Muirhead keeps head to record second win of Olympic campaign

Muirhead keeps head to record second win of Olympic campaign
By Sportsbeat

15/02/2018 at 16:50

Eve Muirhead maintained a cool head under pressure to restore some momentum to her Olympic campaign.

Muirhead lost out on the final stone of her match with Nina Roth's American rink but rebounded to beat China's Betty Wang with the last delivery on the extra end.

Nothing beats curling at the Olympics for incremental drama and yesterday's matches certainly gave a glimpse of what is to come, even if - in truth - they lacked top quality.

Muirhead's rink - Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray and Anna Sloan - have lost just one of their first three games and will enjoy a rest day today to reset their focus.

"If you'd said at the start of the week I'd have won two and lost one after three games then I would have taken that," said Muirhead.

"It takes a bit of time to get used to the conditions and it's tricky out there. We've adapted quickly and it showed during the end result.

"It came down to a last stone against the USA and we lost out - but that's the job of a skip to nail those crucial shots."

"The girls played great and we showed a lot of guts and determination. Our heads could have gone down after the USA game but we stayed positive.

"Experience helps and we are the two most experienced teams here - Betty got the bronze in Vancouver and we got it the Games after."

Muirhead's rink plays Denmark and Korea tomorrow, the latter causing the biggest upset of the tournament so far with a win over world champions Canada played in front of a crowd that brought new meaning to the ‘roaring game'.

"The Korean team is really strong and we've not beaten them yet," added Muirhead.

"I love the atmosphere out there, sometimes you can't hear yourselves think. I can't wait to play Korea."

Four-time world champion Glenn Howard is a typical Canadian, unfailingly polite and overwhelmingly positive.

He has gelled quickly with Muirhead since they began their partnership and has been impressed by the rinks resilience. He has also started the use new words picked up from the team - the current favourite is ‘dodgy'.

"I was really proud of the girls, they weren't at their best for five or six ends and it was a little scrappy," he admitted after the China match.

"They hung in there and then played brilliantly at the end and that shows the sign of a good team. We still missed a few shots that we should have made.

"This team doesn't get upset, they've got each others backs. They didn't have a great game against the USA but they turned it around and it is a sign of things to come."

Meanwhile, Thomas Muirhead insists he's not on a revenge mission ahead of a crunch Olympic clash with Sweden.

Kyle Smith's rink kept their nerve to secure a 6-5 final stone victory over Japan yesterday, meaning a narrow loss to defending champions Canada remains their only defeat.

But next up us Niklas Edin's unbeaten Swedish, who swatted aside Denmark and hosts Korea in their opening two matches in PyeongChang.

And that's a rematch of the recent European Championship final in St Gallen, in which Smith's rink was well beaten 10-5.

"That loss will spur us on and we'd like a bit of revenge but it's not a special game because of what happened at the Europeans, it's just another game," said Muirhead. "We've beaten them before and if we put it together then we won't be far away again."

Muirhead insists the rink are also starting to find their rhythm but admitted some harsh words were exchanged following the defeat to Canada.

"The Canada defeat was a bit of a wake up call and we aren't going to get away with that performance," he added.

"We had to improve and we definitely did against Japan. We felt a lot more in control out there.

"It was a good game and we played well from start to finish. We learned a lot from the first two games about the ice conditions and that was a good team performance.

"Our job was to give Kyle the best opportunity with the last stone and he did the business."

Coach Viktor Kjell also claimed he was never worried about Smith's nerves as he trundled down the final delivery.

He said: "We were in good control and that's our best game yet. I wasn't nervous for that last stone, I know how good Kyle is and how good his sweepers are."

Sportsbeat 2018