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
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.