Dominant Scotland claim men and women’s titles at 2021 European Curling Championships

Defending champions Niklas Edin and Anna Hasselborg of Sweden both came up short against Team Mouat and Team Muirhead at the Lillehammer Curling Club in Norway. 

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Scotland enjoyed a stunning Saturday at the 2021 European Curling Championships with Bruce Mouat and Eve Muirhead both striking gold in Lillehammer.

Mouat and his quartet of Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan Jr., stayed true to the form that saw them go undefeated all tournament, dismantling defending champions and Olympic silver medallists Sweden 8-5 in the men's gold medal match.

Niklas Edin, in his tenth European curling final, started off strongly forcing the Scots to one score in the first and third ends and matching them for deuce in the second.

However, in the fourth ends things began to dramatically unravel for the Swedes as Scotland ran away with two consecutive two-point steals, gifting them a 6-2 lead at the conclusion of the fifth end.

A two-point resurgence in the sixth end by Sweden looked like it might shift momentum, but a draw for two reply from Scotland returned their lead back to four: 8-4.

Whatever Edin tried to throw the Scots' way, Mouat and his men proved unshakeable and at the conclusion of the ninth end, with a score of 8-5, Scotland reclaimed their European crown from 2018.

"What a week we’ve had," Scotland's skip, who will represent Great Britain at Beijing 2022, said after the medal match. I'm just really proud of everyone who have put in all the work - [we're] going to enjoy this one."

Third European crown for Eve Muirhead

The women’s competition similarly pitted the defending champions against the tournament table-toppers and, like Mouat, Muirhead and her team of Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds and Hayley Duff were victorious.

The newly-formed team shook off a less than favourable start to deny the title holders and reigning Olympic champions a three-peat.

In the first end Anna Hasselborg's side was able to capitalise on a mistake by the skip to walk away with a single-point steal. Then, in the second, another error from Muirhead meant Scotland were forced to settle for just one point to level the score 1-1.

When the opportunity presented itself in the fourth to grab a steal and take the lead, Scotland didn’t miss, scoring two and taking the lead 3-1.

By the ninth end, the Scots were in charge with a healthy 5-2 advantage but a silky hit-and-stay on a Scottish stone at the back of the house opened the door for the defending champions to cut the deficit to 5-4.

In the tenth end, the Swedes hustled hard to try and build up while the Scots worked hard to clear. When Muirhead was eventually presented with chance to hit-and-stay to score two for Scotland and take the win, the 31-year-old didn’t miss, lifting her team to the European title, and her third gold medal.

“I’m super proud of everyone and absolutely delighted,” Muirhead said after the gold medal match. “It’s been a rollercoaster, but it’s shown that all the work we’ve done has worked.”

This year’s European championships were a first for team-members Duff and alternate Mili Smith, and their skip was all too ready to heap the praise on the debutants:

“For these girls this is really special, and I would like to think that hopefully they’re going to go on to do the same kind of things and even better things.”

“I want to dedicate this win to them. I’ve already got two under my belt but of course having a third if amazing.”

Next up for Scotland’s women will be the curling Olympic qualifiers taking place from December 5 to December 18 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

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