Scotland’s Tom Brewster and his team kept their dream debut going as they beat China by 5-3 on Tuesday morning to record their sixth successive win at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Regina, Canada in the ninth session of round-robin play.
This puts the Scots at the top of the rankings and sets up one of world curling’s classic showdowns in Tuesday evening’s round-robin session – against Canada, who are also unbeaten, and will play their sixth game, against France, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Scots were first to show in their game against China’s Yansong Ji, with a steal of one in the second end, but the teams then traded singles all the way until the seventh end when the score was tied at 3-3. The Scots blanked the eighth end and finally managed the break-through in the ninth when they emerged with two points from an end that saw many stones clustered within the eight-foot ring.
With China under time-clock pressure, they made mistakes in the tenth, giving Scotland the simplest of tasks in running them out of stones for their win.
Afterwards, Brewster said, “we weren’t that sharp this morning”, and , looking forward to playing the hosts in front of a sold-out stadium and on nationwide live TV, he said, “it’s going to be fun – either way win or lose it doesn’t matter, we’re six and zero – fantastic”.
Elsewhere, Sweden moved into a strong position, on four wins, with an extra end 8-7 win over Germany. Swedish skip Niklas Edin was delighted with this win. “we fought well, and it is so good to get this victory, it was a really important game. It feels fantastic to win this game”.
“We felt good in the extra end, before then it was nervous all the way, and we had to struggle with the time as well. Now, we’ve played nearly all the good teams and I think we are favourites among all the teams that are left except Canada. We feel we have it in our own hands. If we keep playing this well, we have a great chance for the play-off”.
Switzerland’s 7-4 victory over Norway came after a good start which saw the Swiss establish a three-point lead after just three ends. This means that, like Norway and France, who sat the session out, Switzerland are on four wins, just behind leaders Scotland and Canada, and remain in real medal contention. Swiss skip Christof Schwaller confirmed this view, saying, “That was very important – another win nearer to the top four. I think that was one of our best games so far and we have to keep that going for the next game”.
Meanwhile a bemused Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud was at a loss to explain why his team was now sitting on a 2-4 record. “This has been the story of the week for us. Our stats are near the top in every position, but that doesn’t help us win any games. It’s just one of those weeks where nothing is going our way...it must be the pants”.
In the fourth game of the session, USA scored five in the fourth end on their way to an 8-4 win over the Czech Republic. This result means that USA and the Czechs both have just two wins from six starts, making qualification for the medal stages unlikely for either.
This win was a bounce-back for USA after battling and losing against Canada on Monday evening, and USA skip Pete Fenson said, “we drew from what we did well (against Canada) and tried to bring it out here today and do it well again…and I thought we did. We’re playing better, and we gotta keep stepping it up a little bit every game”.
Standings after nine sessions:
Czech Republic 2-4
Session 9: China 3, Scotland 5; Switzerland 7, Norway 4; Sweden 8, Germany 7 (extra end): USA 8, Czech Republic 4.
TV & Web: http://www.worldcurling.org/ford-world-mens-curling-championship-2011-tv-web-coverage
Live Scores: http://www.curling.ca/championships/curlcast-1
Scores mirrored on: http://results.worldcurling.org/Championship.aspx?id=396
Event websites for news & photos: http://www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/