Great Britain’s curling men had to settle for silver after a 9-3 thrashing by Canada in their Winter Olympics final in Sochi today which ended with only eight of ten ends completed.
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.
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 yesterday.
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 Iceberg Curling Centre 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 said.
“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 ten minutes.”