March 21, 2012
After twelve sessions of round-robin play at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2012 in Lethbridge, Canada, four teams – Canada, Korea, Sweden and Switzerland - now share top spot.
In a table-topping clash, Canada found themselves 2-3 down after Korea drew nicely for three points in the third end, but they levelled in the fourth end and finally took the lead in the sixth before going on to win 7-5.
Afterwards, Korean skip Ji-Sun Kim, who led the field before this game, said, “I enjoyed that game very much, but we were just unlucky. We played well, but Team Canada is very good. It’s OK though, we are still near the top of the standings. We should make the playoffs - I think if we win tonight we should be OK.”
The Canadians had third player Jessica Mair restored to their line-up after illness, and skip Heather Nedohin thought this was crucial. She said, “as much as it’s great having a fifth like Amy (Nixon) being able to step in, there’s nothing like the four of us – our core unit. It felt really good out there and it was nice to have Jess back. We needed to come out and play our ‘A’ game and when we needed a shot it was made.”
Switzerland is one of the teams making quiet progress this week, and they grabbed a share of the top spot with a business-like 8-4 win over Italy. They took the early lead with two points in the second end and just kept on top of the game after that. Afterwards, Swiss skip Mirjam Ott said, “it was a close game, we really had to perform well and we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. We were in control but never could score a high house. That’s another win for us but there are still three games to go so you cannot say how it will turn out.”
Clearly, USA have put their opening four losses well behind them. By contrast, they carved out their fourth successive win in this session, against the Czech Republic. Their play in the eighth end sealed their win, with skip Allison Pottinger drawing nicely to score two on their way to a 6-4 victory. Afterwards, she said, “it was a good solid game and we felt pretty good”. Looking forward, she said, “each game is really important and we’ve worked really hard to focus on process – all that matters now is the first end of our next game. We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Sweden had the best possible start to their game against China when, after good build-up play, fourth player Maria Prytz had the relatively simple task of rolling in another Swedish stone to the collection already in the house, to score five points and give her team a seemingly unassailable lead. But China took the Swedes all the way to the tenth end. Skip Bingyu Wang drew to score two points in the third end to start their fight-back, but their opening end loss was just too much, and Sweden won by 7-5, to join the four-way leaders’ tie.
After the game, Swedish lead and skip Margaretha Sigfridsson said, “we were pleased with the five in the first end but we know that China can steal, so we had to be careful for the rest of the game. We knew that Korea was playing Canada this morning and Switzerland later, so that’s good that the teams around us are playing each other. It’s too early to think about play-offs, but if we keep winning our games, we will keep our place in the tables, and that’s the most important. And I think there’s a little bit of room for us to get better.”
For her part, losing Chinese skip Bingyu Wang said, “today I think we lost one end and gave away five points - it’s so difficult to come back from that. Right now I don’t think we will make the play-offs but we just want to play. We have three games left and I hope we play better and win them. The main problem has been that we have some new players and this is their first world championship. I think they have learned a lot, and we hope we can play better next year”.
Session 12: Korea 5, Canada 7; Italy 4, Switzerland 8; Czech Republic 4, USA 6; Sweden 7, China 5.
Standings after 12 Draws/Sessions:
Czech Republic 2-6