The Royal Caledonian Curling Club

The Royal Caledonian Curling Club

National Governing Body for Curling in Scotland

2014 World Junior Championships Latest

Posted on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 4:10pm

MEN Final: Scotland 5, Switzerland 6.

A disappointed Scottish men’s team had to settle for silver medals when they lost Wednesday afternoon’s final by 5-6 to Switzerland.

This victory made it six wins in a row for the Swiss, who had come through a  tie-breaker against Italy to reach the medal stages.

The Scots had last stone advantage in the first end, and opened the scoring with a single point.  Switzerland responded by scoring two in the second end and then built on that in the third when Scotland’s skip Kyle Smith was short with his final draw to give up a single-point steal and push the Swiss lead to 3-1.

Solid Swiss tactics in the fourth end then forced Smith to draw for just one in the fourth end, and this reduced Switzerland’s lead to 3-2.  However, the Swiss built on their lead in the fifth end when Switzerland’s fourth player Reto Keller tapped out a Scottish stone for two points and a 5-2 lead.

In the sixth end,  Smith was just too thin on a double attempt with his final stone, leaving one Swiss stone in the house, rather than removing it, to give Switzerland a steal of one and a lead of 6-2.  In the seventh end Scotland were looking for a big score to bring themselves back into the game, but eventually Smith was forced to draw for one and reduce the Swiss lead by just one point, to 6-3.

Switzerland then blanked the eighth end and, in a dramatic ninth end, Switzerland’s fourth player Reto Keller had a complete miss with his last stone to give Scotland a steal of one point that reduced the Swiss lead to 6-4 and gave the Scots a glimpse of hope.  However, Keller made amends in the tenth end when he took out one of two Scottish stones in the house to give his team a 6-5 victory and the first Swiss world junior title since 2010, also in Flims.

Scotland: World Junior Silver Medallists

Scotland: World Junior Silver Medallists

Afterwards, a disappointed Scottish skip Kyle Smith said, “we didn’t play our best by any means.  You can’t take anything from them, they played very well”.  Meanwhile, a very happy Swiss skip Yannick Schwaller said: “Oh man, it’s crazy – I can’t say what this means for us – I don’t have words for that.  We played very well, with concentration – now we are world champions!  It was a great match”.

In the bronze game, which was played at the same time, Norway had a 7-5 win over Canada, while, during the closing ceremony, the winners of the WCF Sportsmanship Awards were announced.

These Awards are made every year, with the players voting for a fellow competitor who “best exemplifies the traditional values of skill, honesty, fair play, sportsmanship and friendship” during the event.  The men’s winner was Austrian skip Sebastian Wunderer, while the women’s winner was Zuzuna Hajkova, skip of the Czech Republic.

Kyle Smith now concludes his international junior career with the complete set of medals: bronze, won in Ostersund, Sweden in 2012; gold, from Sochi in 2013; and silver this year.  He  was joined in all three of these by Thomas Muirhead and Kyle Waddell.  Kyle Smith’s young brother Cameron was in last year’s world champion team, but was too ill to play a single game this year as lead, to be ably replaced by alternate Duncan Menzies.   As last year, the Scottish men were coached by David Ramsay.

The Scottish teams, including Gina AItken’s women, who finished eighth overall, and fifth among the European teams to maintain Scotland’s place in the women’s World Junior Championships line-up, return home on Thursday, and are due to arrive at Edinburgh Airport off British Airways flight BA1452, at 17:45.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Semi-final

Later, Switzerland beat Norway by 10-2 in the semi-final, and they will now face Scotland for gold medals on Wednesday, while Norway play Canada for the bronze medals.

MEN Page Play-offs: Scotland 8, Norway 5

With what was a dominant performance, defending champion Kyle  Smith from Perth led his team into Wednesday’s final of this year’s World Junior Curling Championships with an 8-5 win over Norway in Tuesday’s Play-off games.

This result guarantees Smith and his  team – third Thomas Muirhead, second Kyle Waddell and alternate Duncan Menzies, who has played every game as substitute for regular lead player Cameron Smith, who has been too sick to play so far – medals for the third successive year.  They took bronze two years ago before winning this title last year in Sochi.

In the final, they will face either Norway again or Switzerland who now play each other in curling’s sole semi-final.  To reach the semi-final, Switzerland beat Canada 6-5 after an extra end of the Page three versus four game.

The Scots were in charge from early in their game.  Norway opened with last stone advantage , but could only score one point in the second end after blanking the first.  After this, the Scots scored three points in the third end to take a 3-1 lead when Smith played a precision nose-hit.  The teams swapped singles in the next three ends to move the score-line to 4-3 in Scotland’s favour, and the Scots moved further ahead in the seventh when Smith had a gentle tap-up at the back of the house to score two more points and take a 6-3 lead.  Norway closed the gap to 6-5 in Scotland’s favour with a score of two points in the eighth end, but another nose-hit by Smith in the ninth moved the score to 8-5 in Scotland’s favour.

After this, the Scots then ran the Norwegians out of stones in the tenth end for their win and their place in the final.

"our best performance as a team so far" - Kyle Smith

“our best performance as a team so far” – Kyle Smith

Afterwards, Smith said, “it’s brilliant, I’m absolutely delighted – we’re one step closer now.  We played very well there, I think that was our best performance as a team so far.  We were relaxed and got an early lead and did well to keep the pressure on”.

Looking forward, he added, “we just need to have a relaxing day today, get a good night’s sleep, get our processes right before the game, and just make sure we’re all feeling pretty good during the game and stick together as a unit”.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN: Page Play-offs.

