Wales’ victorious Men’s team at the European Curling Championships (C-Group). L-R: Rhys Phillips, Garry Coombs, Andrew Tanner, James Pougher, Adrian Meikle. Photo: Dara Gravara-Stojanovic
Wales’ men’s curling team secured promotion back to the B-Division of the European Curling Championships this week after they lost just one match in Denmark.
The team, assembled through the new national selection process in the Spring, were formally representing Wales for the first time at Tårnby Curling Club.
The team started on day one (Tuesday) with a convincing win over Serbia, then suffered their only defeat, 10-12 to Slovenia. On day 2 of the competition, a very tight match against Iceland ended in victory 8-2, and they followed that up with a more conclusive win, 10-2 over Belarus. On the third day came a close 7-9 victory over Ireland, which went down to the final end, and that evening they beat Luxembourg 7-1.
Day 4 began with a clash of the (C-Group) Titans. Both Wales and Romania had lost just one match ahead of their game on Friday morning – their last in the Round Robin stage. Romania and Wales kept pace with each other all through the game, and after 7 Ends they were level on 7-7. With 2 Ends remaining, Romania took 1 against Wales’ last-stone advantage and left Wales needing 2 for victory. End 9 was blanked, giving Wales the advantage going into the final End still 1 shot adrift. As the Skip Stones went down, and the house was set with Romania lying shot, a light knock, followed by a gentle draw, saw Adrian Meikle secure 2 points from the last End and with it a guaranteed place in the Gold Medal match.
Results elsewhere meant that the Gold Medal match was a replay of the final Round-Robin match, with Wales facing Romania once more on the same sheet of ice. The match started well for Wales, who held a 5-3 lead at the halfway (5 Ends) break. Romania eventually scored again in the 8th End but Wales were still 7-5 ahead, and after they took 1 in End 9 the teams shook and Wales won 8-5.
Victory means Wales were not only given the Gold medals for the C-Group competition, but are also promoted back into the B-Group. Romania were also promoted after beating Serbia in the Silver medal match. The teams will return to international competition at the B-Group, contested at the same time as the main European Curling Championship, held on 23-30 November in Norway.