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GB girls showed real grit in last gasp win: Muirhead

By Matt McGeehan

Great Britain's women's curling team narrowly took victory in their third round-robin clash at the 2018 Winter Olympics, beating China 8-7 in Gangneung.

The GB team were 5-3 down after six ends but skip Eve Muirhead led her team to a revival, and clinched victory with the final stone of sudden-death.

Muirhead's rink had lost 7-4 to the United States earlier yesterday and won their opening game of the tournament against Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) 10-3 before securing triumph late last night.

The 27-year-old Scot, who helped the team win Olympic bronze in Sochi 2014, claimed that the victory was due to the mental strength they showed.

"It was really crucial we got a win having lost earlier," she said. "I think the team showed great character and great guts."

GB made a sluggish start, though, with the side lacking sharpness and by the conclusion of the fourth end, they had conceded three stones to trail 4-2.

The struggle continued through the next few ends as Muirhead's rink stared the prospect of a second straight defeat in the face, falling 5-3 behind.

But the team pulled it back going into the last few ends of the game before China levelled it up one more time at 7-7 after 10 ends.

And it was Muirhead who helped lead Britain to victory in a tense sudden-death.

This, Britain's second victory in three games at the Winter Olympics, puts them third in a 10-team group, from which the top four qualify.

Muirhead and co will now prepare to face Denmark and South Korea tomorrow.

GB's men also nicked a dramatic final-stone win, beating Japan 6-5.

Britain's men - led by Kyle Smith and also featuring his brother Cammy, Kyle Waddell and Thomas Muirhead, who is Eve's brother - are competing in their first Winter Olympics.

Although not considered among the favourites, they have been together for a long time and were a very successful youth outfit, winning bronze at the 2012 Junior World Championships, gold in 2013 and silver in 2014.

They beat Switzerland before losing to defending champions Canada on Wednesday.

GB led 3-1 after three ends - and 5-4 after eight - before holding their nerve in the final end.

They are third in the 10-team group, with six round-robin matches remaining. The top four qualify for the semi-finals.

"It's a brilliant feeling to get that last-gasp win," said Cammy Smith. "We were all trying to set it up for the hammer and we got it. It's something we try a lot in practice, so we're happy."

Meanwhile, British International Olympic Committee member Adam Pengilly has been sent home from Pyeongchang following an altercation with a security guard.

The IOC announced Pengilly's exit yesterday after the incident, reportedly outside a hotel.

An IOC spokesperson said: "The IOC wish to apologise for the behaviour of one of their members, and feel extremely sorry for the incident.

"Following an interview with the IOC Ethics and Compliance officer he will leave the Olympic Games and South Korea.

"Mr Pengilly has expressed his apologies to the security man. His mandate as an IOC member will expire on February 25."

Belfast Telegraph


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