David Murdoch and his British team-mates were forced to settle for Olympic
silver in the Ice Cube Curling Centre after suffering a meltdown in their
final against Canada on Friday.
The confidence and dexterity of their two previous victories in Sochi was
replaced by a string of nervy errors as the GB quartet slumped to a
humiliating 9-3 defeat against the world’s No 1-ranked team.
The match was so one-sided that it did not even go the 10-end distance as
Murdoch and his colleagues shook hands with their opponents after the eighth
end to avoid further punishment. It was not meant to end like this.
Murdoch, who seemed unable to control either the speed or direction of his
throws, was unrecognisable from the man who delivered a wonder shot to
dispatch Norway in the tiebreak and who kept his nerve so valiantly against
world champions Sweden in his semi-final.
Britain suffered a stuttering start when Canada scored a two with final-stone
advantage in the very first end, though it could have been much worse for
the British quartet had it not been for a triple take-out by Murdoch with
his last stone to prevent a potential three or four.
An opportunity to get back on level terms was also spurned in the next end
when Murdoch had a chance to remove a Canadian stone and take a two. His own
stone deflected too far on impact, leaving Britain with just a single.
But it was in third end that the damage was really done as a series of British
mistakes, first from British third Greg Drummond and then from Murdoch,
handed the Canadians a three and a yawning 5-1 advantage in the match.
Drummond looked aghast when his attempt to clear out a cluster of Canadian
stones at the centre of the house succeeded only in removing two British
He retrieved the situation somewhat with his next throw, ejecting a couple of
Canadian stones, but when Murdoch stepped up for his final stone he needed
to nail a difficult double takeout to prevent Canada scoring a three.
Unfortunately for British hopes, his accuracy failed him as he clipped one
his own stones.
As the Canadians celebrated, the four British curlers huddled together for an
impromptu crisis meeting. The match was already slipping out of their
By now, the mistakes from Murdoch were coming thick and fast. In the fourth
end, he missed a simple to knock out a Canadian stone to claim a two and,
instead, turned it into a one-point steal for Canada.
And in the fifth, with last-stone advantage, he very nearly conceded another
steal when he played his draw to the button with far too much weight.
Mercifully, there was a British stone at the back of the house that halted
its progress to at least give him a single.
A double for the Canadians in the next end, making it 8-2, meant the match was
effectively over as a contest.
Even the crowd inside the Ice Cube seemed disengaged, sitting in stony silence
as Murdoch erred again in the seventh end when he played an attempted
takeout with too much weight and turned a possible double into a single as
his own stone was swept out of the house by the Canadians.
When the Canadians added a single in the eighth end, Murdoch and his
colleagues could take no more, conceding the match rather than postponing
It was a tame way for Britain to end an Olympic campaign after their sparkling
play in earlier matches but there was no point in prolonging the pain.
They will return home from Sochi with Olympic silver medals but also burning
regrets at falling so short on the biggest stage.
See more here: