Canada’s Jeff Stoughton won the top-of-the table clash between the event’s two unbeaten teams at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship when he beat Scotland’s Tom Brewster by 7-3 in Tuesday evening’s eleventh session of round-robin play in Regina, Canada.
This gives Canada their seventh win and a clear lead at the top of the rankings for the first time in the week.
Canada stamped their authority from the off, scoring two in the first end and then stealing a single in the second when Brewster was light with his final draw. After this, despite the Scots’ best efforts, Canada bossed the game and eventually Scotland conceded in the ninth end.
Afterwards, Canadian skip Stoughton said, “We got off to a good start with the two in the first end, and after that, it was fun. We kept in control from then on”.
For his part, Scottish skip Brewster conceded that the Canadians held the upper hand. “I’d have liked to have played better. We missed a couple of shots and even in the first end I could have forced the one. But we’ll gain from that experience and learn from it. Hopefully, if we play well enough for the rest of the week, we’ll get another chance at them”.
To set up this showdown, Canada had beaten France by 11-5 in the afternoon session. But France bounced back from that by beating China by 10-3, to move onto five wins behind Scotland on six, and alongside Sweden and Switzerland. Despite their win, French skip Thomas Dufour expressed some disquiet. “Tonight there was a degree of nervousness, and communication was harder than usual. We didn’t play as well as we have been playing in other games and that surprised us a little”.
In the afternoon, Switzerland did their medal prospects no harm, with an 8-6 extra end win over the Czech Republic in a game that saw Czech skip Jiri Snitil being heavy with his last draw shot to squander a chance to win. About this win, Swiss skip Christof Schwaller said, “that’s one more win, closer to the play-off, but a hard win. Today we had a good day. Now we must play, play, play to find the right weight. With experience it will come”.
In another tight afternoon game, Norway – last year’s silver medallists – kept their medal hopes alive with a 7-6 win over USA. On just two wins so far, USA are now almost certainly out of medal contention.
Afterwards, skip Ulsrud said, “that was a big win for us. It’s been a struggle for us this week but now hopefully this will kick-start us. I feel like a cat with nine lives and I don’t think I have too many left. I don’t think we’re out yet but we need to win a lot more games”.
This result means that USA’s ambitions are hanging by a thread. Their only hope now is to reach a tie-breaker if they win everything else and other results go their way. Second player Joe Polo said, “we played pretty well that game and gave ourselves a few chances. We made some great shots but that's the way it goes”.
Sweden’s Niklas Edin kept himself in strong play-off contention with his second win over the day, beating winless Denmark comfortably by 9-3, to leave Tommy Stjerne’s veterans without a win from seven starts, having earlier gone down by 8-10 to Korea in a basement battle.
Afterwards, Edin said, “this was a perfect game for us. We were really tired after four consecutive draws and a really tough morning game against Germany, so we wanted an easy, quick game, and to play well. We now have to win some more to reach the play-offs, then we’ll see”.
Following their win over Denmark, Korea then went down to Germany by 3-9, to give German skip Andy Kapp and his team – on three wins overall – a slim Play-off lifeline for the remaining round-robin sessions.
Standings after 11 sessions:
Czech Republic 2-5
Session 10: Switzerland 8, Czech Republic 6; France 5, Canada 11; Norway 7, USA 6; Denmark 8, Korea 10.
Session 11: Germany 9, Korea 3; Sweden 9, Denmark 3; France 10, China 3; Canada 7, Scotland 3.
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Scores mirrored on: http://results.worldcurling.org/Championship.aspx?id=396
Event websites for news & photos: http://www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/