Canada beat Korea by 7-6 in the Page one versus two Play-off to take the direct route to Wednesday morning’s final.

Meanwhile, Sweden, who earlier beat Switzerland by 7-6 in a tie-breaker, beat Russia by 5-4 after an extra end in the Page three versus four game.  This means that Korea play Sweden in the sole semi-final on Tuesday evening, with the winner facing Canada in Wednesday morning’s gold medal final, and the loser playing Russia for bronze medals at the same time.

The Scottish men will face table-topping Norway in Tuesday morning’s Page Play-off session and this game, which will start at 11.00am GMT, will be available at this link: http://wjcc2014.curlingevents.com

MEN Session 9: Scotland 9, China 6.

In describing his final round-robin game of the event, against China, Scotland’s skip Kyle Smith said, “that was one of the strangest games I’ve ever played in”.

And he had every reason to think so.  The Scots gave up a four in a third end that had twelve stones in play at one stage, to go 1-5 down.  They then scored three in the fourth end to reduce China’s lead to 5-4 and then finally won the game in the seventh end, scoring five points for 9-6 to leave China without a win from their campaign.

Meanwhile, despite losing their final round-robin game by 3-4 to Italy, Norway concluded the round-robin in top spot to go into the Page 1 v 2 Play-off game, where they will face Scotland, the team with the best “internal” record among the four teams that finished on six wins.  This win gave Italy a life-line, as they joined the teams on six wins and are now in a tie-breaker against Switzerland for the last place in the Page line-up, with the tie-break winner facing third-placed Canada in the Page 3 v 4 game.

Kyle Smith in "one of the strangest games I've ever played in"

Kyle Smith in “one of the strangest games I’ve ever played in”

After the game, Smith explained the bizarre third end, “we played a pretty poor third end – we were getting caught with the ice quite a bit.  We just couldn’t get the icing right and got ourselves in a bit of bother.  I probably played the wrong shot, but we got back in the next end with three and showed our character”.  And about the five that finished the game off, he added, “we just played a really good end and he probably called a couple of wrong shots when he should have been peeling guards”.

Smith was delighted that his team had made it to the Page one versus two game, saying “achieving the play-offs is the main thing and we feel really good that our title defence is still alive”.

The men’s Page play-off games take place at 11.00 hrs GMT on Tuesday morning.

RESULTS

Session 9: Italy 4, Norway 3; Sweden , Switzerland ; Scotland 9, China 6; Austria 1, Canada 9; USA , Russia (extra end).

Standings after 9 sessions: Norway won 7 lost 2; Scotland, Canada, Italy Switzerland 6-3: Sweden 5-4; Russia 4-5; Austria 3-6; USA 2-7; China 0-9. ,

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

WOMEN Session 9: Italy 7, Scotland 8.

With a nerveless final stone that just nudged out an Italian stone sitting on the button to score two points, Scotland’s skip Gina Aitken carved out an 8-7 win over Italy in Sunday evening’s final round-robin session.

This not only gave the Scottish women their third win of the campaign, it meant that Scotland, rather than Italy, finished fifth of all the European teams involved, thereby grabbing the last available European qualification slot for next season’s Championships.  A loss would have meant Scotland being involved in, and having to win, the cut-throat European Junior Curling Challenge to get back into the Worlds line-up – the fate that befell Italy following this result.

When asked whether she was aware of the importance of this result, Aitken admitted with a straight face, ” It had crossed my mind”.

 

This was a tense game, with Italy blanking the first two ends as both teams seemingly worried more about not losing rather than winning.  The Scots broke the deadlock first, scoring four points in the sixth end for a 5-2 lead.  In this end, Italy had jammed a Scottish stone as they attempted to remove it, leaving Aitken with a draw for four.

But the Scots gave up three points in the next end, to level the score again at 5-5.  Eventually, the game came down to a final draw by Aitken.  All week she had been emphasising the importance of concentrating all the way to the last stone of the last end and she judged this one just right to score two points for the vital 8-7 win, prompting tears among the Scottish supporters and family.

Gina Aitken on Friday 28th February "We we just need to keep it going to the last end.  Even in the last end, one miss could have meant losing".

Gina Aitken on Friday 28th February “we just need to keep it going to the last end. Even in the last end, one miss could have meant losing”.

Women Jube shot
Afterwards, she said “I feel very relieved.  I was just thinking about the stone, I wasn’t thinking about the consequences.  Before the game is the time to think about anything else, when you’re in the game, you’re just thinking about the shot.  You can’t really cast your mind that far ahead when you’re there in the hack”.

At the other end of the table, The Korean women beat the Czech Republic to top the rankings and go into the Page 1v 2 Play-off where they will face Canada, who scored seven points in the eighth end of their game against Denmark on their way to a 12-5 win.   Meanwhile three teams – Russia, Sweden and Switzerland tied in third place.  Because of their better record in games among the three, Russia move directly to the Page 3v4 game, while Sweden and Switzerland will play a tie-breaker to decide the fourth play-off place.

RESULTS

Session 9: Switzerland 6, Sweden 7; USA 8, Russia 7; Canada 12, Denmark 5; Czech Republic 6, Korea 8; Italy 7, Scotland 8.

Standings after 9 sessions: Korea, Canada won 7, lost 2; Russia, Switzerland, Sweden 6-3; USA 5-4; Czech Republic 3-6, Scotland 3-6; Italy 2-7; Denmark 0-9.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 8: Russia 3, Scotland 5

This 5-3 win over Russia put the Page Play-offs within touching distance for the Scots, who conclude their round-robin programme on Sunday evening against a Chinese team that has yet to record a win in the event.

