The Royal Caledonian Curling Club

The Royal Caledonian Curling Club

National Governing Body for Curling in Scotland

World Junior Championships Latest

Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:38pm

Women’s Final: Scotland 5, Russia 6 (extra end).

Hannah Fleming’s women just miss out on retaining their title as Russia take their first-ever World Junior gold medal with a 6-5 extra end win.

Full report to follow.

Men’s Final: Scotland 6, Russia 2.

Scotland’s men won the world title with a 6-2 victory over Russia in Sunday morning’s final at the World Junior Curling Championships.

Full report to follow.

Semi-finals:

Both Scottish teams will face Russian opposition in their gold medal finals at the World Junior Championships on Sunday.

The Russian women came from behind to beat Japan by 8-6 in their Saturday evening semi-final, while the Russian men won their semi-final by 11-8 in an extra end against Canada.

Japan now face the Czech Republic for women’s bronze medals, while the men’s bronze game sees the  Canadians face Sweden.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Women’s Page Play-offs: Japan 3, Scotland 4.

Hannah Fleming’s Scottish women – Lauren Gray, Jennifer Dodds and Abi Brown, supported by alternate Vicky Wright and coached by Olympic champion Debbie Knox – beat Japan by 4-3 in their Saturday morning Page 1 v 2 Play-off game to take the direct route to Sunday’s final at the World Junior Curling Championships and keep their title defence well and truly on-track.

This was a tight game all the way, with neither team scoring more than one shot in any end.  Japan’s skip Sayaka Yoshimura was given official success statistics of 97%, so it was a remarkable performance by the Scots to keep ahead.

After blanking the first end, the Scots were forced to draw for one shot in the second, and this very much was the pattern of the match.  The Scots forced Japan to draw for one in the fourth, and the Japanese forced again in the fifth.

In the seventh, Fleming had a near-perfect freeze with her second stone, but, even at that, Yoshimura was still able to chip it out for one.  The teams swapped singles in the eighth and ninth ends, meaning that Scotland went into the tenth with the hammer, tied at 3-3.

The Japanese were in a little bit of time trouble in the tenth and rushed through their stones, with Yoshimura only having eighteen seconds left when she played her last shot, a draw onto the four -foot ring.  This left Fleming with a nose-hit for one and the win, which she duly delivered.

The Scots now await the result of Saturday evening’s semi-final between Japan and Russia (who beat the Czech Republic by 4-2 in the Page 3 v 4 Play-off) to find out who they will face in the final.

The Scottish women got the better of an outstanding Japanese skip and team to proceed to the final

Afterwards, Fleming said, “Japan played  outstandingly in the whole game.  We just  managed to keep with them the whole way.  We managed to put them under a lot of pressure in some ends, and we always seemed to draw for our ones – they forced our ones, but we always forced them too”.

She added, “they are definitely a really strong team, and of all the teams we’ve played this week, they’ve definitely asked us the most questions.  They know exactly what they’re doing, but luckily so did we”.

Asked about her nose-hit to win, she explained, “the ice was  pretty straight, so I was thinking ‘don’t put it out, don’t put it out’.  It came up well, so I’m really chuffed”.

Looking forward to the final she said, “we’ve been there before so we know what it’s going to be like, the pressure etc, so hopefully it’s going to give us an advantage.  We won’t be thinking  about the pressure though.  We’ve done so well this week that, no matter what happens now, we’ll go home happy with our performance, but we definitely want that gold.  We’re  very determined and I think that’s what’s given us the edge this week.  Hopefully we can do the same tomorrow again”.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men’s Page Play-offs: Canada 6, Scotland 8, (extra end).

It took all the way to a steal of two in an extra end, but Scotland booked themselves a place in Sunday’s final with an 8-6 win over Canada in the Page 1 v 2 Play-off.

Russia won the Page 3 v 4 game, beating Sweden by  6-4, and now Canada and Russia will play in Saturday’s semi-final to determine which of them will face Scotland in Sunday’s gold medal game.  The loser of that game will play Sweden for bronze medals.

Both Page games were tight all the way, with the lead changing hands five times in the Canada – Scotland encounter, and there never being more than one point in the Russia – Sweden game until the ninth end.

Scotland took the early lead and went into the fifth end break 2-1 up, but Canada made a major break-through when their skip Matt Dunstone executed  a nice hit and stay to score three and take a 4-2 lead.

The Scots responded straightaway when skip Kyle Smith had his own hit and stay, to score two in the seventh end, and level the game again.  The Scots then nudged ahead in the eighth when Dunstone wrecked on a front guard, handing the Scots a steal of one point and a 5-4 lead.  With the tension mounting, Canada drew for two points in the ninth to re-take the lead, at 6-5 and, in the tenth the Scots looked set to win when Smith only had to produce a full hit on a Canadian stone to score two or more for his win.  But, rather than hit the Canadian stone full-on, because of its protection, Smith could only nudge it to score one, level the score at 6-6, and force the extra end.

With his last stone of this end, Smith played a very difficult double take-out, leaving two of this own stones in the house while removing two Canadian threats, and when Dunstone was heavy and wide with his final draw, the Scots scored two points and booked their place in the final.

Kyle Smith out-foxed Canada's Matt Dunstone for the second time on his way to the gold medal final

This was the second time the Scots had beaten Canada by stealing in the extra end, having done the same in their round-robin 7-6 win.

Afterwards, Smith said, ” That’s phenomenal.  I’m absolutely delighted.  It was a pretty good game, not many mistakes.  He got a three in six when we had a poor end – that was probably the only poor end of the game.  It was close all the way, and you can’t ask for much more”.

Having said, that Smith thought he should have won the game without having to go to the extra end.  He explained, “we were looking quite good in the tenth and he just threw his last stone into a really good spot.  I think we just over-swept my last, otherwise we would have won it in ten”.

Referring back to winning bronze last year, he said, “we’ll try to make it two bette this time – we’ll just be trying to do what we’ve been doing this whole two weeks”.

Meanwhile Canadian skip Dunstone said, “we knew he was going to make his shot and I knew I was going to have to draw to the four foot and it just didn’t work out. The positive we can take out of this is we still have a shot at the gold. We’ve outplayed them both times we played against them. We’ve been all over them. We hope to play them in the big game”.

