Winter Olympics 2014: Team GB women curlers must focus on bronze after losing semi-final to Canada
Eve Muirhead's rink lost 6-4 to the unbeaten Canadians
Wednesday 19 February 2014
Great Britain's women's curling team will have to settle for Winter Olympic bronze at best after losing 6-4 to Canada in an anti-climactic semi-final in Sochi.
Jennifer Jones' unbeaten rink proved just too strong for GB, who were never in the lead at any time in the Ice Cube Curling Center.
Great Britain's women had not reached this stage of an Olympic competition since 2002, when Rhona Martin's team beat Switzerland with the last stone of the game to take gold, so it was all set up for a glory day for Team GB.
However, skip Eve Muirhead got off to a bad start when she missed a take-out after her stone appeared to pick up some debris on the ice, leaving the Canadians two ahead.
Perhaps more significantly, Jones stole one more in the next end to put GB under pressure.
Britain pulled two back and trailed 4-3 at the halfway point but again Canada restored their two-point lead in the sixth end.
There was always a feeling that Jones was in control of the game and that it would take something remarkable by Muirhead to swing the semi back in favour of GB.
She blanked the seventh end in order to retain the hammer and go for two in the next end.
Canada's Skip Jennifer Jones celebrates after throwing the last stone to win the game against Team GB
A misjudged shot by Canada's Jill Officer in the eighth allowed GB an opportunity to restore parity at least but Jones rescued the situation with a great penultimate double take-out shot, leaving Muirhead with little option but to blank the end again and keep their opponents' two-point lead intact.
The sense of British desperation had risen by the start of the ninth end and they could only take one to go into the final end 4-5 down.
And with Jones having the last shot, it was asking a lot for GB to level and, indeed, the Canadian skip slid the last stone in to secure a deserved place in the final.
Team GB's men's skip David Murdoch, and his all-Scottish rink, are up against Sweden in their semi-final at 3pm GMT.
Team GB have so far won two medals in Sochi, one shy of the lower target set by UK Athletics.
If the men win today it will ensure Britain would at least match their medals haul from Garmisch 1936, when a gold, silver and bronze were won.
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