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Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 06:04 GMT

British men's curling dream ends

Click here for men's draw eight results

By BBC Sport Online's Mike Haggerty

The Olympic medal dream for Hammy McMillan and his men's curling team finally came to an end when they went down by 5-6 to Denmark for their fifth loss out of six games on the Ice Sheet at Ogden.

Until this point, the British curlers held on to a slender hope that they might yet qualify for the semi-finals.

It depended on what happened elsewhere in the remainder of the round-robin programme - but victory in each of their own games was crucial to their plans.

Danish skip Ulrik Schmidt put paid to all of that with a final stone draw for his win.

"We feel gutted"
Warwick Smith
British men's team

The British team had been dogged by poor form throughout the week, which saw McMillan sit out two games.

For the Danish game, national coach Mike Hay re-shuffled the pack again, bringing McMillan back onto the ice, but playing at three instead of alternate Norman Brown, while normal third player Warwick Smith stayed as skip.

As had been the case in their previous game against Finland, the British quartet dominated the first half of the game.

They scored a two in the opening end and then singles in each of the third and fifth ends for a half-time 4-2 lead.

Denmark could not find a way through resolute British play as they blanked the next three ends, but they got their break-through in the eighth scoring three shots with a spectacular triple take-out that was clearly the shot of the game.

The British team levelled again with a single shot in the ninth, but, without final stone, were always going to be vulnerable.

Sure enough, after building up the head to lie two shots, they had to endure the agony of watching Schmidt's last stone roll onto the four foot ring for victory.

All for nothing

This defeat now makes the reminder of Britain's round-robin programme - against France and USA - academic.

Afterwards, skip Smith said, " We had a great start and were in total control and then got into a bit of a mess in the eighth. He made a great shot".

Reflecting more generally, he admitted, "We feel gutted. You train for four years to get to this weekend and it's the end of the Olympic dream. So that's it - it's finished".

"We can't buy a win this week" said national coach Mike Hay, "but you can't keep making excuses.

"We didn't play well enough at the beginning of the week. But the girls are doing well and we'll just have to focus on them now".

  • men's draw eight results:

    Canada 7-2 Switzerland
    Sweden 9-6 France
    Denmark 6-5 Britain
    Norway 6-5 Finland

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