Looking forward to Saturday’s semi-final against Russia, he said, “Russia’s been on a hot streak. They’ve won eight straight games now. We know this will be no easier than our game against Scotland so we’ll have to come out firing tomorrow”.

Russia’s 6-4 win over Sweden in the Page 3-4 game puts them one step away from making their own little bit of curling history – by winning their first-ever world junior medal.

Women’s Session 12.

With Scotland sitting out the final women’s round-robin session, having finished their programme in top spot, Sweden completed a  remarkable turn-around on Thursday evening when, after losing their first four games in the Word Junior Curling Championships, they beat Switzerland by 8-3 in the twelfth and final session of women’s round-robin play, thereby securing a place in the tie-breakers and keeping their medal, and even title, hopes alive.

Earlier in the day  they had beaten Canada by 7-6 to keep their campaign on-track, while other results unfolded in their favour.  These included the Czech Republic beating Russia by 7-3 in the morning session but then going down by 7-9 to Denmark in the evening session.  As a result the Czech Republic, Denmark, Russians, and Sweden all share the same won five, lost four record, behind round-robin leaders Scotland on eight wins and one loss, and second-placed Japan on six wins.

Now, Scotland and Japan face each other in Saturday morning’s Page 1 v 2 Play-off, with the winner going directly to the final and the loser waiting for whichever team emerges successfully from Friday’s tie-breaker games and then the Page 3-v 4 Play-off.

In the tie-breaker games, the Czech Republic will face Denmark while Russia go in against Sweden, with the winners taking up the positions in the Page 3v 4 Play-off game.  The winner of that will then play in the semi-final, while the loser will play the semi-final loser for bronze medals.

RESULTS.

Session 12: Canada 8, Norway 6; USA 7, Japan 6 (extra end); Denmark 9, Czech Republic 7; Switzerland 3, Sweden 8.

Standings after 12 sessions: Scotland won 8, lost 1; Japan 6-3; Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, Denmark 5-4; USA 4-5; Switzerland, Canada 3-6, Norway 1-8.

Men session 12: USA 3, Scotland 8.

The Scottish men completed their round-robin programme at the World Junior Championships with a confident 8-3 win over USA on Thursday afternoon, a result that means they ranked first overall, with eight wins and just one loss, putting them into Friday evening’s Page 1 v 2 Play-off, against Canada.

In this game the teams swapped singles in the first two ends and the Scots made their first break-through in the third end, when, after USA skip Korey Dropkin was heavy with both of his attempts, Scottish skip Kyle Smith took out a remaining American stone to score three for a 4-1 lead.

USA scored one shot in the fourth when Dropkin successfully drew inside four Scottish stones in the house.  The Scots blanked the fifth and then had to settle for just one more shot in the sixth when Smith’s promote shot just stayed outside an American stone.

The seventh was another good end for the Scots, with Dropkin facing three Scottish counters as he played his last, which was heavy and through to give the Scots a steal of three for  8-2.  The Americans took one shot from the eighth, and then conceded.

Their win against USA put the Scottish men "exactly where we wanted to be"

In the same session, Canada beat China, also by 8-3, as did Russia, with another 8-3 win over Norway.  Canada and Russia both finished on seven wins and two losses, just behind the Scots, but because Canada won the head-to-head between them at the start of the contest, they ranked second, to go in against the Scots, while third-placed Russia will face Sweden in the Page 3 v 4 Play-off.

After these games, Scottish skip Kyle Smith was quietly pleased.  “That was alright” he said, “we just did what we had to do to put another win on the board,  and we’re now exactly where we wanted to be at the start of the week”.  Looking forward he added, “we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing”.

Canada’s skip Matt Dunstone reflected on his win over China, saying, “we knew once we got a lead on them, they’d call some shots that weren’t totally correct and we’d have our chances on them. Earlier on they were making everything so we had to bear down and have patience in that one”.  Reviewing his campaign, and especially his opening day 5-4 win over Russia, he said, “that win against Russia was huge. Earlier in the week you might not think that and think it’s just another game but looking at it now, it’s a huge win for us.  Now we’re looking forward to the 1-2 game against Scotland.”

Meanwhile Russian team coach Vasily Gudin reckons his team have made a little bit of history.  “This is the first time in Russian history the junior men’s team made the play-offs, I think” he said, “I feel happy, absolutely happy. It’s incredible”.   Looking forward he said, “we don’t care which team we play against, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is execution through the whole tournament”.

RESULTS

Session 12: Switzerland 6, Italy 9; Norway 3, Russia 8; USA 3, Scotland 8; China 3, Canada 8.

Standings after 12 sessions: Scotland won 8, lost 1; Canada, Russia 7-2; Sweden 6-3; Norway, Italy 5-4; USA 4-5; Switzerland 2-7; China 1-8; Czech Republic 0-9.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women session 11: Scotland 6, Japan 8.

Hannah Fleming’s women’s team just failed to complete their round-robin programme undefeated at the World Junior Curling Championships, going down by 6-8 to Japan in their ninth and final round-robin game on Thursday morning.

Japan proved too strong for Scotland on Thursday morning

Regardless of this, the defending champions, who sit out the last women’s session on Thursday evening, finish top of the rankings, their won eight, lost one record keeping them clear of the chasing pack, in which Japan too are assured of a Page Play-off slot, with the Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia and Sweden still capable of at least tie-breaker places.

Japan scored first with a single shot in the second end after blanking the first end, and in the third end, the Scots scored two when skip Hannah Fleming had a nice draw in the third end.

After this, the teams swapped twos for the next three ends and then Japan built on their 5-4 lead with a single steal when Fleming’s last stone wrecked in the seventh end.

In the eighth, good Japanese stone placement forced Fleming to draw for just one and, in the ninth, despite a good Scottish freeze, Japanese skip Sayaka Yoshimura tapped up to score a further two shots for an 8-5 lead.

The Scots could only score one in the tenth, to go down by 6-8 and give up their unblemished record.

Afterwards, Fleming said, “that was a tough game.  They just kept fighting.  I had a few slack shots after the fifth end break and that’s what did it really.  We had a  few good attempts  to get the steal but it  just wasn’t quite there”.

