Dramatic finale sees England progress in World Mixed Curling Championships
England secured their place in the World Mixed Curling Championships play-off stage in dramatic circumstances after prevailing in a draw shot challenge.
The team were not even in action in the final two stages of the round-robin phase, though a 7-4 victory over Netherlands in session 24 had kept them in with a chance of progression.
And that third win of the tournament proved vital, becoming the only fourth-placed side to progress from the group stages as they joined Canada, Turkey and Poland in exiting Group E.
Meanwhile, Scotland skip Grant Hardie believes his rink have another level to reach – despite securing their sixth win of the tournament in Switzerland.
It came convincingly too, defeating Kazakhstan 8-1 having raced into a five-point lead at the end of four ends.
That meant defeat to Group C table-toppers Korea was the only blemish on their record but, with a place in the latter stages secured, the challenge now is to continue stepping up.
"We've not been at our best yet. We've got another gear we can still go up into which is good going into the play-offs," said Hardie.
"Part one is done now so we're just looking forward to see who we play next. You've got to put together a some really good games and you can't afford any more losses."
All eyes in the last session were on Group D however, with the final standings seeing no fewer than five teams separated by just one victory.
But it was to be a disappointing evening for hosts Switzerland as a 6-4 defeat to Norway ended their chances of progression, with their opponents, Czech Republic and Israel progressing – despite the latter losing three contests.
There were no such worries for Russia as they won six out of six in Group A, the latest an 11-3 win over Japan.
They progress to the last-16 alongside Hungary and Estonia, while Sweden, China and the United States qualify from Group B.
Spain are the final team in the play-off stage, ending their round-robin stage on a high with an 8-0 win over Ireland to join Korea and Scotland in the next round.