With Bye duly despatched in the morning, the women played out a high-scoring winning draw against Estonia. All the part-score swings went into the negative column but the majority of the double-digit swings in the plus column was enough to tie the match. The second match, against Austria, was a roller-coaster affair with plenty of double-digit swings. Too many, really! However when the roundabout stopped Scotland had scored thirty-two imps in the final four boards to win by twenty-one imps, or 19-11 VPs. The team lies in sixth place after seven of the nineteen rounds, but have yet to play any of the teams above them.
Bulgaria and Germany for the women tomorrow. Traditionally Germany compete with France, England and Netherlands for the medals, but with Sabine and Dani retiring from the women's game their team looks a lot weaker this year. The Bulgarian women are not as strong as their open team but give little away, so the team should be looking for an above-average return for the day to hold onto their position.
With three matches against mid-table teams, a big loss against Spain was a disappointing result first up. Speaking to one of the Spaniards afterwards, he said his opponents played poorly and without luck resulting in a maximum for him. I'll repeat myself often in saying how tough the competition is, and poor play is often accompanied by poor luck but, of course, the luck shares itself around in such a long event.
Then the team was quickly twenty imps down to Ireland. I was slightly worried that they'd just slide from here, but encouragingly they recovered to all square and it was only a late missed sacrifice that led to the 13-17 VP loss. Less than they would have been aiming for, but the team showed resilience. The final match of the day was against Portugal, who were propping up the table. and team eked out a four imps win. It would have been a large win if a 50% slam had come home, or if a poor slam by Portugal had failed, but perhaps saving these for the tough matches ahead.
It is half-way through for the open team as they are not going to finish in the top nine and qualify for the second round-robin. With the bottom four teams drifting away from the pack, their aim is probably to finish top of the little group.
Tomorrow they warm up with Hungary and then take on the might of Italy, hopefully on BBO Vugraph.
The seniors start tomorrow with two matches, the first against Ireland and then a match against Poland, probably the pre-tournament favourites in this series.