Asked whether her team had unconsciously relaxed, knowing they had already qualified, she responded, “we didn’t feel much different this morning, we still wanted to keep our record as good as it has been.  It’s maybe  a blessing in disguise – it’ll give us the kick that we need”  adding, “it would have  been nice to go through undefeated. We’re still feeling good. We all played well, it was  just a couple of slack ones.  I think our stones in that game, although they’re still good, are maybe the poorest we’ve played with.  There were a few we weren’t sure of, and that didn’t help, but no alarm bells, not at all”.

RESULTS

Session 11: Scotland 6, Japan 8; Czech Republic 7, Russia 3; Sweden 7, Canada 6.

Standings after 11 sessions: Scotland won 8, lost 1; Japan 6-2; Czech Republic 5-3; Russia 5-4; Denmark, Sweden 4-4; Switzerland, USA 3-5; Canada 2-6; Norway 1-7.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s session 11: Scotland 5, Czech Republic 4.

The Scottish men assured themselves of a place in the Page Play-offs of the World Junior Curling Championships with a 5-4 victory over bottom-placed Czech Republic on Wednesday evening.

With four other teams still in contention – Canada, Russia, Sweden and Norway, the Scots are the only team who know they will avoid the possibility of tie-breakers, although they are not yet guaranteed a place in the 1-2 Page game.

The Scots brought on alternate Hammy McMillan for the game against the Czechs, replacing lead Cameron Smith who was described by his brother and skip Kyle as “just feeling a bit tired, he’s had a couple of long days with a lot of sweeping”.

The Scottish men brought on alternate Hammy McMillan for the game against the Czechs

They gave themselves a dream start against the win-less team that was propping up the table by scoring three in the first end, but struggled after that.

The Czechs blanked the next two ends and scored two in the fourth.  After that, it was the Scots who blanked, and moved into a 4-2 lead in the seventh when the Czech stone positioning forced the Scots into taking the single.  By the ninth, the Scots found themselves in the unexpected situation of seeing their opponents tying the game with a nose-hit for two and 4-4, but eventually Smith had a nose-hit of his own to stay on the four-foot ring for the 5-4 win that made sure the Scots will progress.

They now face the USA in their final round-robin game on Thursday afternoon, knowing that a win will mean they finish top of the rankings.

Afterwards, Kyle Smith spoke about the struggle to win.  “We got there in the end.  We weren’t playing our best at all.  I don’t know why, it’s been another long day and a bit of tiredness showed there, shots we wouldn’t normally have missed, we were missing”.

Reflecting on his qualification, he said, “that’s definitely where we want to be by the end of the week.  One more win tomorrow and we’ll be exactly where we want to be” and, looking forward to his final round-robin game, he added, “we’ll try to get a good night’s sleep. It’s an afternoon game so we’ll have a bit of a lie-in and we’ll be up for the game tomorrow”.

RESULTS

Session 11: China 1 , USA 8; Switzerland 4, Sweden 5; Norway 6, Canada 9; Scotland 5 , Czech Republic 4 .

Standings after 11 sessions: Scotland won 7, lost 1; Canada, Russia 6-2; Sweden 6-3; Norway 5-3; Italy, USA 4-4; Switzerland 2-6; China 1-7; Czech Republic 0-9.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women’s session 10: Switzerland 2, Scotland 10.

Defending champions Scotland continued their perfect tournament by beating Switzerland by 7-2 in just seven ends of their game in Wednesday afternoon’s tenth session of women’s play at the World Junior Curling Championship.

This eighth win from eight starts guarantees that they will finish in top place when the round-robin section of the event concludes on Thursday, regardless of their result against Japan in their last round-robin game then.

The Scottish women took control of this game from the off, scoring two shots in the second end after they had split the house early, and then stealing a further single in the third.

Switzerland had changed their order for this game, and normal third Jenny Perret, who was delivering fourth stones, faced five Scottish counters as she made her final draw in the fourth end.  She got inside them all to score one.  In the fifth end, after the Scots had once again succeeded in splitting the house, Perret missed a difficult take-out, moving a second Scottish stone into counting position in the process, which permitted Fleming to play a simple take out and score three more shots.

In the sixth end a Swiss clear-out attempt took out two of three Scottish stones but left the third counting to give Scotland another steal of one and a 7-1 lead.  Switzerland scored a consolation single in the seventh end and then conceded.

The Scottish success story continued against the Swiss

Afterwards, Fleming said, “I think we played  consistently well throughout the whole game.  We got on top of them at the start and continued like that throughout”.  Looking forward to the Play-offs, she said “for us it doesn’t matter who we play in the play-offs, we just concentrate on our own game and that works”.

She added, “I think we’re a stronger team than last year.  We’ve trained a lot harder and put everything into it, and it’s showing the benefit now” and, in response to being asked if the nerves might be getting to her team, she said, “we’ve just been playing the shorts as best we can.  I suppose that’s pretty clinical.  We’re all fine, this one game a day is good for  us and lets us think about what we want to do in it, and once we’ve played the game, we just switch off until the next day, so it’s been good”.

Scotland complete their round-robin programme against Japan on Thursday morning and then sit out the concluding round-robin session on Thursday evening.   Meanwhile Japan, Russia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden all remain in contention to join the Scots in the play-off games.

RESULTS.

Women Session 10:  USA 3, Czech Republic 7; Sweden 7, Norway 5; Switzerland 2, Scotland 7; Russia 9, Denmark 3.

Standings after 10 sessions: Scotland won 8, lost 0; Japan 5-2; Russia 5-3; Czech Republic 4-3; Denmark 4-4, Sweden 3-4; Switzerland, USA 3-5; Canada 2-5; Norway 1-7.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

 

Men’s session 10: Scotland 6, Sweden 5

The Scottish men kept themselves at the top of the rankings with their sixth win of the event when they beat Sweden by 6-5 in Wednesday morning’s tenth session of men’s play at the World Junior Curling Championships.

This was a tight game and went all the way to a Scottish steal of one in the tenth end when skip Kyle Smith managed to get his own last stone onto the button hidden behind centre guards and Sweden’s fourth player Patric Maberg could only nudge it rather than remove it.

Before that, the Scots took early control in the third end, when, after giving up two shots in the first end and then blanking the second, Smith  produced a precision nose-hit to score three and take the lead.

