McMillan falls on broom as slide is reversed

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The Independent Online

The British men's curling team, facing an early Olympic exit after three straight defeats, halted the slide yesterday after their illustrious skip, Hammy McMillan, had taken the unusual course of stepping down.

McMillan's decision to fall on his broom after a disappointing run of form had the desired effect as Britain – with Warwick Smith promoted to skip and Norman Brown, who competed at the last Olympics, coming into the team – earned a 7-6 win over the previously unbeaten German side.

However, the British men still have to win all five of their remaining round-robin games if they are to reach the semi-finals. Unless they overcome Finland and Denmark today, the group of wives and other British supporters due into Salt Lake City tonight face an anti-climactic prospect.

After the disappointment of missing the last Olympics – his team won 41 matches but then lost their qualifying match at the Scottish Championships – McMillan had high hopes of success here. But mistakes at crucial times have tipped tight matches against his team.

"I was the one that was playing poorly so I made the decision to step aside," McMillan said. "The team manager, Mike Hay, had the ultimate decision but it wasn't a problem because in the run-up to the Olympics we've practised in a number of different make ups."

Selection of the British team will be made on a match-by-match basis according to officials, but the team manager Huw Chalmers hinted that McMillan, who has won one world and five European titles with the quartet which began this Olympic competition, would remain as an observer on the sidelines.

Britain's women extended their record to 3-1 by beating Russia 8-5.

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