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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 20:34 GMT

Finns deepen GB gloom

Click here for men's draw seven results

For the second successive game, Britain's curling skip Hammy McMillan sat on the bench to watch his team-mates battle with, but eventually go down to, Finland, by 4-8.

The British men still have a theoretical chance of staying in the medal hunt, but must now win all four of their remaining round-robin games.

Even that may not be enough - they must hope that other results go their way too.

This was a tight game all the way, with the teams trading singles in the first two ends before British skip Warwick Smith blanked the third end to keep last-stone advantage.

But this tactic back-fired in the fourth end when Smith's last draw caught a front guard on its way into the house to give Finnish skip Markku Uusipaavalniemi a steal of one.

However, Smith made amends in the fifth end and, after good build-up play from his team, drew his last shot for two points and a 3-2 lead - the first time that the British men have led any game at the halfway mark.


The Finns were unable to build anything in the sixth end and were looking to keep last stone advantage, but a good hit and roll by Smith forced them to take a single.

Britain then blanked the seventh end and took the lead again in the eighth with a Smith nose-hit for one.

"We should have gone for it then. We had a team discussion then and thought we'd go for it, but they managed to blank the end and that was it"
Warwick Smith, GB skip

With the tension rising, Finland blanked the ninth, but when an attempted guard by third Norman Brown was too long, and Smith's final draw into the house could not find enough cover, the roof caved in for Britain.

Uusipaavalniemi had a straightforward hit and stay with his last shot, to score a massive five and win his fourth game of the week.

After the game, the British men were understandably shattered.

National coach Mike Hay, who had made the selection decisions, said, "that was rough justice. I feel very disappointed for them because they put an awful lot into that game".

Mountain to climb

New skip Warwick Smith conceded that the mistake that cost them the game came in the ninth end.

"We should have gone for it then. We had a team discussion then and thought we'd go for it, but he managed to blank the end and that was it.

"It's easier looking to score two in the tenth than to defend one.

"We were in total control until then - the only time you're not in control is when you're going down the tenth and you're one up.

"They just played the end a bit better than us."

This defeat really leaves the British men with a mountain to climb.

While they have one win and a game in hand, Canada top the table on five wins.

Germany, Norway and Finland have posted four wins, with Switzerland, Sweden and USA all on three.

  • Men's draw seven results:

    USA 8-3 France
    Norway 9-4 Denmark
    Finland 6-4 Great Britain
    Canada 9-7 Germany

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