists with tomorrow morning's qualifying games for the remaining Semi-final places featuring Estonia v Denmark and Latvia v Belarus. There are Play-off Games for the relegation places and will include Wales v Turkey, the Welsh finishing in that position courtesy of an extra end defeat to Austria by 6-7.
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In the Womens' A Division Semi-finals, Switzerland continued their unbeaten run, beating Germany 6-4, and Sweden beat Russia 7-4 mainly due to scoring 4 shots in the 2nd end. Germany won the Bronze Medal with a 7-4 win over Russia with a composed final 3 ends.

The Mens' Bronze Medal match went right down to the wire with Italy drawing the shot with last stone against Germany 8-6 with the Germans lying 2 shots for the game.

For the B Division teams there are still a lot of places to be decided and these started with the Mens' qualification games, where Denmark beat Estonia 8-7 and Latvia beat Belarus 7-5. Denmark later beat Czech Republic 8-6 after an extra end and England beat Latvia 9-6 with a strong finish. Czech Republic and Latvia will compete for the Bronze Medal tonight and England will play Denmark for the Gold Medal at the same time.

Czech Republic dominated Latvia after scoring 6 shots in the first end and ran out easy winners by 13-6 with 2 ends to play in the Bronze Medal game. Denmark beat England 10-4 for the Gold Medal in a tense game. England's task was made doubly difficult after they lost 4 shots in the 7th end when only 2 shots down, but they are to be congratulated on a successful tournament winning the Silver Medal.

The relegation games produced some amazing scorelines, with Wales winning their play-off game 12-10 against Turkey. Wales were 5-7 down with 3 ends to play, scored 3 shots to take the lead, lost 3 shots and the lead in the 9th end and came straight back with 4 shots in the 10th end to win. In the other game France beat Slovenia to qualify for the last relegation play-off game against Turkey. However Turkey manged to come out on top 7-5 in that game to relegate France to the C Division along with Slovenia.

In the Womens' Semi-finals Norway beat Lithuania 10-8 and Estonia beat Turkey 7-3 to decide the Medal Games line-up. Norway play Estonia for the Gold Medal with Lithuania playing Turkey in the Bronze Medal game in the same session as the Mens' games. In those games Turkey beat Lithuania to win the Bronze Medal, with Norway securing the Gold Medal in a 7-6 win over Estonia, who win the Silver Medal.
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