The teams swapped singles in the fourth and fifth ends and then the Swedes moved into a 5-4 lead with two shots in the sixth.  In this end, Smith produced a damage-limiting triple take-out to keep his team in the game.

The Scots looked good  for a big score in the eighth end after third player Thomas Muirhead  took out three stones with a strong promote shot on a front guard, but Smith’s last stone just moved off its nose-hit line and rolled out as well as nudging another Scottish counter out, meaning that the Scots only took one from the end to level the score at 5-5.

Sweden blanked the ninth and looked good for the win until Maberg’s last stone went off -line.

The Scottish men came out on top in a tough game against Sweden

This result means that Scotland still top the rankings, on six wins and one loss, while Russia also moved onto six wins with their 10-3 win over the Czech Republic, but, with one more game played, they have one more loss than the Scots.

After this latest win, Smith said, “that was another great win for us.  It was really close all the way and I don’t think there’d be much in the teams at all, it just came down to the last and we managed to get one better than them”.

Speaking about his stone in the eighth end when he eventually had to settle for just one shot instead of the three he was looking for, he said,  “I thought I threw it all alright in the eighth end and it just held up a bit”, adding, “there seem to be  straighter bits on the ice when you throw more weight and it doesn’t curl – I think that’s what caught him out there (in the tenth end)”.

He added, “that was a big  win for us and a good bounce-back after losing to Russia as well, so it means a lot”.

RESULTS.

Men’s Session 10: Scotland 6, Sweden 5; Italy 6, China 4; Czech Republic 3, Russia 10.

Standings after 10 sessions: Scotland won 6, lost 1; Russia 6-2; Canada, Norway 5-2; Sweden 5-3; Italy 4-4; USA 3-4; Switzerland 2-5; China 1-6; Czech Republic 0-8.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women’s Session 9: Denmark 3, Scotland 7.

With their 7-3 win over Denmark in Tuesday evening’s ninth session of women’s round-robin play in the World Junior Curling Championships, defending champions Scotland became the first team of the entire Championships  to clinch a place in the weekend’s play-off games, and later results elsewhere guaranteed them a place in the Page 1 v 2 game.

Earlier in the day, both the Scottish men and women had sat out sessions, so this evening game against Denmark was the only Scottish appearance of the sixth day of the Championships.

Despite their enforced lay-off, the Scottish women had clearly lost none of their form.  They controlled the game from the start, scoring two points in the first end when skip Hannah Fleming drew nicely into the four-foot ring with her second stone.

Denmark blanked the second end and scored just one instead of the two points they were looking for in the third when skip Stephanie Risdal’s second effort hit but rolled out instead of staying.  The Scots then added another two points in the fourth for a 4-1 lead.  Denmark blanked the fifth before taking a single in the sixth and threatened briefly in the seventh when Fleming wrecked on the way in with her last stone to give up a steal of one  to close the gap to 4-3 in Scotland’s favour.

With the Scots scoring another two points in the eighth, then stealing a single point in the ninth when Denmark’s last stone rolled out, the Danes conceded.

The Scots controlled throughout against Denmark

When she came off the ice, Scottish skip Fleming was not sure whether she had qualified, but said, “if we can keep that going, it’d be great.  They played really well against us, but we seemed  to have the upper hand  most of the time when they had the hammer, and forced their ones quite a lot”.

She added, “sometimes  we were struggling a bit to make our twos, but then we’d maybe force them to make a mistake and then I’d have a shot with my last for two.  Luckily it worked out most of the time”.

Looking forward she wished for… “more of the same, what we’re doing is working so far so we’ll just try to keep that going for the rest of the round-robin games, and then…”.

The Scottish women face a newly-rejuvenated Switzerland in their only game on Wednesday, while the men face Sweden in the morning, and the Czech Republic in the evening.

Results.

Session 8: Sweden 8, Denmark 3; Switzerland 4, Canada 3; Czech Republic 9, Japan 5.

Session 9: Russia 5, Switzerland 7; Denmark 3, Scotland 7; Japan 8, Norway 2; USA 4, Canada 10.

Standings after 9 sessions: Scotland won 7, lost 0; Japan 5-2; Denmark, Russia 4-3; Czech Republic 3-3; Switzerland, USA 3-4; Sweden 2-4; Canada 2-5; Norway 1-6.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men’s Session 9: 

The Scottish men sat out Tuesday afternoon’s ninth session of round-robin play at the Junior World Championships.

Results

Session 9: Czech Republic 3, Norway 8; Canada 7, USA 3; Sweden 8, Italy 4; Russia 6, Switzerland 4.

Standings after 9 sessions: Scotland won 5, lost 1; Canada; Norway; Russia; Sweden 5-2; Italy; USA 3-4; Switzerland 2-5; China 1-5; Czech Republic 0-7.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Women’s Session 8: 

The Scottish women sat out Tuesday morning’s eighth session of round robin play at the World Junior Championships.

RESULTS

Session 8: Denmark 3, Sweden 8; Canada 3, Switzerland 4; Japan 5, Czech Republic 9.

Standings after 8 sessions:  Scotland won 6, lost 0; Denmark, Japan, Russia 4-2; Czech Republic, USA 3-3; Sweden, Switzerland 2-4; Canada, Norway 1-5.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Men’s Session 8: Russia 5, Scotland 4.

After five successive wins, the Scottish men finally gave up their unbeaten record in Monday evening’s eighth session of men’s round-robin play at the WorldJjunior Championships, going down by 4-5 to Russia, but still remaining at the top of the rankings..

This game was tight all the way.  The lead changed hands three times, with Russia taking the lead through a single shot in the first end and Scotland responding with a single of their own in the second, before nudging into the lead with a single steal in the fourth when Russia couldn’t remove the Scottish shot stone.

Russia scored singles in  each of the fifth and sixth ends – with Scotland digging themselves out of real trouble in the sixth, to only give up a single steal.

The Scots were in trouble again in the eighth and skip Kyle Smith attempted a tricky angled raise that only just failed, resulting in them giving up another steal of one.

The Scots levelled the game in the ninth when Smith drew for two points, but Russian skip Evgeniy Arkhipov kept his nerve to draw within the eight-foot ring to score the one point needed for his 5-4 win.

