Former world champions Norway were stunned into submission as Great Britain’s men curlers claimed a dominant victory to boost their hopes of a Winter Olympics medal.
When skip Kyle Smith’s rink were selected last June – ahead of David Murdoch’s silver-medal winning squad from Sochi 2014 – eyebrows were raised.
But Kyle Smith, his brother Cammy Smith, Thomas Muirhead and Kyle Waddell have answered their doubters emphatically – no more so than in Tuesday’s 10-3 humbling of Norway, who conceded defeat after seven ends.
After five wins from eight games – and three in a row – ahead of Wednesday’s final round-robin contest with the United States, Kyle Smith was overjoyed.
“It’s just pleasing we’ve managed to put a good string of wins together now and we’re in a position where we’re in control of our own destiny,” he said.
“It gives everyone else a bit of confidence in us as well, I hope. We’ve always believed in our own ability.
“We’ve had a couple of games where we haven’t played our best but we’ve still managed to come through and win. If you’re doing that you’re doing something right. It does a lot for confidence.”
Kyle Smith praised his team-mates for their performance against Norway (Mike Egerton/PA Images)
Thomas Ulsrud’s Norway squad, renowned for their colourful trousers, silver medallists at the Vancouver 2010 Games and 2014 world champions, struggled as the quietly spoken Kyle Smith put in a more flamboyant performance.
The Norwegian skip missed a double takeout in the first end and Britain raced to a 4-0 advantage after two ends as Ulsrud’s accuracy deserted him.
Kyle Smith, however, was metronomic. Another 3-0 end in Britain’s favour in the sixth was followed by another error from Ulsrud in the seventh and Norway had had enough.
“I had a good feeling this morning,” Kyle Smith added.
Kyle Smith believes confidence will be boosted by the win over Norway (Mike Egerton/PA Images)
“There’s a few different ends that things could’ve been very different.
“We were expecting a really tough game because they always play well those guys. Thankfully today we were just a wee bit sharper than them.
“We’re just happy that we managed to make those last ones later in the end to really put the pressure on and it gives us a lot of confidence to win in that fashion.
“They’re going to be one of the contenders this week. It’s a great feeling for us.
“For us to come out and play like that against them shows just what we’re made of.”
Britain women’s coach Viktor Kjell was delighted with Smith’s form – “this was his best game” – and added: “It’s good for the team’s confidence as well, to get a big win like this against a tough opponent.”
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