Scotland, Switzerland win Euro curling titles
Scotland's David Murdoch won his second straight European curling championship, while Switzerland's Mirjam Ott captured the women's title on Saturday in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.
Murdoch took the men's final in dramatic fashion. He executed a double takeout to send the game into an extra end, then watched as Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud's last shot narrowly missed its target, giving Scotland a wild 7-6 victory.
"We always had belief but that was a really hard first five ends," said Murdoch, 30. "From that point on it was really going to be a grind. We thought 'hang in there, hang in there' and we managed to give them some stingers at the end."
Norway started fast with last rock advantage, taking two points in the first and adding a steal in the second for a 3-0 lead, but couldn't hang on.
Still, Ulsrud, 37, looked to be in good shape in the final end until his first rock picked some debris and spun off line, giving the Scots the chance to force a draw on Ulsrud's last stone. They did, and the Norwegian skip couldn't deliver.
"My question for the Scots is how long are they going to keep curling," joked Ulsrud, who also lost to Murdoch in last year's final. "We need them to quit. I'm not going to get any closer than that to winning a Europeans without actually winning it, that's for sure."
Scotland, Norway and the other top eight teams in the Euro A-Division qualified for the 2009 world championships in Moncton, N.B., beginning April 4.
Ott won her first women's title since 1996 by upsetting reigning European and Olympic champion Anette Norberg of Sweden 5-4.
Norberg, a two-time world champion and seven-time European winner, had the home crowd behind her. But Ott, who defeated Norberg twice earlier in the tournament, had recent history on her side.
The Swiss skip jumped out in front 2-0 and held leads of 3-1 and 4-3 until the eighth end, when Sweden tied the score. After a cautious blank end, Norberg failed to draw behind a guard and Ott made a come-around takeout for the victory.
"I'm very happy," Ott said. "This is so cool. Hopefully it is just the beginning."