This result and others mean that Norway, on seven wins, will top the round-robin and are now through to the Page one versus two game.  Five teams, including the Scots, are tied in second place on five wins.  The others are Switzerland and Sweden, who play each other in the last round-robin session; Canada and Italy.

Not for the first time in this event, Scotland were in control for most of the game  They took last stone advantage into the first end and scored one.  They followed that up with single steals in each of the second and third ends for a 3-0 lead.  Russia scored two points in the fourth end to cut the Scottish lead but a single point by the Scots in the fifth end put them into the half-time break with a 4-2 lead.

Russia scored another single in the sixth and then Scotland blanked ends seven and eight.  They followed that tactic up with a good hit and roll into the rings by Scottish skip Kyle Smith to score one from the end and give his team a 5-3 lead.

In the tenth end, Scotland’s second player Kyle Waddell doubled out two front guards with his second stone and after that, the Scots kept their discipline to peel guard after guard.  Eventually,  a take-out by Smith with his last stone of the end ran the Russians out of stones and gave Scotland their win.

Scotland's Thomas Muirhead delivers carefully

Scotland’s Thomas Muirhead delivers carefully

As a pleased Scottish team headed for the changing rooms, Smith said, “that was another win and another good performance.  We’ve played really steady the whole week.  It’s just been one slack shot at the wrong times has cost us a couple of losses.  As long as we get to the play-offs we know what we can do”.

Smith also reflected on the benefits of experience at this event, “we’ve been here a couple of times before so we’re quite used to it all – we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing”.

RESULTS.

Session 8: Canada 8, USA 1; Italy 8, China 1; Sweden 9, Norway 10; Russia 3, Scotland 5; Switzerland 10, Austria 2.

Standings after 8 sessions: Norway won 7, lost 1; Canada, Italy, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland 5-2; Austria, Russia 3-5; USA 2-6; China 0-8.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF.

 –

WOMEN Session 8: Canada 7, Scotland 6

Once again the Scots had a game that went against them on their last stone of the last end, as they lost to Canada by 6-7.  This places extreme importance on the result of the Scots’ final round-robin game against Italy on Sunday afternoon, with only the winner of that game sure to qualify direct into next year’s Junior Championship.

This game was tight all the way; the Scots had last stone in the first end which they blanked, scored one in the second end, and then forced a single steal in the third end to go 2-0 up.

The Canadians levelled with two points in the fourth end and the Scots scored one in the fifth to re-take the lead at 3-2.

The game turned in Canada’s favour in the sixth end, largely because Scottish skip Gina Aitken jammed a Canadian stone as she attempted to clear, leaving Canada’s Kelsey Rocque with the simplest of tasks to score three and take a 5-3 lead.  After swapping singles in the next two ends, including a good nose-hit by Aitken in the eighth that forced Canada to draw for one, Scotland drew level at 6-6 with two points in the ninth with another Aitken nose-hit .

In the tenth, the Scots had an early stone just off the button which they guarded well until Rocque’s first stone curled round the guards and tapped back the Scottish stone, replacing it with her own.  AItken was forced to change hands to try to get inside that Canadian stone, but her final draw was short and Canada won.

The two third players - Scotland's Naomi Brown and Canada's Keely Brown

The two third players – Scotland’s Naomi Brown and Canada’s Keely Brown

After the game, Aitken said, “we’ve had good games and we’re playing really well.  I’m not disappointed at all , we’ve played really well this week.  I’m happy to have had so many close games, that shows that we’re doing well”.

This result and others now means that Scotland’s final round-robin game – against Italy on Sunday afternoon – has become crucial in whether Scotland will qualify direct for next year’s Championships.

According to the World Curling Federation (WCF) rulebook only “the five European Association/ Federations that finished highest at the previous World Junior Championships automatically qualify”.

With the WCF not yet in a position to confirm the venue for the 2015 Championships, the sixth placed European team here would only qualify direct if the eventual host nation was among the top six European finishers.  At the moment, with winless Denmark destined to finish bottom of the table, and seventh and last of the European nations here, Italy and Scotland are tied in the sixth European place, on two wins each.  Their head-to-head, which starts at 15.00 GMT on Sunday,  is now effectively a qualification decider, and will be streamed live by the WCF, accessible here: http://wjcc2014.curlingevents.com

RESULTS

Session 8: Korea 7, Italy 5; Switzerland 10, Denmark 8; USA 3, Sweden 9; Scotland 6, Canada 7; Russia 7, Czech Republic 2.

Standings after 8 sessions: Canada, Korea, Russia, Switzerland won 6, lost 2; Sweden 5-3; USA 4-4; Czech Republic 3-5; Italy, Scotland 2-6; Denmark 0-8.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

MEN Session 7: Scotland 6, Sweden 9.

After dominating from the very first end, Kyle Smith’s Scottish men went down to Sweden by 6-9 in Saturday evening’s seventh round-robin session.

Although this was a damaging result, the Scots remain in strong Page Playoff contention, sitting in joint third place with Canada, Italy and Switzerland with two games left to conclude the round-robin on Sunday – against Russia and then a Chinese team still looking for their first win of the event.

The Scots used last stone to score two points in the first end.  Sweden then blanked the next two ends before scoring two points in the fourth to level the score.  Smith scored one in the fifth to give Scotland a 3-2 half-time lead.  The pendulum swung Sweden’s way in the sixth when they took the lead through a score of two points, but Scotland scored one to level again in the seventh and then stole two points in the eight when good stone placement forced Sweden into a draw attempt that was too wide.

The Scots took a "sore one" against Sweden

The Scots took a “sore one” against Sweden

Sweden fought back to score two in the ninth and level the score again at 6-6 , but give the Scots last stone in the tenth.  In this end, the Scots seemed well in control and left their skip Smith with a nose-hit for the win.  But his attempt stayed straight and got caught up to wreck on the way in, and give Sweden a steal of three and a game win.

Afterwards, a dejected Smith said, “it’s pretty sore.  My last stone just didn’t curl enough.  It needed to curl not even an inch more”.  Looking forward, he said, “two wins tomorrow and we’ll see how we finish up”.

Elsewhere Norway stayed at the top of the table with a 9-8 win over USA, while it took two extra ends for Italy to finally steal an 8-6 win from Russia.

RESULTS.

Session 7: Scotland 6, Sweden 9; Norway 9, USA 8; Switzerland 2, Canada 7; China 7, Austria 8; Russia 6, Italy 8 (after two extra ends).

Standings after 7 sessions: Norway won 6, lost 1;Sweden 5-2; Canada, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland 4-3; Austria, Russia 3-4; USA 2-5; China 0-7.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

 Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

WOMEN Session 7: Scotland 3, Switzerland 4.

This game came down to a last stone in the tenth end by the Swiss that was swept all the way down the sheet to just bite the 12-foot ring at the front of the house and give Switzerland the two points needed for their 4-3 win.

This was a sad conclusion to a tight battle for Gina Aitken’s team.  They  had last stone advantage and blanked the first two ends, only to give up a single steal in the third end when Aitken’s last hit rolled out.  But they got back on level terms immediately in the fourth end.  Switzerland then scored another single point in the sixth end to take a 2-1 lead.  The Scots went ahead for the first time in the ninth end when Aitken promoted one of her own stones to nudge out a Swiss stone on the four-foot ring and score two for 3-2.

In the tenth end, the Swiss were able to split the house early when Scotland’s second player Rowena Kerr could only remove one of two Swiss stones and then, it all came down to Switzerland’s tantalising final draw.

Scotland's GIna Aitken and Swiss skip Corina Mani

Scotland’s GIna Aitken and Swiss skip Corina Mani

With only two round-robin games left, a Play-off slot is now beyond the Scottish women.  In fact, thinking now has to turn to the possibility of Scotland slipping down to the European Junior Curling Challenge.  With no definite venue yet announced for next year’s World Juniors, it is possible that only the top five European teams from this field would be guaranteed the direct route to next year’s Championships.  This would be the case if next year’s eventual host was a  European nation not included in this year’s field.  The Scottish women are currently in joint sixth place among the European teams alongside Italy, their final round-robin opponents on Sunday evening.

RESULTS

Session 7: Canada 8, USA 4; Sweden 8, Italy 1; Russia 5, Korea 7; Denmark 7, Czech Republic 8; Scotland 3, Switzerland 4.

Standings after 7 sessions: Canada, Korea, Russia, Switzerland won 5, lost 2; Sweden, USA 4-3; Czech Republic 3-4; Italy, Scotland 2-5; Denmark 0-7.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 6: Italy 5, Scotland 6.

Kyle Smith’s Scottish men’s team  took a big step in the  defence of their title when they beat Italy by 6-5 in Saturday morning’s sixth session of men’s round robin play.

In the same session, Norway lost their unbeaten record, beaten 6-5 by Canada.  They still top the table but are now only one win ahead of Scotland and the two other teams tied in second – Switzerland and Sweden.

With Duncan Menzies still playing at lead in place of the recovering Cameron Smith, this game was much more in Scottish control than the tight score-line suggests.  Italy used last stone to score one point in the opening end, but the Scots responded to score two in the second.  The Italians scored another single point in the third end to level the game, and after this, the Scots followed a single point in the fourth end with a steal of one in the fifth to hold a 4-2 half-time lead.  Italy got one point back in the sixth end but in the seventh, a nose-hit by Smith with his last stone scored one for Scotland and restored their two-point lead, at 5-3.

Italy blanked the eighth end and, in the ninth, Smith just missed a double take-out attempt across the house to let Italian skip Amos Mosaner draw his last stone into the house and score two points to level the game at 5-5.

Good play by the whole Scottish team kept the centre-line clear in the tenth, and eventually Smith had a nose-hit to score the one point that gave Scotland their fourth round-robin win so far, at 6-5.

Muirehad and Waddell work on lead Duncan Menzies' stone as skips Smith and Mosaner  look on

Muirhead and Waddell work on lead Duncan Menzies’ stone as skips Smith and Mosaner look on

Afterwards, Smith said, “it’s good to get another win.  We played quite well”.   He added, “he was really fortunate at the third end.  He managed to hit the guard but still make the nose-hit for one.  But we just stuck to our game and played our shots”.

He went on, “we were in control most of the game – they were trying to get  their two down the last couple of ends, but we were peeling quite well.  But they go it in nine and I just had a nose-hit in ten – the boys played it very well and made it easy for me”.

Despite this win, he still remained low-key when asked about his play-off prospects, stating factually, “If we keep winning, that will be the story”.

The Scottish men face Sweden on Saturday evening and then finish their round-robin programme with two games on Sunday, against Russia and then a Chinese team that is yet to record a win. .

RESULTS

Men session 6: China 4, Switzerland 7; Austria 4, Russia9; Italy 5, Scotland 6; Sweden 8, USA 7; Norway 5, Canada 6.

Standings after 6 sessions: Norway won 5, lost1; Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland 4-2; Canada, Italy, Russia 3-3; Austria, USA 2-4; China 0-6.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 6: Czech Republic 7, Scotland 6 (extra end)

Once again it went all the way to the wire, but, after an extra end, the Scottish women found themselves defeated by the Czech Republic by 7-6 in Friday evening’s sixth round-robin session.

