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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 22:32 GMT
British curlers miss out on final
David Murdoch and Ewan MacDonald
David Murdoch (left) and Ewan MacDonald show their dejection
Great Britain failed to reach the final of the men's curling when they lost 4-3 in their semi-final against Finland on the final stone of the final end.

After fighting back from 3-1 down after the sixth end, Britain claimed a vital steal on the ninth to level the match.

But Finland snatched victory to reach Friday's final against Canada, who beat USA 11-5 in the other semi-final.

Britain now hope to salvage a bronze medal when they face the Americans in Friday's third-place play-off.

It's a huge test of our team to get over the disappointment and make sure we come out firing
GB skip David Murdoch

"We are still going into an Olympic medal match and we have to make sure we are going home with a medal after all this because that is what we came here to do," said British skip David Murdoch.

"I think we have done everything possible and trained as hard as possible and the whole team has played with a lot of confidence and spirit.

"Playing in the final would have been the biggest thing ever and it is going to be a huge test of our team to get over the disappointment and make sure we come out firing."

It was bad luck on skip David Murdoch's side who were aiming to follow up Rhona Martin's brilliant gold medal with the women's team four years ago in Salt Lake City.

Finnish skip Markku Uusipaavalniemi looked to have taken a grip on the match when he took out a British score with the last stone of the sixth end.

It's heart-wrenching. You can't get closer than that. We lost by a matter of inches, but that's curling
David Murdoch

It put his side, who had come into the competition as underdogs, firmly in control at 3-1.

In the seventh end Murdoch pondered a dramatic double take-out, which would have scored three for his side.

But instead he opted for the safer option of a single score and narrowed the deficit to 3-2.

Britain then clawed their way back level after a penultimate end error by Uusipaavalniemi but it still left Finland going into the final end with the decisive stone.

And the 6ft 4in Uusipaavalniemi kept his cool to curl in the final stone for victory.

David Murdoch
David Murdoch now has his eyes fixed on the bronze medal

Murdoch said afterwards: "It's heart-wrenching. You can't get closer than that. We lost by a matter of inches, but that's curling."

The 27-year-old praised the Finnish skip's calmness for delivering the final stone into the middle of the house.

"It's one of the toughest shots in the book and especially in the 10th end with all the pressure but the big man delivered it," he said.

"Without a doubt this was the biggest game of our lives and we just missed out."

The USA hold a 3-0 record over Britain going into the bronze medal play-off.

But Murdoch insisted: "We will chill out on Thursday and then get ourselves ready for USA.

"We can still win an Olympic medal so we will come out fighting for the bronze."


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SEE ALSO
GB men's curlers into semi-finals
19 Feb 06 |  Winter Sports


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