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Champions League not gripping the nation like Team GB’s curlers

| 18.02.2014

When events as big as Manchester City against Barcelona come and go there’s often a void in sporting action that takes it’s time to be filled by an occasion of equal splendour.

That won’t be the case this time, though, as the exploits of Team GB’s curling teams at the Winter Olympics in Sochi grip the nation.

The men’s team, led by David Murdoch, sealed a path to the semi-finals by beating Norway 6-5 with the final stone of the match.

Ending the round-robin stage of the tournament with identical 5-4 records, Norway and GB had to battle it out in a tiebreaker to secure the last remaining spot in the semis.

In a dramatic finish, Murdoch executed a perfect double takeout with the final shot of the match to turn the score in his side’s favour, setting up a semi-final match with Sweden in the process.

Team GB are the 5/4 outsiders for that clash, as well as 4/1 longshots to win the gold medal, but with the support of the nation behind them, as well as a 50-strong army of followers in Russia, everything is in place for them to go all the way.

Firstly, winning the Norway tiebreaker exorcises the demons of the 2010 games in Vancouver, where the then-world champion Brits lost out on the semis in the exact same fashion that Norway just experienced.

For Murdoch, it also gives him the chance to make up for losing the bronze medal match in 2006. The prospect of being the first Team GB side to win a medal in the sport since it joined the Olympics, is sure to be a huge motivator as well.

The women’s section also contains British representation, but Eve Muirhead’s side are longer 6/1-shots for gold and face the favourites Canada in the semi finals as 3/1-shots to advance.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.