Wales sit seventh after 4 matches

Five men in semi-profile wearing red and green outfits

Team Pougher.
Pictured (l-r): Simon Pougher (alternate), Garry Coombs (lead), Rhys Phillips (second), Jamie Fletcher (third/vice-skip), James Pougher (skip)

After four matches at the European Curling Championships 2015, Wales now lie seventh in the group table. It comes after a tough day of play on Sunday – they took two losses from their matches today against Poland and Denmark.

Poland entered a totally different team to the competition this year, after their previous team finished 6th in the 2014 Championships’ B-Division. The Wales team started well by stealing 1 in the first end, but that was the only time James Pougher’s team had a lead. By the 5th end Poland had opened up a 2-shot lead at 5-3, and Poland built on that in the second half of the match, shaking after the 9th end was completed with the score at Poland 8-5 Wales.

Denmark, who were relegated from the A-Division at last year’s competition, have entered a team which retains the core players of Rasmus Stjerne (skip), Troels Harry (lead) and Olivier Dupont (Alternate, previously Second) but introduces two new players as well. A recently-relegated team playing on home ice, they were always going to be tough to beat, and when the Danish managed to take a score of 4 in the first end, Wales were always likely to struggle. Wales didn’t simply capitulate; James Pougher’s team managed to score in the second end, but when Denmark took a 3 in the 5th end the score reached 9-1 and the match was effectively over. Tournament rules meant they had to play at least 6 ends, and Wales took one more shot, giving a final score of 9-2 to Denmark.

It leaves Wales with a lot of work to do in their remaining three group matches if they want to keep their hopes of a play-off place alive, although it is still possible. At the end of the Round Robin (Thursday) it is the teams ranked 1 and 2 in each group who go through, and second-ranked Slovenia have won only three of their first 4 matches so could still be caught by any of the teams below them.

Group A standings after 4 matches

# Team P W L
1 Denmark 4 4 0
2 Slovenia 4 3 1
3 Hungary 4 2 2
3 Lithuania 4 2 2
3 Poland 4 2 2
3 Turkey 4 2 2
7 Wales 4 1 3
8 Belgium 4 0 4

Wales’ next match (Monday, 3pm GMT) is against Belgium, a team who held onto their B-Division place last year – equalling Wales’ record of 4 wins and 3 losses – but have yet to win a single game at these Championships.

Sunday at the European Championships

Sunday is now looking like a crucial day for Wales, as they really need to get at least one win from the day to have a realistic chance of making it past the group stages of the competition. They face Poland at 12:00 Central European Time (11:00 GMT) and then Denmark at 20:00 CET (19:00 GMT).

Five men in red jackets, in semi-profile

Poland’s team for ECC 2015. Tomasz Ziolo (Skip, Third), Konrad Stych (Fourth), Bartosz Dzikowski (Vice Skip, Second), Michal Koziol (Lead), Jakub Glowania (Alternate) Photo: © World Curling Federation

Poland have entered a totally different team to the competition this year, after their previous team finished 6th in the 2014 Championships’ B-Division. Like Wales, the Poles go into this match having played 2 matches, won one and lost one. Poland’s last match was a very tight win over Belgium which went to an Extra End. Belgium have yet to win a match at the Championships this year, after meeting hosts Denmark in their opening game.

Denmark, who were relegated from the A-Division at last year’s competition, have entered a team which retains the core players of Rasmus Stjerne (skip), Troels Harry (lead) and Olivier Dupont (Alternate, previously Second) but introduces two new players as well. A recently-relegated team playing on home ice, they will be tough to beat.

Five men in red jackets, in semi-profile

Denmark’s ECC2015 men’s team. Pictured (l-r): Rasmus Stjerne (Skip), Johnny Frederiksen (Third, Vice Skip), Mikkel Adrup Poulsen (Second), Troels Harry (Lead) Oliver Dupont (Alternate). Photo: © World Curling Federation

Live scores are available via the official competition website. We will also post regular updates on both the Welsh Curling and Team Pougher Facebook and twitter feeds.