Russian skip Evgeniy Arkhipov was too much to handle for the Scots on Monday

After this game, Scottish skip Kyle Smith said, “that was a tough game.  They played pretty well the whole game to be fair.  He had pressure draws a couple of times and he made them.  We never  really played our best today and that’s what’s cost us”.

He continued, “the ice seemed to straighten out after the fifth end break, which caught us out in six when we were looking quite good.  We managed to take them down ten eventually and he drew the eight-foot for the game”.

Looking forward he said, “we just  need to get back to winning ways.  We’ve got a day off tomorrow and a bit of rest then two games on Wednesday, so if we win both of them we’ll be in fine shape”.

Those two games are against Sweden and the Czech Republic.

RESULTS

Session 8: Italy 4, Canada 5; Russia 5, Scotland 4; Switzerland 8, China 7 (extra end); USA 7, Norway 4.

Standings after 8 sessions: Scotland won 5, lost 1; Canada, Norway, Russia, Sweden 4-2; Italy, USA 3-3; Switzerland 2-4; China 1-5; Czech Republic 0-6.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women’s Session 7: Scotland 9, Norway 3.

It was a case of anything you can do, I can do, for Scotland’s teams at the World Junior Curling Championships yesterday.

In the morning, Kyle Smith’s men beat Norway by 9-3 to keep their unbeaten record, so what did  Hannah Fleming’s women do in the afternoon?…beat Norway by 9-3 to keep their unbeaten record…naturally.  The only difference was that the women’s game went to eight ends rather than the six of the men’s game.

The Scottish women meant  business from the start.  They scored two in the first end and then stole a single in the second, when Fleming’s finely-judged  last just got around a guard and Norwegian skip Kristine Davanger came up short with her attempt to follow it.

Norway took a single in the third and then two good stones from Fleming –  a good run-back and a perfect nose-hit – gave Scotland a further two shots in the fourth, for a 5-1 lead.

Norway’s Davanger hit and rolled out with her final effort of the fifth end to give Scotland a steal of three for 8-1.  The teams then swapped single for the next three ends until Norway finally conceded.

For the second time on Thursday, Norway had no answer to strong Scottish play, as the Scottish women emulated the men, winning 9-3

This result means that Scotland – on six wins and no losses – are two wins ahead of nearest rivals Japan, who went down to their first defeat in the same session, by 3-8 at the hands of Sweden.

After this session, thinking back to her team’s second-half scare against the Czech Republic in her previous game (which ended in an 8-7 extra end win for Scotland), a pleased skip Fleming  said, “that was a bit more like it, we just kept the pressure on them the whole way through.  I couldn’t ask for more from any of my team – they’re all playing great, so hopefully we can continue that for the rest of the week”.

By this stage of the competition last year the Scottish women had dropped a couple of games and had a few close victories.  Fleming tried to put her finger on how it had been different this year.  “This year we’ve tried a lot harder.  We’ve  done a lot of ladies’ competitions and that’s helped us a lot, helped with our game”, and speaking about the pressure of being defending champions, she said, “we came here to do as well as we can and win as many games as we can.  The target  is on our backs, but it was always going to be like that, even before we started winning”.

RESULTS

Session 7: Czech Republic 4, Canada 9; Japan 3, Sweden 8; Russia 9, USA 3; Scotland 9, Norway 3.

Standings after 7 sessions: Scotland won 6 – lost 0; Denmark, Japan 4-1; Russia 4-2; USA 3-3; Czech Republic 2-3; Canada, Sweden, Switzerland 1-4; Norway 1-5.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men’s Session 7: Scotland 9, Norway 3.

It was hard to believe that this was a top-of-the-table clash, as Kyle Smith’s men demolished Norway by 9-3 in just six ends of their Monday morning game in the seventh session of round-robin play at the World Junior Curling Championships.

This was arguably the most one-sided game of the Championships so far and, in fact, the score would have been more for Scotland but for Smith’s last stone in the sixth clipping a guard and giving up a steal of one.

The Scots had the perfect start as Smith played a straightforward draw to score four in the first end after Norway’s skip Eirik Mjoen was heavy with his final draw.  The Norwegians blanked the second and gave up a single steal in the third when  they left a Scottish stone counting in the four foot ring.

The Norwegians’ problems increased in the fourth when Mjoen’s last draw was both wide and heavy, yielding another steal of four to Scotland.  Norway finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth, scoring two when Mjoen tapped out Smith’s last stone, which had failed to roll behind cover.

The Scots set up the end nicely again in the sixth, and would have taken three if Smith’s last stone hadn’t just rubbed a guard on the way in to take out a Norwegian counter.  Norway stole one, but after a brief team discussion, decided to shake hands, get off the ice, and re-group for their evening game against USA.

Norway couldn't cope with an on-song Scotland team

Afterwards, Smith said, ” we had a really good game there –  got off to a good start and never looked back, really.  That was unexpected.  I thought it was going to be a pretty tough game because they were on played four  and won four as well.  I think they just had a bit of a bad game today”.

Turning to his own team’s performance, he said, “there’s usually a few things we can look at, even in a game like that”, and looking forward, he added, “we play Russia  tonight and they’ve had the morning off, so they’ll be fit and ready.  We’ll get a wee nap this afternoon and we’ll be good to go”.

RESULTS.

Session 7: Czech Republic 4, Switzerland 9; Scotland 9, Norway 3; Sweden 9, China 7.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women’s Session 6: Scotland 8, Czech Republic 7 (extra end).

Skip Hannah Fleming said it herself – ” That was the proverbial game of two halves”.

In Sunday evening’s re-run of last year’s World Junior Championships final, the Scottish women faced the Czech Republic.  The Scots dominated the first half, and Fleming found herself 4-1 up after five ends without ever having last stone, thanks to steals of two the second and fourth ends, while the Czechs finally got on the scoreboard with a single shot in the fifth end.

When she finally had last stone advantage, Fleming used it to score two more shots in the sixth end, with a precision hit and stay for a 6-1 lead.

The Scots had a slack end in the seventh, and the Czechs got into the game with a score of three.  The teams swapped singles in the next two ends and then, when Fleming simply had to hit one Czech stone out of the house for victory in the tenth, she got her angles wrong and jammed the target Czech stone to give up a steal of two and put the game into an extra end.  In the extra end, Fleming faced two partially frozen Czech stones in the four-foot ring when she came to play her last, but she hit and stayed for the one shot needed to seal her 8-7 win.

