Wales finish 11th at European Mixed
report by Andrew Tanner
A great week, but frustrating in the end as Wales just missed out on a quarter final place. Wales had some great wins over Russia, Norway, Sweden, Spain & Romania and had a close game against Scotland. A loss against the Netherlands meant Wales needed a win in the final game against Austria. Wales had a close game but lost in the end and then had to watch the final group games where a Swedish win over the Netherlands would still have meant Wales qualified for the next stages. However, the Netherlands held their nerve and won on the last stone which meant Wales were out. A strong Swiss team went undefeated over the competition and won the title, Germany got Silver and Czech Republic bronze. Wales were ranked 11 overall.
A great week, but frustrating in the end as the Welsh Mixed Team (Adrian Meikle, Lindsay McKenna, Andrew Tanner, Lesley Carol, Heather Russell) just missed out on a quarter final place. Beautiful sunshine greeted the arrival of Adrian Meikle’s Welsh Mixed team in Copenhagen bringing back happy memories of the gold medal campaign in Madrid 2007. After the opening ceremony, the first round robin game against Norway was a tight affair against Norway. Going to an extra end Wales took the game 8-7. 1 win – 0 losses.
Round 2 was against an experienced Netherlands team. Some great shots by the Dutch skip Mark Neeleman put some daylight between the teams and , although a strong comeback in the last few ends, Wales couldn’t get back in the game and it went down to their first defeat. 1 win – 1 loss.
Defending champions Scotland waited in Round 3. A confident Welsh performance kept the game close but eventually a strong Scottish team ran Wales out of stones in the last end and Wales lost 5-3. 1 win – 2 losses.
Round 4 was a clash with a young Russian team skipped by Alexander Kirikov. Wales need the win to keep any hope of qualifying for the Quarter Finals. A great team performance from Wales and two fantastic doubles from Lindsay Mckenna in her last game of the campaign capped a strong win over the Russians by 6-4. 2 wins – 2 losses.
Round 5 introduced Heather Russell to the campaign with Lesley Carol moving to third. A bit of luck meant that Wales played Spain on a new sheet of ice (just built) and were allowed 30 mins of practice. The new team clicked into place with a steady win over Spain (8-6). 3 wins – 2 losses.
The challenge of Sweden lay ahead in Round 6. A strong start from the Swedish team gave Adrian Meikle a nerve shredding challenge to draw to the 4 foot against 3 Swedish stones in the first end! Adrian was up to the task and Wales battled to stay in the game down 4-3 at half time. A rousing team talk and better play from the Welsh team produced some great curling and Wales had a early finish with a 9-4 win. 4 wins – 2 losses.
The new Romanian team was up for Round 7. Having played in the C league and practiced in Hungary before the tournament they weren’t the novices that might have been expected. Some good play from both teams meant the scores were close and a great end from Wales including a big hit and roll for the last stone gave Wales a game winning 5. Eventual result was 9-4. 5 wins – 2 losses.
Now at the business end of the week, there were two rounds left but Wales had a bye in the last round. The goal to reach the quarter finals was still achievable and in Wales hands with a win over Austria. A close game throughout saw Austria take a decisive lead in the 7th end and they went on to win 6-3. 5 wins – 3 losses.
All hope was not lost yet! In the final group games a win for Sweden over Netherlands would still mean Wales qualified for the Quarter Final draw shot challenge. However a close game was won by a double in the last end by the Netherlands. A strong Swiss team went undefeated over the competition and won the title, Germany got Silver and Czech Republic bronze.
Wales were ranked 11 overall. Thanks to the organizers for a great tournament.