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Page last updated at 00:54 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Defeat by Denmark leaves British women all but out

Eve Muirhead

Denmark defeat GB women curlers

Britain's women lost 9-8 to Denmark, leaving their chances of reaching the semi-finals looking unlikely.

The result means Eve Muirhead's team have lost their last four matches to slip to five defeats and three wins.

They must now beat table-topping Canada in their final game at 1700 GMT on Tuesday and wait on other results.

Switzerland must lose their final two games against semi-final chasing Germany and bottom-of-the-table United States, while Japan are in contention.

It was a devastating defeat for Muirhead, who looked in control after a Danish mistake allowed them to score three in end two and she guided the team to a 5-4 lead at halfway.

But the 19-year-old made a couple of errors towards the end of the match and the Danes capitalised to win.

But she left her final stone short in end seven to allow Denmark a simple draw for three.


The Scot then missed a take out in end nine and the Danes opened a 9-7 lead.

And in the final end, Muirhead needed to take out four Danish counters with her final stone, but could only move three to score one.

There was a hint of controversy when a Dane kicked one of her own stones with her right foot and stopped it from sliding out of the scoring zone, but both skips and the umpire were happy for play to continue.

However, eagle-eyed BBC Sport viewers spotted the incident and sent numerous text messages at 0100 GMT to the BBC Sport team in Vancouver.

It's gut wrenching at the minute but that's curling for you

GB curler Jackie Lockhart

That stone then became crucial as it was the only Danish stone left after Muirhead cleared the others out and it stopped her from scoring the two she needed to send the match into an extra end.

The BBC Sport team studied replays before alerting the British Olympic Association and officials at curling's Vancouver Olympic Centre.

But the BOA later released a statement saying that the issue was dealt with at the time and deemed insignificant.

"There was an occurrence in the 10th and final end of the game where a Danish player inadvertently touched one of their own stones with her foot," read the statement.

GB women's skip Eve Muirhead

Muirhead sees defeat as learning curve

"As per the rules of the sport, the Danish player acknowledged that she had touched the stone to Jackie Lockhart, who was in charge of the head. Jackie agreed that there was no significant impact to Great Britain's position and decided to play on without any correction of the stone.

"The sport of curling is played with a high degree of respect and sportsmanship and the Great Britain women's team does not see this as an issue giving them any cause for concern with regards to the outcome of the game. Furthermore the rules of the sport do not allow for any review or appeal of such matters."

After the game, Muirhead shouldered the blame for the loss.

"I'm pretty gutted after that. I had a few missed shots which cost us - a few shots we didn't need to lose," she told BBC Sport.

"The rest of the team played well - there was lots of hard sweeping out there but it just didn't come off.

"We were so close on the last shot. A foot away from making a three for the win in the last end. One in a million your shot's going to come off.

"It's frustrating and it's going to be hard to put that behind us but it's going to have to be done and we'll move on."

Team-mate Jackie Lockhart added: "It is a team competition.

"Sometimes we rely on Eve pulling off the big shots, other times we play well and we have to stick with her.

"We win as a team and lose as a team. It's gut wrenching at the minute but that's curling for you."

Denmark's women curlers

Controversy in GB women's curling loss (UK users only)

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see also
GB men edge closer to semi-finals
23 Feb 10 |  Curling
Winter Olympics day 11 photos
22 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
D-Day for GB curlers at Olympics
22 Feb 10 |  Curling
Mixed day for Britain's curlers
20 Feb 10 |  Curling
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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