Afterwards, a relieved Fleming said, “thankfully that was a win.  I’d have been really annoyed at myself if we’d lost that, because it felt like we were the stronger team all the way through.  In the last few ends we were lining them up well and I just couldn’t finish them off.  The first five ends were really good, we all played strong, then in the second half I just wasn’t quite making the shots like I have been”

About the steal of two in the tenth that put the game into the extra end she said, “I thought I’d thrown it fine, but it just over-curled.  All I needed to do was hit and run and we had it (the victory)”.

Reflecting on her narrow escape, she added, “we were bound to have a slip-up sometime.  It’s better to do it now than later on”.

The Scots almost let the game against the Czech Republic slip away

This result means that the Scottish women top the rankings on five wins, with Japan – on four wins – being the only other undefeated women’s team.

The Scottish women face Norway in their only game on Monday, while the Scottish men go in against  Norway and then Russia.

RESULTS.

Session 6: Switzerland lost , USA won (Switzerland ran out of time); Scotland 8, Czech Republic (extra end)7; Norway 4, Denmark 9; Sweden 5, Russia 8.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men session 6: Italy 5, Scotland 7.

Scotland…played 8, won 8.

That’s the running tally for Hannah Fleming’s and Kyle Smith’s teams on the fourth day of play at the World Junior Championships as the Scottish men kept the winning streak going with a solid 7-5 win over Italy in their fourth round-robin game, in Sunday afternoon’s sixth session of men’s play.

The Scots got their reward for choosing to blank the first end when skip Kyle Smith was left with a straightforward draw for three to the open side of the house after an attempt to draw behind cover on the other side by Italian skip Amos Mosaner came up short.

The Italians scored one in the third end and then closed the gap with a steal of one in the fourth, but, in the fifth, a draw onto the button by Smith around two Italian stones within the four-foot ring with his last stone for one shot gave Scotland a 4-2 halftime lead.

Mosaner cleared out two Scottish stones and his own shooter to blank the sixth, but the Scots forced him to take a single from the seventh, and the body  language of the Scots at this point showed they thought that was the decisive break-through.

The Scots were always in control against Italy

In the eighth end, Scotland scored two when Smith removed a partially-frozen Italian counter, and eventually he had a hit and stay for one shot to seal his victory in the tenth end.  As a result, Scotland joined Norway on four wins, with both remaining unbeaten so far.

Behind these two, Canada, Italy, Russia and Sweden now share third place on three wins and two losses.

After this latest victory, Smith said, “we got off to a good start  and then had a wee bit of a slack couple of ends when we let them back into it, but we held ourselves together and got the win on the board.  We were always two up or one up with hammer, so I felt we were always in control”.

Asked if he thought his team’s performance was improving as the week went on, he responded, ” I think we’ve been pretty steady and if we keep doing that, we’ll do the job”.

RESULTS.

Session 6: USA 3, Russia 9; Sweden 6, Canada 4; China 10, Czech Republic 5; Italy 5, Scotland 7.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women Session 4: Sweden 5, Scotland 9

Hannah Fleming’s team continued to dominate the women’s section of the World Junior Championships when they recorded their fourth win so far – by 9-5 over Sweden –  in Saturday afternoon’s session.  This maintains their unbeaten record and they sit alone at the top of the rankings as their title defence stays on course.

Hannah Fleming has lead her team to the top, unbeaten so far

Sweden had last stone in the first end, and they used it to hit for two shots, but the Scots responded straightaway with a two of their own when Fleming drew her final stone onto the button.

Sweden then blanked the third end but Scotland pushed throughout the fourth end and got their reward when they forced Swedish skip Sara McManus to draw just for one.  The Scots then split the house early in the fifth, and this helped them make their first break-through, with a score of two for a 4-3 lead.

They then got a major bonus in the sixth when McManus missed a double take-out attempt completely to hand the Scots a steal of two and a 6-3 lead.

Sweden closed the gap on the next end when McManus drew for two, but the Scots bounced right back in the eighth when Fleming played a trickty draw round her own stone sitting on the top of the twleve-foot ring to tap back Sweden’s shot stone and stay for two more.

A further steal of one point in the ninth made sure of the Scottish victory before they ran Sweden out of stones in the tenth.

After this latest victory, Fleming said, “that wasn’t really as easy as it may have looked.  In the first half they were definitely up for the game and were throwing everything at is.   We managed to keep it a tight game in the first half and in the second half we stepped up a little.  We’re getting used to the bounce of the stones and more used to the ice.  It’s been so consistent and that helps as well”.  She also said, “their  mistake in the sixth end definitely helped.  We were around 80% in that game, and that’s the level we want to be at and we can only now build  on that and game by game increase on it.  We have so far, I think”.

They Scottish women now sit out the next session, and then come onto the ice again to face the Czech Republic on Sunday evening.

RESULTS.

Session 4: Sweden 5, Scotland 9; Russia 9, Canada 3; Czech Republic 6, Switzerland 7 (extra end); Denmark 2, Japan 8.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men’s session 4: Canada 6, Scotland 7  (extra end).

The Scottish men kept their unbeaten run going at the World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia, beating Canada by 7-6 in Saturday morning’s fourth session of men’s play, but it took them all the way to an extra end to win.

Kyle Smith’s team did not make it easy for themselves in this game, as they gave up a score of three in the second end, and found themselves chasing.  As Smith himself explained, “it was a bit colder outside today and the ice had straightened up.  I wasn’t reading it too well in the first two ends and got a bit caught out. My last didn’t quite come off,  I tried to come in off a winger and I went through a hole instead”.

Undeterred, the Scots battled on, scoring  two in the third end after splitting the house early.  Canada only scored one in the fourth when skip Matt Dunstone was heavy with his attempt for two, but, in the fifth, Smith got his angles wrong and his stone slipped on, giving Canada steal of one and a 5-2 half-time lead.

In the sixth, the Scots had decided to blank, but Smith produced an unwanted nose-hit instead to score one.  Canada then blanked the seventh and in the eighth Smith played a perfect freeze to protect his own shot on the button and, rather than risking even more damage, Canada’s Dunstone threw away his last to give up a steal of one.

