Dumfries and Galloway woman in curling medal contention as Team GB make Olympic final

18/02/22 Great Britain's Vicky Wright celebrates victory after the Women's Curling Semi-Final during day fourteen of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the National Aquatics Centre in Beijing, China. Picture date: Friday February 18, 2022. PA Images.
Vicky Wright after the semi-final victory. Credit: PA Images

Team GB staged a stunning fightback to steer Great Britain's women's curling team into the Olympic final in Beijing with a thrilling 12-11 win over defending champions Sweden.

The curlers - including vice-skip Vicky Wright from Stranraer - joined the men's team in guaranteeing a medal after overcoming a nightmare start at the National Aquatic Centre.

Skip Eve Muirhead's attempted draw with her last stone of the first end finished almost two metres short and gave Swedish skip Anna Hasselborg the simplest chance to roll in for a four.

Immediately it looked like the Britons might be facing a repeat of their heavy semi-final defeat to the same team in Pyeongchang four years ago, when they failed to recover from a poor start and lost 10-5.

Muirhead, from Perth, hit back strongly though by taking three points in the next to give her team hope, and two single ends in succession hauled her back level at the halfway stage, albeit with Sweden retaining the 'hammer' advantage.

Vicky Wright (left), Jennifer Dodds (centre) and Hailey Duff competing in the semi-final. Credit: PA Images

Hasselborg pressed back in front with a two-point end in the sixth, but errors were becoming more prevalent in the Swedes' play and a missed double take-out attempt in the next gave Muirhead the chance to roll in for two to level at 7-7.

A packed eighth end resulted in Hasselborg having to settle for taking a one, before Muirhead produced a magical shot to take four in the ninth.

Hasselborg responded in kind to brilliantly take three and force an extra end. Britain held the 'hammer', or final stone, but Muirhead did not need it as Hasselborg's attempt with her final stone drifted wide and gifted the Britons the point they needed to seal a stunning win.

It means the 31-year-old Muirhead will experience her first Olympic final at the fourth time of asking, along with team-mates Wright, Jennifer Dodds and Hailey Duff.

Japan await in the gold medal match after beating Switzerland 8-6.

She said: "It's third time lucky for me," she told the BBC. "I've lost two semi-finals before and I was desperate for it because these opportunities and these moments don't come around very often.

Eve Muirhead, Hailey Duff, Vicky Wright and Jennifer Dodds celebrate victory. Credit: PA Images

"I'm so, so proud of these guys. It's such a team game out there and all week we've really dug so deep - all season we've done that. I'm pretty speechless right now but it's sounds amazing to say 'we're in the Olympic final'."

This success comes the day after the men's side guaranteed Team GB their first medal of the Games, when they won their semi-final match against the United States.

That team included three players from Dumfries and Galloway: Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan from Stranraer and Dumfries' Grant Hardie.

Captain Bruce Mouat, from Edinburgh, could have more than just a medal to celebrate.

His father Bob explained: “We’re rather fortunate that Bruce’s brother Colin and his partner Ferne are expecting a wee one in the next day or two so it’s going to be a massive couple of days.

“Bruce, with a bit of luck, he’ll have a double celebration.”

The men's final takes place in Beijing tomorrow at 6.50am UK time while the women's final is at 1.05am on Sunday.