The Scottish women now have only two wins overall, and are starting to look a bit detached from the play-off possibilities.

They won last stone advantage and blanked the first end, but they gave up a steal of one in the second end.  However, they managed to score three in the second end to take the early lead, but the Czech team fought back and the players went into the half-time break level at 5-5.  The Scots moved ahead with a single point in the sixth but the Czechs countered this with a score of two in the seventh for a 5-4 led.  The scores were level again, at 5-5, when an umpire’s measure denied Scotland a second point from the end.  The teams swapped singles in the ninth and tenth ends to tie the game at 6-6 and force an extra end.

Without last stone, the Scots patiently set this end up, only to see Czech skip Zuzuna Hajkova, who plays third stones, clear out the Scots’ set-up before Czech fourth player Iveta Janatova drew the button for the one point needed for the Czech win.

Rachel Hannan and Rowen Kerr keep an eye on things behind Czech fourth player Iveta Jantova

Rachel Hannan and Rowen Kerr keep an eye on things behind Czech fourth player Iveta Jantova

Afterwards, a tired Scottish ski Gina Aitken said, ” Yep it came down to the last stone at the extra end.  You can’t complain when she makes a good shot, and she made a good shot – she drew the pin”.

The Scots now face Switzerland in their only Saturday game.

RESULTS

Session 6: Denmark 4, Russia 10; Czech Republic 7, Scotland 6 (extra end); Switzerland 5, Canada 8; USA 11, Italy 4; Sweden 6, Korea 5 (extra end).

Standings after 6 sessions: Russia 5-1; Canada, Korea, Switzerland 4-2, USA 4-2; Sweden 3-3;Czech Republic, Italy, Scotland 2-4; Denmark 0-6.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 5: Scotland 6, Norway 7.

The Scottish men suffered their second defeat so far when they went down by 6-7 to Norway in Friday’s late afternoon session of play.

The Scots started out well, stealing two in the first end and then stealing another two in the fourth when Norway’s last draw into the house wrecked, giving the Scots a 5-2 lead.

Norway then blanked the next two ends, and got their reward when they levelled the game at 5-5 with a score of three in the seventh end.

In the eighth end, Scottish skip Kyle Smith failed with an attempted double take-out, to give Norway a steal of one and the lead for the first time, at 6-5.  Smith then was forced into playing a hit and stay for just one point in the ninth to go into the tenth end at 6-6 but without last stone, and Norway took the one point they needed for their win when they took out Scotland’s counting stone and stayed for 7-6.

The game against Norway went down to the last stone

The game against Norway went down to the last stone

After the game, a disappointed Smith said, “I’m very disappointed.  We played a terrible seventh end – we were three up.  Losing two was acceptable, but losing three was daft, so we shot ourselves in the foot there.  We had a chance in the eighth, but I was just a bit high” adding, we did get up in the ninth, but we just weren’t very clinical in our peeling and  moving the stones.  They played reasonably well, so we can’t really complain”.

The Scottish men now play Italy and then Sweden on Saturday.

RESULTS

Session 5: USA 5, Austria 6; China 4, Canada 8; Russia 3, Sweden 8; Scotland 6, Norway 7; Italy 8, Switzerland 6.

Standings after 5 sessions: Norway won 5, lost 0; Italy, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland 3-2; Austria, Canada, Russia, USA 2-3; China 0-5.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

 –

WOMEN Session 5: Scotland 7, USA 4.

The Scottish women recovered from their painful Thursday evening extra end loss to Russia in the best possible way – with a dominant performance in their Friday afternoon 7-4 win over USA.

The USA had last stone advantage but the Scots took the initiative from the very start, stealing one point in the first end.  The teams then swapped singles for the next five ends to push the score to 3-3 after the sixth end.

The Scots made their real break-through in the seventh end when they managed to split the house early, eventually leaving skip Gina Aitken with a draw for two points and a 5-3 lead.  In the eighth end, good Scottish play forced USA to take one and reduce the Scottish lead to 5-4.

But this time, the Scots stayed strong all the way and third player Naomi Brown set her team up well with a superb double take-out at the front of the house with the added bonus of rolling her shooter into the rings.  With her last stone in this end, Aitken took out a USA stone partially frozen on her own counting stone, which disappeared too, to leave Scotland scoring two points with two counters at the front of the house, including Brown’s earlier effort.

The Scots then ran USA out of stones for what is their second win of the event, a result that puts them into joint sixth place along with Italy and Sweden, but just two wins behind joint leaders Korea, Russia, and Switzerland.

The teo leads are a study in concentration - USA's Anna Hopkins and Scotland's Rachel Hannan

A study in concentration – USA’s Anna Hopkins and Scotland’s Rowena Kerr

Afterwards, Aitken said, “we just came on determined to do well after last night’s disappointment.  We just came on to play our best, and we did.  We felt we were in control.  We knew we just needed to keep it up and keep it going to the last end.  Even in the last end, one miss could have meant losing”.

And asked how her team can consistently find the good form they will need, she added, “I think we need the mentality to stay strong and keep fighting to the end.  Nothing’s ever over until the last stone, we need to remember that whether we’re up or down and just keep going”.

Meanwhile, USA’s second player Anna Bauman said: “It was a tough game. I think we maybe just had a hard time reading the ice.  All of our other games we have been playing really well, I think this game may have just been a little bump but we can come back.”

 The Scottish women now face the Czech Republic on Friday evening.

RESULTS.

