sport

GB men take curling silver

Great Britain's curling men had to settle for silver after a 9-3 thrashing by Canada in their Winter Olympics final in Sochi.

David Murdoch's all-Scottish rink were looking to become the first men's curling team from GB to win gold for 90 years.

However, as it transpired, they took a heavy beating until calling it a day when defeat was inevitable with only eight of 10 ends completed.

Second place confirmed that Great Britain, with a fourth medal of the Games, have at least matched their medal haul from Chamonix 1924 and it was their second curling medal in Sochi after Eve Muirhead's women's team took bronze on Thursday.

For Murdoch, 35, it is third time lucky after failing to win a medal in Turin, 2006, and Vancouver, 2010.

But he will surely have mixed feelings after a torturous day in the Ice Cube Curling Center where it was reported that Scottish fans were told to take down the Saltire flag by a Sochi official as it is not allowed under International Olympic Committee rules.

Michael Goodfellow's first throw of the match was right on the button but it went downhill fast after that as GB conceded two in the first end to put them immediately under pressure.

Murdoch could only reduce the deficit by one in the next end when he had hammer - the final throw of the end which is often crucial - as his final stone was just a little too heavy in delivery.

In a fraught third end, Greg Drummond rescued a poor first throw with his second effort but the Canadian curlers, looking more like a team of body builders and throwing aggressively at times, added another three to the scoreline to turn the screw just that little bit more.

Murdoch was finding it tough and his first shot in the fourth end cleared the house and his last was also below-par which gave Canada a steal of one to make it 6-1 and although GB pulled a point back in the fifth, the gold medal was way out of reach by then.

The Canadians were relentless, making it 8-2 with hammer in the sixth as skip Brad Jacobs slid his final stone towards the unguarded button and Murdoch compounded a miserable performance in the next end, when again, an overly-heavy shot turned a probable two into a one.

When Canada stretched their lead by one in the ninth it was enough for Murdoch, who signalled that the game was over.

"We just never got off to a good start," Murdoch told the BBC.

"We were struggling after three, and when you go 5-1 down to a team of that calibre it's extremely difficult to come back.

"I'm disappointed now but a silver medal is scarily cool. I think I'll appreciate it in about 10 minutes."

Greg Drummond said: "Let's be honest, we didn't give ourselves a chance out there.

"We really struggled in the first few ends and just couldn't come back from it."

"We've played many big games in our career and the pressure has never phased us before. I don't think it can be put down to pressure, the fault is on us for not adapting to the conditions."

On winning the silver medal, Drummond added:

"It wasn't the result we were hoping for, but we'll definitely wear our medals with pride."

Scott Andrews said: "Obviously we're disappointed right now. We didn't give Canada a real game out there. But we did get a medal and if you'd told us at the start of the week that we'd be silver medallists, we'd have probably taken it.

"Sure it hurts right now, but we'll look back on this as a great achievement."