In the ninth, Canada rather surprisingly hit for one and a 6-4 lead rather than blanking as most spectators expected.  The Scots then carved out the two shots needed from the tenth when, after Canada just missed a difficult freeze, Smith hit accurately to push the game into an extra end.

Looking to steal, the Scots set up the extra end well, only for Smith to hog his first stone.  But he made up for this with a perfect raise onto the button that Dunstone tried to winkle out with a promote take-out, but instead he cleared everything within the four-foot ring, leaving a Scottish stone sitting on the side of the  eight-foot ring as the counter, giving Scotland a steal of one and the game, at 7-6.

Thomas Muirhead and the rest of the Scottish team showed real character to battle back

Afterwards, Smith said, ” that feels fantastic, we just seem to have a good record against Canada”.

Thinking back to his disastrous last shot in the second, he explained, “well, we know we’re going to miss shots at times this week, so we’ve decided we’re just going to stick together as a unit and just back each other up all the way, and that’s the difference”.

And about the game’s conclusion, he added, “we  managed to get our two in the tenth with a wee tap-back, which was fine.  In the extra end Cammie, Kyle and Thomas made every stone perfect and then I hogged  my first, which was just complete stupidity.  But we made him throw his last and…”.

In the same session, Norway beat China by 5-3 and these two teams remain unbeaten at the top of the table, on three wins each.

The Scottish men now sit out Saturday evening’s session, and are back on the ice on Sunday afternoon to face Italy.

RESULTS

Men session 4: Canada 6, Scotland 7 (extra end); China 5, Norway 7; Switzerland 3, USA 6.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women’s Session 3: Canada 2, Scotland 3

The Scottish women now stand alone – on three wins and no losses – at the top of the rankings after the first two days of play at the World Junior Championships in Sochi, Russia.

In their evening game on Friday, they faced Canada and, in what proved to be a tight affair all the way, Hannah Fleming’s team blanked the first two ends, but a good Canadian double take-out forced them to settle for just one shot in the third.

However, this put them in control, and after Canada blanked the fourth, their skip Corryn Brown made a nose-hit instead of rolling to take a single in the fifth to level at 1-1.

In the sixth, Fleming got her angles wrong as she attempted a come-around and tap-back and took one again, rather than the two she was looking for.  Canada blanked again in the seventh and were forced to take just a single again  in the eighth.

With the score at 2-2, the Scots deliberately blanked the ninth to keep last stone in the tenth.  Eventually, Fleming played a double with her last stone but only managed to nudge the second Canadian target, resulting in a tense umpire’s measure between it and a Scottish stone on the opposite side of the eight-foot ring.  The Scots got the verdict and their third win.

The official statistics give an indication of the high quality play in this game.  The Scots were scored at 90% for the team ,with Fleming rated at 89% success and lead Abi Brown given an outstanding 98% for her performance, that included two superb tic shots in the tenth.

Afterwards, Fleming admitted she was concerned as the measure took place.  ” I was extremely nervous about the measure.  We weren’t sure which was closer  and thankfully we got it.  I just didn’t have a look and Lauren (Lauren Gray third player) didn’t give me much enthusiasm, but it was fine.  However, it’s great to win  against Canada, I think they’ll be one of the favourites”.

So far, so good for Hannah Fleming and her team

Speaking about the game, she said “we were happy to play defensively.  It was quite hard to be patient, but we were always one up just waiting for them to make their move. It paid off in the end when we managed to get our one for the win.  Although we set out to be patient,  I think we maybe took it too far, maybe if we’d taken the game on in the middle it might have been different”.

For her part, Canadian skip Brown said, “can’t ask for more than coming to down a measure. They were capitalising on our mistakes and we weren’t capitalising on theirs”.

The Scottish women now face win-less Sweden in their only game on Saturday.

RESULTS.

Session 3: Japan 5, Russia 4; Czech Republic 7, Norway 5; USA 7 , Sweden 3; Canada 2, Scotland 3.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men Session 3: Scotland 9, Switzerland 3

The Scottish men’s 9-3 win over Switzerland in just seven ends of Friday afternoon’s third session of men’s play was the exact opposite of their scrambled win over China in their opener on Thursday evening.

Kyle Smith’s team were in control throughout and he himself was making all the shots, producing an official statistics rating of 95%.  As he explained afterwards, “the boys did the same as they did last night, and I just managed to put stones in the right place, which  made a lot of difference”.

The Scot opened with last stone advantage and used it to score two in the first end.  After this, the Swiss, who were hampered by a last-minute line-up change due to a collision while they practised that saw alternate Kevin Keller replace lead Patrick Poli, blanked the second end, and could only take a single from the third.

In the fourth, the Scots took two again to establish a 4-1 lead, and then stole a single in the fifth when, after Swiss third Tobias Guentensperger missed a crucial double take-out,  Smith played a freeze onto a cluster of three Scottish stones already within the four-foot ring.  When Swiss skip Andre Neunschwander tried to draw round this Scottish collection, he came up short and Scotland had a 5-1 half-time lead.

The Swiss had their best end of the game in the sixth, scoring two to close the gap, but in the seventh, Smith played a precision weighted pick-out to kick out a Swiss stone partially frozen on one of his own, while his shooter stayed to add to the three Scottish stones already in the house.

With this score of four and a 3-9 deficit overall, the Swiss  conceded.

"good execution made all the difference " - Kyle Smith

Smith reflected on the game afterwards, and explaining the score of four, he said, ” there were a couple of times we had  quite a few in the rings, but things just worked out that time”, adding, ” that was a solid performance in every part of the game, we just out-played them.  The difference is that execution let us down last night, now, we just need to keep doing what we did there”.

The Scottish men now face Canada in Friday morning’s fourth session with both teams’ unbeaten records on the line, a game that already looks like it might be a rehearsal for the final, or at least a Page Play-off game.

RESULTS

Session 3: Sweden 11, Czech Republic  4; Scotland 9, Switzerland 3; Italy 5 , Norway 6 (extra end); China 4, Russia 9.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s session 2: Scotland 7, Russia 4

The Scottish women kept their unbeaten record with a 7-4 in over Russia on Friday morning – a session of play that was delayed for half an hour because both of the drivers transporting the teams got lost!

