/ Winter Sports

Britain miss out on curling semi-finals

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 16:31

Britain miss out on curling semi-finals

British champion Rhona Martin's grip on a semi-final place in the Olympic curling competition slipped on Saturday after Britain's women lost 8-4 in a key match against Norway.

"We got punished," Martin, looking tired, told reporters.

"There was an inconsistency of shots. You play one good one and one bad one. You can't do that at this stage of competition."

Britain's women, who have always said it would be a struggle to reach the semis, folded in just nine ends after Norway despite leading 3-2 early on.

The all-Scotland team will have to win their next two matches against Japan and the United States in order to make it to Tuesday's tie-breaker for a semi-final place.

"There are two tough games ahead of us and we are going to have to perform well to win tomorrow," Martin said.

Scottish housewife Martin became a national hero four years ago when she threw the final stone in the final against Switzerland to win Britain's first gold since Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's Bolero ice dance in 1984.

Britain came from behind to win in the Salt Lake City Games, going into the tie-break 5-4. But Martin, 39, said she did not feel any deja vu with Britain's standing at 4-3 this time around.

"It's completely different," she said.

Britain's medal hopes are brighter with the men who retained their top ranking earlier on Saturday with a hard-fought 6-5 win against the Swiss that puts them on track for the semis.

Ewan MacDonald, husband of Martin's Salt Lake City team mate Fiona MacDonald, said he wanted another gold in the family.

"There's no rivalry, just a desire to medal in the Olympic Games. Everyone's ultimate dream is to come home with an Olympic gold," he joked after the win.

"Fiona's been very supportive. She's been egging us on all the way."

And the all-Scotland line-up skipped by Lockerbie farmer David Murdoch is ready for all comers.

"We'll take anyone," MacDonald said, laughing.

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