Session 5: Italy 6, Czech Republic 4; Denmark 5, Korea 9; Scotland 7, USA 4; Canada 8, Sweden 3; Switzerland 9, Russia 8 (extra end).

Standings after 5 sessions: Korea, Russia, Switzerland won 4, lost 1; Canada, USA 3-2; Italy, Scotland, Sweden 2-3; Czech Republic 1-4; Denmark 0-5.

 Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF.

MEN Session 4: Canada 5, Scotland 10.

Thanks to an excellent start that saw them up 4-0 after just three ends, skip Kyle Smith and his team dominated Friday morning’s fourth round-robin game, winning by 10-5 over Canada.

This result means that the Scottish men are in joint second place alongside Switzerland, who, on Thursday, inflicted the only loss that the Scots have suffered, behind unbeaten table-toppers Norway, who were taken all the way to an extra end by Austria in this session, before winning by 7-6.

The Scots had last stone in the first end and used it to open with a single point.  They followed that up with a single steal in the second and a further steal, this time for two points, in the third end.

Canada finally opened their account with a single point in the fourth end, but the Scots moved further ahead, scoring two in the fifth end for a 6-1 half-time lead.

The Canadians rallied briefly, scoring two in the sixth to reduce Scotland’s lead to 6-3 and in the seventh, Smith decided to throw his last stone through to score just one point rather than risk damaging a complicated set-up.  A further two by Canada with a hit and stay by skip Braden Calvert closed the score-line to 7-5 but a three in the ninth by the Scots, when Smith played a hit, persuaded the Canadians to concede, at 10-5.

Kyle Smith's world champions dominated against Canada

Kyle Smith’s world champions dominated against Canada

After the game, skip Smith explained his team’s whirlwind start,  “we were just in the right frame of mind when we started today, we got off to a good start.  He missed a draw in the third end when we stole a two and we were pretty much in control from then on.  If we can keep that sort of performance up then we’re happy”.

For his part, Canadian skip Calvert said, “we got off to a slow start and we picked it up after the fifth end.  We had a couple of back breaks and a pick in the early ends – that doesn’t help”.

Scotland’s alternate Duncan Menzies was on the ice for his fourth game, as regular lead Cameron Smith continues his recovery from a cold.  Scottish coach David Ramsay explained the background, saying, ” we’re just cautious about playing Cammie till he’s ready, in case we make him worse.  Sweeping’s very demanding and we don’t want to take a risk of him relapsing and we don’t have him when we need him.  In the meanwhile, Duncan’s doing a great job”.

The Scottish men face Norway next, in their Friday evening game.

RESULTS

Session 4: Sweden 9, China 2; USA 7, Italy 4; Norway 7, Austria 6 (extra end); Switzerland 8, Russia 7; Canada 5, Scotland 10.

Standings after 4 sessions: Norway won 4, lost 0; Scotland, Switzerland 3-1; Italy, Russia, Sweden USA 2-2; Austria, Canada 1-3; China 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 4: Russia 7, Scotland 5 (extra end).

The Scottish women suffered a shocking defeat in their fourth round-robin game, going down by 5-7 to a steal of two in an extra end against Russia, a result that keeps Russia alone undefeated at the top of the rankings.

The game had been tight, with Russia blanking the first two ends before scoring only one point in the third when their fourth player Iuliia Portunova was short  with her last draw.  The Scots then took the lead in the fourth end when skip Gina Aitken had an easy draw for two after Portunova wrecked with her own last shot.

The Scots then had a steal of two points in the seventh to take a 5-2 lead, but Russia responded with two in the eighth and then, after the Scots blanked the ninth, Russia stole one point in the tenth to level the game at 5-5 when Aitken’s difficult last draw was just too wide.

Disaster struck in the extra end when Aitken had a draw to within the four foot ring for a win, but came up short despite sweeping by all four Scots.

The Scots were all visibly shell-shocked when they came off the ice, and understandably, Aitken was too upset to speak.

Gina Aitken could not hold off undefeated Russia

Gina Aitken could not hold off undefeated Russia

They now face USA and then the Czech Republic on Friday, with wins starting to become increasingly important.

RESULTS.

Session 4: USA 8, Denmark 2; Italy 4, Switzerland 7; Sweden 2, Czech Republic 7; Russia 7, Scotland 5 (extra end); Korea 8, Canada 6 (extra end).

Standings after 4 sessions: Russia won 4, lost 0; Korea, Switzerland, USA 3-1; Canada, Sweden 2-2; Czech Republic, Italy, Scotland 1-3; Denmark 0-4.

Report: Mike Haggerty

PIcture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 3: Switzerland 8, Scotland 6.

Kyle Smith’s defending champions went down to their first loss so far when they were beaten 8-6 by Switzerland in Thursday afternoon’s third session of men’s round-robin play.

Switzerland scored two point in the first end and then another two in the third end after the Scots could only score one in the second gave the Swiss a 4-1 lead and a mountain to climb for the Scots.  As Smith said, afterwards, “we made a terrible start to the game and we gave ourselves quite a long way to come back from”.

But they tried and were gifted a three in the fourth end when Switzerland’s fourth player Reto Keller hogged his last stone, allowing Smith a free draw into the house for three points, to level the game at 4-4.

The teams swapped singles for the next four ends to keep the score level, at 6-6.  In the ninth, Smith just missed a double take-out and Keller produced a hit and stay that produced a two-point lead at 8-6, after an umpire’s measure.  Try as they did, the Scots ran out of stones in the tenth.

