Great Britain skip Eve Muirhead in action during their final round robin match against the Russian Olympic Committee as they dramatically sealed a semi-final place
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Great Britain dramatically seal their place in semi-finals of the Winter Olympics women’s curling by TEN CENTIMETRES as they beat the Russians and TWO other results go their way in tense finale

  • Great Britain made the semi-finals of the women’s curling after a tense finale
  • They needed to beat the ROC and hope that other results fell in their favour
  • Team GB completed a 9-4 win over the Russian but then faced an anxious wait
  • Switzerland had already beaten Japan and then Sweden overcame South Korea
  • That was enough to eliminate Canada and set up a GB vs Sweden play-off 
  • GB ultimately finish ahead of Japan and Canada on the Draw Shot ranking 

Great Britain made the semi-finals of the Winter Olympics women’s curling competition in nail-biting fashion after results came together perfectly in their favour.

The quartet led by Eve Muirhead defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 9-4 but then had to wait anxiously for Sweden to overcome South Korea 8-4 to make absolutely sure of their progression.

Team GB also needed Switzerland to beat Japan in Thursday’s final round robin fixtures – and both results went in their favour.

It took Britain through in third position along with Sweden, Switzerland and Japan, with Canada eliminated on the Draw Shot Challenge rankings by mere centimetres. 

Great Britain skip Eve Muirhead in action during their final round robin match against the Russian Olympic Committee as they dramatically sealed a semi-final place

Great Britain skip Eve Muirhead in action during their final round robin match against the Russian Olympic Committee as they dramatically sealed a semi-final place

Team GB coach David Murdoch congratulates the team on their 9-4 win over the ROC - but they still faced an anxious wait for the conclusion of the Sweden vs South Korea match

Team GB coach David Murdoch congratulates the team on their 9-4 win over the ROC – but they still faced an anxious wait for the conclusion of the Sweden vs South Korea match

Vicky Wright (centre) sends a stone down the rink during the dramatic finale to the group

Vicky Wright (centre) sends a stone down the rink during the dramatic finale to the group

Canada defeated Denmark 10-4 but that ultimately wasn’t enough. 

Before each match in the competition, each team delivers a single stone and the resulting distance from the centre of the target is measured. 

This Last Stone Draw (LSD) determines which team has the choice of delivering the first or second stone in the opening end of the match.

But an average of all these Last Stone Draw shots is taken in round robin competitions and, if teams finish with an identical record, this is used to decide who goes through.

With Great Britain, Japan and Canada all finishing with a record of five wins and four defeats from their nine matches, GB and Japan progressed to the semi-finals as a result of a better draw shot ranking by the finest of margins. 

Great Britain’s Draw Shot Challenge was 35.27cm on average from the centre mark, compared to Japan’s 36cm and Canada’s 45.44cm. 

So by a margin of just over 10cm from Canada, Britain sealed their place in the semi-finals. The margin of less than 1cm from Japan means they’ll meet Sweden rather than Switzerland on Friday. 

The final round robin standings showed just how mere centimetres split three teams

The final round robin standings showed just how mere centimetres split three teams 

The British team faced an anxious 20 minutes as they waited for Sweden's match to finish

The British team faced an anxious 20 minutes as they waited for Sweden’s match to finish

The Swedish team celebrate their win over South Korea and they will face GB in the last four

The Swedish team celebrate their win over South Korea and they will face GB in the last four

Great Britain will take on Sweden in their semi-final, while Switzerland face Japan. Both take place on Friday with a place in the gold medal match at stake.

Muirhead said on the BBC: ‘We had to win that game today and that’s what we went out there to do. We fought our hearts out, nothing was in our control apart from our own game and that’s what we did.

‘Of course we may have had one eye on the other games but to see we’ve managed to get a qualification spot by a centimetre in the draw shot, it shows all our great practice over the months, because it’s drilled into us how important that draw shot is and it’s just proven to us here that it really is.’ 

The players couldn't help but watch matches on other rinks during the dramatic finish

The players couldn’t help but watch matches on other rinks during the dramatic finish

Muirhead reached the last four in Pyeongchang four years ago but is aiming for her team, as well as the men, to go further this time out.

‘I was in this position in 2018 as well, in the semi-final, and I want to do one better,’ she added.

‘I’m very proud of this team, we have got a great chance out there, as a team we have played well all week.

‘I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow night and of course we will be supporting the boys tonight in their semi-final and let’s hope we can all do Great Britain proud.’

It came after Britain’s men’s curling team also booked their semi-final place, with the reigning champions USA lying in wait later on Thursday. 

Bruce Mouat’s side claimed a 5-2 win to end an impressive group stage with an 8-1 record – but next up they must meet the United States, the reigning champions and the only team to get the better of them so far. 

How the Draw Shot Challenge works in curling 

The Draw Shot Challenge (DSC) is used as a tie-breaker in the round robin format of curling competition when two or more teams finish with identical records.

Ahead of each match, the teams send down one clockwise and one counterclockwise stone with the aim of getting a close to the centre of the target [‘house’] as possible.

The distance from the centre of the target to the stone is then measured and an average of each one taken over the nine group matches played.

The two stones sent down the rink that finish furthest away are discounted from the average.

In the Olympic women’s competition, Japan, Great Britain and Canada all finished with an identical record of five wins and four defeats from their nine matches.

Britain’s average of 35.27cm away from the target ensured they finished third in the final standings ahead of Japan on 36cm and Canada on 45.44cm.

Canada were eliminated as a result, while Britain and Japan advanced to the semi-finals.

Team GB skip Eve Muirhead stressed the importance of getting the DSC right: ‘We’ve managed to get a qualification spot by a centimetre in the draw shot, it shows all our great practice over the months, because it’s drilled into us how important that draw shot is and it’s just proven to us here that it really is.’

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