Sunday, February 27, 2011

Worlds Day 6 - Canada sweep, join Norway, Russia and Scotland in playoffs

Canada completed their sweep of the round robin matches at the 7th World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Prague, beating Scotland 9-4 in the final draw.

Jim Armstrong braced by Ina Forrest
[World Curling Federation/Roman Suda]
Skip Jim Armstrong, acknowledging tight early results, told reporters that his team had not played together very often this year and had taken a little while to settle in and get used to the ice, but were feeling increasingly comfortable as the week went on.

“The 9-4 score was not indicative of the game,” he said. “They had last rock and we ran them up and down for a couple of ends and I decided we’d take a cautious risk in end three and see if we could take two and get back in control. The interesting thing is that those first four ends were played exactly as able-bodied curlers would play it and I think that speaks for the calibre of the game today.”

It was Canada's steal of 3 in the 4th end that put paid to Scotland's hopes of appearing in the 1-2 playoff game, given that they lost to China 5-4 in an extra end this morning.

Ewan Gregor braces Scotland's lead Angie Malone
 [World Curling Federation/Roman Suda]
“Obviously today has not been our best day at the office” said Scottish Skip Aileen Neilson. “But our goal was to get into the business end of the week and we’ve done that. Tomorrow we are going to come out fighting. We know that if we play the way we did with our six (consecutive) wins, there’s absolutely nothing to stop us coming out on top.”

China held their fate in their own hands when they faced fellow qualifiers Russia, who beat Sweden 8-3 this morning, in the final draw. The winner would play on, the loser would have to wait for next year.

Russian lead Lead Svetlana Pakhomova braced by Alexander Shevchenko [World Curling Federation/Roman Suda]
China opened with a single with hammer, then saw Russia pull ahead 3-1 with single point steals before the break. China pulled level with a single in the 5th and a steal in the 6th, but Russia posted a decisive 3 in the 7th to claim the 6-3 win and their playoff spot. An excited Russian skip Marat Romanov said, “Our performance has exceeded our expectations. This is the first time we’ve reached such heights at the World Championships.”

Norwegian rookies Terge Rafdal and Tone Edvarsen with Jostein Stordahl
 [World Curling Federation/Roman Suda]
Norway went into today's games knowing they had at least a tie-break. Coach Thoralf Hognestad was philosophical about his team's defeats by Canada and Scotland, but unhappy at the loss to the struggling Czechs, a game where he felt his team blew more than enough chances to win.

They almost blew their game against bottom team Germany, needing an extra end to post a 7-6 victory after giving up a steal in the 8th.

Germany's rookie skip Marcus Sieger
 [World Curling Federation/Roman Suda]
German coach Helmar Erlewein, acknowledging a new line-up, had limited ambitions for this Championship; a desire to qualify for next year. In the final draw his team avoided automatic relegation by defeating Sweden 7-3.

USA lead Jacqui Kapinowski, braced by Jimmy Joseph with Jim Pierce [World Curling Federation/Roman Suda]
USA, who began the competition with definite plans on a medal, had only the morning game, a vital third victory, 9-3 over the host Czechs. They then had an anxious wait to see whether the afternoon results would go their way. They did, with the Czechs losing to Korea 7-3 and Sweden's loss to Germany.

This put Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic all at 2-7 with a series of playoff games to come to decide which two teams will be relegated to the Qualifying Tournament in Finland next November.

Canada plays Norway in the 1 vs 2 game tomorrow. The winner goes to the final, the loser plays the winner of the 3 vs 4 game between Russia and Scotland. Russia beat Scotland 7-3 on the opening day.

  1. Canada 9-0 (1 vs 2)
  2. Norway 6-3 (1 vs 2)
  3. Russia 6-3 (3 vs 4)
  4. Scotland 6-3 (3 vs 4)
  5. China 5-4 (qualified for Korea 2012)
  6. Korea 4-5 (qualified for Korea 2012 as host)
  7. USA 3-6 (qualified for Korea 2012)
Germany 2-7
Sweden 2-7
Czech Republic 2-7

You can see the full schedule, results and tables in our Worlds 2011 section of the website.

Line scores are available HERE and a large gallery of photos are available HERE

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