Scotland's Kyle Waddell making his point of view clear

Scotland’s Kyle Waddell making his point of view clear

Afterwards, Smith said, “we’re quite disappointed.  We got back in the game, but they played very well and we just made a few silly mistakes in the ninth end.  We had a couple of chances in the game, but they played very well.  We plugged away and sometimes it doesn’t happen”.   Smith was generous about his opponents, saying, “their skip played very well, he made a lot of good doubles and draws, but it wasn’t our best performance”

The Scottish men have two games on Friday, playing Canada in the morning and then unbeaten Norway in the evening.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

RESULTS

Session 3: Switzerland 8, Scotland 6; Russia 2, Norway 4; Canada 8, Italy 7; USA 6, China 4; Austria 7, Sweden 5.

Standings after 3 sessions: Norway won 3, lost 0; Italy, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland 2-1; Austria, Canada, Sweden, USA 1-2; China 0-3.

WOMEN Session 3:Scotland 3, Sweden 4.

The Scottish women suffered their second loss so far as they went down by 3-4 to Sweden in Thursday morning’s third session of round-robin play.

Yet again, this was a tight game, with Gina Aitken’s women managing to all but steal the final end. as they had against Denmark in their previous game.  This time though their opponents were up to the task.

The Scots scored one in the first end with last stone, but Sweden scored two in the third to go 2-1 ahead.  After blanking the fourth, Scotland levelled the game at 2-2 in the fifth with a single point.

Third player Naomi Brown in action

Third player Naomi Brown in action

The teams were level again at 3-3 after the eighth and in the ninth, the Scots had a stone well-guarded sitting on the four-foot ring, but Swedish skip Isabella Wranaa promoted one of her own stones with her last, to take the Scottish counter out and blank the end.

Looking to steal, the Scots set the last end up well, again with their own sitting on the four-foot centre-line and well-guarded.  Eventually Sweden managed to replace the Scottish stone on the four-foot ring and, trying to winkle it out, Aitken’s first effort wrecked and her second shot, an attempted freeze, was short, giving Sweden the one point needed for the win without Wranaa having to play her last stone.

Although the Scot have now lost twice, they have been competitive in each of their games so far.  About this, Aitken said, ” both of our losses have been really close, the last one was an extra end, and this one came down to my last stone, we just didn’t quite get there.  They’re all been competitive games, so we can’t say any games are easy”.

Speaking about the tenth end in particular, she said, ” Well, we had the guards up and they were round the centre, and we did have one in the house but you can’t say you’re certain of anything until the last stone” and more generally, she said, “we’re all playing quite well.  We’re definitely playing better and we’re settling in.  Hopefully now we’ll be going onwards and upwards.  We’re getting used to the ice and the conditions, and being marched on – that’s not what we’re used to.  We’re having a really good time”.

The Scottish women now face unbeaten Russia in their fourth game on Thursday evening.

RESULTS

Session 3: Russia 6, Canada 4; Scotland 3, Sweden 4; Korea 8, Switzerland 7 (extra end); Italy 8, Denmark 6; Czech Republic 4, USA 9.

Standings after 3 sessions: Russia won 3, lost 0; Canada, Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, USA 2-1; Italy, Scotland 1-2; Czech Republic, Denmark 0-3.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN Session 2: Scotland 7, USA 2.

The Scottish men made short work of their second opponents USA, beating them by 7-2 in just eight ends of a game they dominated from the start on Wednesday evening.

They opened with two points in the first end and then stole a single in the third for 3-0 after USA had blanked the second.  The Americans did get on the scoreboard with one point in the fourth, but Scotland moved further ahead when skip Kyle Smith played a hit and stay in the fifth end to score a further two points for a 5-1 lead at half-time.

USA blanked the sixth end and then, after being unable to build anything substantial in the seventh, their skip Jake Vukich chose to score one with a nose-hit, to reduce Scotland’s lead to 5-2.  When Smith scored two points in the eighth end with a controlled tap-out the Americans conceded with the score at 7-2 to the Scots.

Scottish skip Kyle Smith dominated this game

Scottish skip Kyle Smith dominated this game

After the game, Smith explained, “we had the Scottish men’s championships the week before we came here, so that was very good practice for coming in here”.  He also praised his team alternate, Duncan Menzies, who played in both of Wednesday’s games instead of an ill regular lead Cameron Smith, saying, “Duncan’s done a great job coming in and playing instead of Cammie.  He stepped in and played very well , he fitted in nicely , so it’s been a good job from him”.

The Scottish men now face Switzerland in their only Thursday game.

RESULTS

Session 2: Austria 4,  Italy 12; Canada 5, Sweden 6; China 3, Russia 9; Norway 8, Switzerland 4; Scotland 7, USA 2.

Standings after 2 sessions: Italy, Norway, Russia, Scotland won 2, lost 0; Switzerland, Sweden 1-1; Austria, Canada, China, USA 0-2.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 2: Denmark 7, Scotland 8.

A last-end single steal gave the Scottish women the first win of their campaign, by 8-7 over Denmark, in Wednesday afternoon’s second session of women’s round-robin play.

The Scots had last stone advantage in the first end but gave up a single steal when skip Gina Aitken was short with her draw.   This early point to Denmark meant that the Scots were never in front until the last stone of the tenth end came to rest.

In the second end, Aitken’s hit and roll attempt rolled out for just one point and in the third, an umpire’s measure gave Denmark the third of three points from the end and a 4-1 lead.  A nicely-judged draw by Aitken in the fourth gave Scotland two points and closed the Danish lead to  4-3.

The Danes took one point in the fifth and then Scotland blanked the sixth before levelling the score at 5-5  with a nose-hot for two by Aitken.  The Danes scored two points in the eighth end when their skip Christine Svensen drew a second counter into the house and Scotland drew level again, at 7-7 in the ninth, when Aitken played another sure nose-hit.

