Murdoch saves best for last to keep male curlers in hunt

Winter Olympics
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The Independent Online

Britain's men secured a vital win in the curling, beating Denmark 9-6 to give themselves two wins and two defeats from their opening four round-robin competition matches.

Skip David Murdoch made a telling contribution late on Thursday night on the eighth end with Denmark leading 4-3. He knocked two Danish stones out of the house with his penultimate stone to leave Britain scoring two. Danish fourth Johnny Frederiksen put his final stone in the house but Murdoch removed it with the hammer to give Britain a 6-4 lead. The Danes levelled on the ninth end by scoring two stones with their hammer but Murdoch's hammer clinched victory on the final end.

Earlier Murdoch, Ewan MacDonald, Peter Smith and Euan Byers had lost 4-3 against Switzerland.

Britain's women curlers stormed to a 10-3 win over Russia leaving them with two wins and a defeat from their opening three round-robin matches.

Britain hurried into a 5-0 lead despite the loss of Kelly Wood, who left the rink feeling unwell in the second end. Skip Eve Muirhead used the hammer to good effect in the fifth end taking out a Russian stone to leave Britain with two more points for a 7-2 lead.

Two more points followed in the sixth end and, although Russia pulled one back in the seventh, when Muirhead's hammer in the eighth end denied the Russians two points and added another to the British tally the game was conceded.

"We got off to a good start," Muirhead said. "We came out of the blocks sharp, five-up after two ends and from then on you're just hitting from home. We're on our way, we're rolling and working well as a unit of four."

Britain's best hope of gold in 20 years came late last night when Amy Williams went in the women's skeleton in Whistler. Williams set a stunning track record of 53.83sec on her first run and held her advantage on the second slide to take a 0.30sec lead over Germany's Kerstin Szymkowiak into the final two rounds, with home favourite Mellisa Hollingsworth third.

Williams got the penultimate round under way with a solid if unspectacular slide, but her cumulative time at that stage of 2min 41.64sec was still the best ever recorded here.