When the games eventually got started, the Scots used last stone advantage to blank the first two ends as they hunted for a big score, and their tactic all but succeeded in the third when, after she split the house with a nose-hit with her first stone, Fleming’s second attempt to hit and stay just rolled too far, forcing the Scots to open their account with just a single shot.

The Scottish women start their journey to success against Russia

Russia managed to score two in the fourth, but the Scots finally managed to get their two in the fifth end, and then again in the seventh when a Russian tap-up effort just failed and Fleming carefully drew into the house for two and a 5-3 lead.

The eighth end was crucial and good for Scotland.  This time Fleming’s hit and roll was wanted and perfect and, in trying to come round it, Russian fourth player Yulia Portunovay ticked a guard to give the Scots a single steal and a 6-3 lead.

Russia scored one in the ninth and eventually Fleming played a nose-hit at the front of the house to score one in the tenth and record her second win.

After this game, Fleming said, “in both games so far the teams have pushed us to our limit and we’ve had to play well, but luckily we have done that.   They played well throughout that game, they were always just behind us”.

Looking at her own team’s performance she said, “I’d say we’re playing eight out of ten and we can still improve a little bit, but so far we’re pleased with our play.  We thought we used the hammer well in that  game – we played really good ends in the fifth and seventh to get our twos.  But they played well  in the latter half of the game and put us under pressure”.

And, when asked about the strain of being  defending champion, she added, “I suppose we’ve got the targets on our backs, but we expected it, and, so far, so good”.

In Friday evening’s third women’s session, the Scottish women face a win-less Canadian team that will still be smarting at their six-end opening session loss to Denmark, who continued their good form with an 8-3 win over Switzerland.

RESULTS

Session 2: Norway 3, USA 8; Switzerland 3, Denmark 8; Scotland 7, Russia 4; Czech Republic 7, Sweden 6.

Standing after 2 sessions: Denmark, Scotland won 2, lost 0; Czech Republic, Japan 1-0; Russia, USA 1-1; Canada, Sweden 0-1; Norway, Switzerland 0-2.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Men session 2: Scotland 7, China 6.

After sitting out the opening session of play, the Scottish men got their campaign underway in Thursday evening’s second men’s session at the World Junior Curling Championship in Sochi, Russia on Thursday evening, opening with a remarkable come-from-behind 7-6 win.

With a seemingly out-of sorts skip Kyle Smith getting his angles and his weight wrong time and again in the first half of the game, China raced out to a 6-1 lead after six ends, helped by single steals when Smith hit the wrong side of the stone with a tap-out attempt in the fifth end and followed that up with a complete miss in the sixth end on an angled double take-out attempt, to give up a steal of one and go 1-6 down.

Scotland steadied the ship with a single in the seventh end, and their remarkable recovery started in the eighth end with a single steal when an attempted Chinese double take-out went wrong.  The key breakthrough came in the ninth, thank to a complete miss by China to give up a further steal of three to level the game at 6-6.  Finally, a further single steal in the tenth, when China rolled out instead of staying, gave Scotland another single steal and an opening 7-6 win that had looked most unlikely an hour earlier.

Scottish third Thomas Muirhead and his team battled to victory

Afterwards, a shell-shocked  Smith admitted, “I don’t really know what to say.  The guys were playing really well in the first half – they played really well for the whole game, but we just quite didn’t get ourselves together with my last shots on each end and gave ourselves a mountain to climb. But we managed to do it somehow”.

He continued, “you never think you’re beaten really, and you’ve just to keep plugging away, and that’s what we managed to do.  We asked the questions and he never answered them.  We got what we wanted – a win – that’s the main thing”.

The Scottish men now face Switzerland in their only game on Friday.

RESULTS.

Session 1: 1: Russia 3, Italy 6; USA 9, Czech Republic  8 (extra end); Canada 9, Switzerland 6; Norway 8, Sweden 5.

Session 2: Scotland 7, China 6; Canada 5, Russia 4; Sweden 10, USA 4; Czech Republic 2, Italy 5.

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

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

Report: Mike Haggerty

Picture: WCF/Richard Gray

Women session 1: Scotland 9, USA 7

Hannah Fleming’s team got the defence of their title off to the best possible start when they beat USA by 9-7 in their opener, a game that they controlled from the third end onwards.

USA won the right to last stone and used it to blank the first end before scoring two with the first blow of the game.

Unfazed by this, the Scots moved into a 4-2 lead when Fleming had a nice tap-back to score four after the end had been set up well by good team play, particularly by third Lauren Gray.

Third Lauren Gray in action against the USA

The Americans blanked the fourth end and could only take a single from the fifth to give Scotland a 4-3 halftime lead. When they came out for the second half of the game, they put the game beyond doubt with another score of four, and although Fleming was heavy with her last draw in the eighth to give up a steal of one which let the USA close with the score at 8-6 to Scotland, the Scottish skip made amends with a good draw for one in the ninth.

Eventually, with only one American counter left, the Scots ran their opponents out of stones in the tenth end, to open with a solid win.

After the game, skip Fleming said, “that was a great start, it was pretty consistent and we played pretty well throughout.  They fought back pretty well in the second half but we managed to stay on top of them”.

Speaking about the two scores of four, she added, “I think our position was pretty good in those ends.  They had a few over-curls which gave us the opportunity to capitalise on their mistakes really”.

She also reflected on her team’s role as defending champions, saying, “I don’t think it’s going to be  any easier, it’s still going to be a challenge for us, but we’ve trained really hard all year, so hopefully it’ll go for us.

Everybody and everything’s as good as we can ask.  The ice is great and we’re really enjoying it so far, it’s nice and swingy”.

For her part, USA skip Miranda Solem said, “there are a few ends we wish we could take back, but overall I think we kept it close, we put the pressure on every other end, we were making the hit and rolls”.   She added, “overall, I don’t think it was a bad opening game, but we wish we could take back those four-enders”.

The Scottish women play twice on Friday, facing Russia , who won their opener by 7-5 against Norway, and then, in the evening, playing Canada who went down to a thumping 1-9 six-end loss to Denmark in their opener.

RESULTS

Women session 1: Canada 1, Denmark 9; Norway 5, Russia 7; Switzerland 4, Japan 8; Scotland 9, USA 7.

The full international story of these Championships is available here: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/

 

Report: Mike Haggerty
Picture: WCF/Richard Gray