The Scots pressurised throughout the tenth and eventually Denmark had to draw inside a guarded Scottish stone sitting just off the button.  As soon as her stone left her hand, Svensen buried her head in her hands, refusing to watch the outcome of her final shot, which was short, to give Scotland a steal of one and an 8-7 win.

Scotland's Rowena Kerr behind Denmark's Christine Svensen

Keeping an eye on a Danish stone

After her first win, Aitken said, ” It’s good to have a win on the board.  That was a wee bit better, we nailed more key shots and followed their good shots with good shots.  We didn’t let them get away from us”.

And speaking about the tense tenth end she added, “yes, it’s always hard to play when you know what you need to do but you have to play 100% in the last end”.  And when asked about her opponent’s last stone she simply  said diplomatically, “I don’t think she was happy with the way she played it”.

The Scottish women have two games on Thursday, against Sweden and then Russia.

RESULTS

Session 2: Czech Republic 6, Switzerland 9; Korea 3, USA 16; Denmark 7, Scotland 8; Sweden 4, Russia 6; Canada 8, Italy 6.

Standings after 2 sessions: Canada, Russia, Switzerland won 2, lost 0; Korea, Scotland, Sweden, USA 1-1; Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy 0-2.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

MEN  Session 1: Scotland 9, Austria 4.

The Scottish men opened the defence of their title on Wednesday afternoon with a comfortable 9-4 win over Austria, a nation making its debut at this level.

Alternate Duncan Menzies was on the ice as regular lead Cameron Smith continued his recovery for a head-cold and, in the opening end when Scotland had last stone advantage, he had an unfortunate slip as he energetically swept Kyle Smith’s last stone into the house, to burn the stone and give up a steal of one.

Duncan Menzies(left)  in action with Kyle Waddell

Duncan Menzies(left) in action with Kyle Waddell

But it was basically one-way traffic for Scotland after this.  They took control of the game with a three in the second end.  Austria scored a single point in the third end and then the Scots blanked the fourth end, with the score at 3-2

Smith then had a draw into the house to score two points in the fifth end for a half-time 5-2 lead. Although Austria scored two in the sixth end, the Scots remained in control and, after blanking the seventh, moved further ahead with a draw for one in the eighth.

When he came to play his last stone in the ninth, Austrian skip Sebastian Wunderer was facing four counting Scottish stone.  His attempted promote shot did not work out and he gave up a steal of three, and conceded the game at 9-4 to Scotland.

Afterwards, skip Smith was pleased with his team’s opener, saying, “we got a win which is what we wanted, so that’s a good start” and speaking about the whole experience so far, he added, “it’s really nice here, the weather’s been great, the ice is very good and the stones are good too.   We’ll see what happens this week but defending our title would be ideal”.

After his debut appearance, Austrian Skip Sebastian Wunderer said, “we played good in the first half of the game, we played really good and we almost played on their level.  We just had one bad end and unfortunately we lost the game because we had to take a big risk in the ninth end. They are world champions!”

The Scottish men now face USA in Wednesday’s late game.  The Americans lost their opener to Switzerland by 2-6.

RESULTS:

Session 1: Russia 8, Canada 6; Scotland 9, Austria 4; USA 2, Switzerland 6; Italy 9, Switzerland 3; China 4, Norway 8.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF

WOMEN Session 1: Scotland 7, Korea 10 (extra end).

Gina Aitken’s team went down by 7-10 in an extra end as Korea marked their debut at this level with a win.

The Scots had last stone in the first end but gave up a single steal.  After blanking the second, they scored one the third to level the game, but Korea scored two in the fourth end to re-take the lead.  The Scots then scored three in the fifth end for a 4-3 lead, but then suffered a damaging loss of four points in the sixth end for a 7-4 lead.

To their credit, the Scots fought back from this, blanking the seventh end, scoring one in the eighth, and then stealing single points in each of the ninth and tenth ends to level the score at 7-7 and force an extra end.

Without last stone, the Scottish girls had a big task on their hands, not made any easier when Aitken missed a thin take-out with her first stone of the end.    When Aitken’s last draw could not get inside three Korean counters, Korea claimed the 10-7 win, without having to play their last stone.

Despite a Scottish come-back that forced an extra end, Korea's score of four in the sixth end proved too much

Despite a Scottish come-back that forced an extra end, Korea’s score of four in the sixth end proved too much

Afterwards, Aitken said, “it’s always tough when you come out and it’s our first time competing at this level.  It’s different, but it was close, we took them all the way to an extra end”.  And about giving up the four points in the sixth, she added, “it was just a bit of a bad end.  It was just a couple of good shots that they had, and we couldn’t counter them,.  They played a good end”.  Turning to more general matters, she said, “we’ve enjoyed it so far, we’ve been here for a couple of days and everything’s very nice”.

Meanwhile,  Korean Skip Kyeong-Ae Kim celebrated winning her nation’s first ever game at a World Junior Curling Championship, saying (interpreted by her coach Kyung-Seog Kim), “it is our first time at the World Junior Championships and we are not as relaxed as we would like to be. So that was a problem. I believe our next game will be much better. I felt a little nervous as there are so many teams of a high level here”.

The Scottish women face Denmark next, on Wednesday afternoon.  Like the Scots, the Danes are looking for their first win, having lost to Sweden by 5-6 in their opener.

RESULTS

Session 1: Scotland 7, Korea 10 (extra end); Canada 7, Czech Republic 6 (extra end); Italy 5, Russia 9; Switzerland 7, USA 6 (extra end); Denmark 5, Sweden 6.

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: Richard Gray/WCF