Thursday, November 11, 2010

Worlds Qualifying - Day 5 - China top the table

Team China skip Haito Wang
[Photo: Finnish Curling Association/Katja Kiiskinen]

China faced unbeaten Italy in the morning draw of the last day of round robin play at the 2010 Worlds Qualifying in Kohja, Finland, with the winner assured of a place in the Page-playoff top two.

China had their perfect record broken by great double take-out that earned Russia a 5-4 win yesterday. Today Italy had no answer to a relentless series of single point steals, China winning 7-1.

Japan's 3rd Yoji Nakajima and 2nd Aki Ogawa

[Photo: Finnish Curling Association/Katja Kiiskinen]

In the other morning match with top spot implications, Russia began promisingly against Japan, stealing one in the first end and leading 8-6 after 6 ends. Japan outlasted them, however, taking 3 to go ahead, and sealing the 10-8 win with a final end steal. That meant Russia, who had a final round bye, would need help to claim a top spot.

Switzerland, who had to win both games to have a realistic hope of a tie-break entry to the playoffs, began the day with an 11-3 win over Latvia.

Denmark played Finland, stole 3 in the 1st and 2 in the 5th to go out to a 6-3 lead. The host side tied the game with a steal in the 7th, but Denmark steadied themselves to post their second win, taking 3 in the final end to win 9-6.

In the afternoon draw, China beat winless Latvia 12-1 to ensure they would finish top of the table. Russia, and Italy with just one loss, were assured playoff places, which left Japan and Switzerland fighting for the remaining playoff spot.

If Japan beat Finland they would claim it. if they lost and Switzerland beat Italy, Japan and Switzerland would play each other in a tie-break.

Japan started their match by giving up 4 in the 1st. They levelled the score at the break, but Finland, who'd had a disappointing tournament as far as results went, salvaged some pride by taking the last 6 points in a 10-4 win.

 Swiss 3rd Claudia H├╝ttenmoser
[Photo: Finnish Curling Association/Katja Kiiskinen]

Switzerland, with everything to play for, faced Italy and though tied 2-2 at the break, faded to a 7-3 loss. “We feel a little bit sad because the game against Italy was our last chance,” said Swiss vice-skip Claudia H├╝ttenmoser. “They played better than us and that’s life."

This means the top two teams, China and Italy, will play for the first of two qualifying places. The loser of that match will then play the winner of Japan/Russia, for the second qualifying spot.

"But who wins the tournament? They play all week, and there isn't a final final?" someone asked. No, and that's why it's called a qualifying tournament and not a bonspiel.

Final table after 9 draws

China          7 - 1
Italy           7 - 1
Japan          5 - 3
Russia         6 - 2
Switzerland  4 - 4
Slovakia      3 - 5
Denmark     2 - 6
Finland       2 - 6
Latvia         0 - 8

Tommorrow noon local time

Game 1 - 1 vs 2 - China vs  Italy -  winner qualifies for 2011 Worlds
Game 2 - 3 vs 4 - Russia vs Japan

Tomorrow 4.30 local time

Loser Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2  -  winner qualifies for 2011 Worlds

Line scores from the games are available HERE. Click on date.

Hopefully at least one of the first round of playoff games will be on Sheet B so we can watch a webcast.

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