Switzerland and Germany win after thrilling team final
21 Aug 2014 at 21:25 | Published by: mindthegap | Views: 9756 | News search
The winning Swiss ladies team (Photo by Björn Dinau 2014)
What a thrilling team final at the European Championship in Neutraubling! Alfred Hitchcock couldn't have arranged it better. I could hardly work today because I pressed the reload button in my firefox browser every few minutes.
The ladies teams from Germany and Switzerland finished the 1st day on the same result: 302. Austria followed on the 3rd place 13 shots behind, and the Czech Republic was close by, only 3 shots behind Austria.
After the 1st day surprisingly Switzerland led the men's team competition with 596. But Germany followed only 5 shots behind. And then there was a large group of teams having the chance to win: Czech Repulic, Sweden, Finland and Austria, all very close together, no more than 7 shots behind Germany.
After the 1st combination round of the 2nd day, the 6th round, the German ladies took the lead, but only 3 shots ahead of Switzerland. Both teams could keep the distance to Austria, on the 3rd place, and the Czech Republic close behind. There was absolutely no tendency who could win at the end. The lead changed all the time, not only from round to round, but even from lane to lane.
Things were also open with the men's teams, but a group of 4 teams, still close together, was formed fighting for the lead. After round 6 Germany led 3 shots ahead of Switzerland, and the Czech's further 8 shots behind. Only Sweden was a bit more behind, 6 shots behind the Czech's and already 17 shots behind the leader, Germany. How could they catch up to the Germans who are well known for fighting successfully to defend the lead in the final rounds - particularly on home ground.
After a changing lead, sometimes from lane to lane, the German and Swiss ladies were equal after the 7th round. So the last round provided a thrilling fight for the gold. The Czech Republic and Austria followed with a margin of 17 shots, giving Germany and Switzerland the safety that there will be no attack from behind in the last round. But the Czech's were only 1 shot ahead of Austria, so the fight for the bronze medal was going to be as exciting as that for gold.
The German men's team could start the last round a bit more relaxed. In the 7th round they achieved a margin of 12 shots to the group of the their 3 opponents who still were very close together. The Czech Republic led this group, but only one shot ahead of Switzerland and 4 shots ahead of Sweden. So it looked like a hard fight for silver and bronze in the last round and a relaxed winning German team. But think of the saying: "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched" (In German: "Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben").
The last round must bring the decision for the ladies teams. On the first lanes all three pairs of German and Swiss ladies started nearly equally. Switzerland's Yvonne Trachsel then gave the Germans the chance to get away a bit by making a 5 on lane 9, the slope withoud obstacles, apparently the most difficult and dangerous lane on eternit. But Germany's Stefanie Blendermann didn't utilize the chance and countered with a 3. Together with her 3 at the window she could only equalize. Things developed worse for Anne Bollrich. With 3s at the window and the pipe she lost decisive shots on Maja Wicki which even the great Bianca Zodrow, the reigning World Champion, couldn't compensate against a very strong Sandra Wicki. No, even Bianca lost one shot, so the Swiss ladies team won one of of the most thrilling fights for the gold medal in the last years. Their total was 601, only 4 shots ahead of Germany. With a pahntastic team round of 64 in the last round, Austria could overtake the Czech Republic and won the bronze medal with 617.
The German men's team started well into the last round, could keep a save margin to the following teams, but then, like a sniper, the Swedish team attacked the Germans with a phantastic 70 (on concrete!) by the last three players. Walter Erlbruch, not having his best Championship so far, finished with a disappointing 32 and lost incredible 11 shots on Sweden's Patrik Jönsson, gaining a new course record on concrete in Neutraubling with a 21. So it became narrow again for the Germans, but Alexander Geist and Harald Erlbruch could save a small margin of 5 shots at the end. So Germany won a thrilling competition with 1181, 5 shots ahead of Sweden.
Sweden did well by substituting Ulf Kristiansson by Fredrik Tagesson after the 1st day. Fredrik showed a phantastic performance, ending up on the 10th place in the individual ranking. Maybe Germany should have substituted Walter Erlbruch as well, because the German substitute player Oleg Klassen did very well and is on the 5th place. What's the matter with Walter Erlbruch? After two very bad days, especially with a disappointing result on concrete, he is now on the 53rd place. But with two excellent rounds tomorrow morning he could mabye reach the 32nd place (it's only an 8 shots margin to that place) to be able to participate in the matchplay finals - and win them. That reminds me of the Seniors European Championship, where Michael Neuland, another legend player from Germany, slightly missed the cut for the last two strokeplay rounds - and won the matchplay. You never know ...
Poor Switzerland, leading after round 7 with a slight margin on Germany, fighting for the gold medal against the Germans for most of the time, they were overtaken by Sweden in the last round - to be honest, in the 2nd half of the last round, and even couldn't save a margin to the Czech's, so ended up on a thankless 4th place, only 3 shots behind the Czech Republic. Really not a reward for the great performance they showed at the Championship. But this is like sports is. On the other hand the Czech Republic can celebrate the bronze medal, showed a phantastic team performance and would have deserved even more for their enjoyable game. One of them, Martin Jecny, was even leading after the 1st day, and Karel Molnar is on the 2nd place before the strokeplay finals.
The individual competition sees the concrete course record holder from Sweden, Patrik Jönsson, as the leader, followed by Karel Molnar from the Czech Republic and Alexander Geist from Germany. There is a large group of players having the chance to win the strokeplay finals tomorrow as the margins are small. The ladies are led by Switzerland's Sandra Wicki, followed by Germany's Bianca Zodrow and Switzerland's Maja Wicki. Margins are even smaller here, so up to place 10 everything is possilbe, I guess.
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