Australia edge past closest rivals in first extra end game

  • Australian third Jay Merchant had an impressive game Photo: WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

Australia and New Zealand battled all the way to an extra end before the Australian men emerged as 6-5 winners in Tuesday (11 November) morning's fourth session of round-robin play in the Pacific Asia Curling Championships, being staged in the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

This was the first extra end game of the event so far, but it was not the only tight men's game of the session. The Japanese men, without last stone advantage, needed a single steal in the tenth end to finally beat Chinese Taipei by 7-6 to record their first win.

By contrast, newcomers Hong Kong - not surprisingly - found defending champions China too hot to handle, going down to a 0-25 loss in just seven ends, while Korea beat Kazakhstan by 12-2 in another game that had an early finish.

These results mean that, at this early stage, China and Korea share the lead - both undefeated so far with two wins.

They Said It:

Ian Palangio: skip, Australia (after 6-5 extra end win over New Zealand):

"That was a classic Australia/New Zealand battle, it was very tight the entire way.

"The Kiwis played well and Peter (de Boer, NZ skip) played an amazing shot in the tenth end to tie it up. Then I had a short run-back with the final shot of the extra end and that was just about as easy as I could hope for - but it was still pretty tough.

"Our third Jay (Merchant) had a couple of key come-arounds to put the pressure on them in the last few ends. It was back and forth and we managed the last few ends well. That's our second game, and we're starting to play a bit better."

Kosuke Morozumi; lead, Japan (after 7-6 win over Chinese Taipei):

"We're pleased to have that win. They really pushed us but we played a bit better. We've worked hard for this competition - we went to Canada for a month before this - and I feel we coped better with the tension out there."

There were two women's games in this session, and Japan beat New Zealand by 9-3, helped largely by a score of four in the fourth end, for a third win that keeps them at the top of the rankings, undefeated.

In a repeat of last year's final, China faced Korea. The Chinese women had the better start, stealing two in the second end after Korea blanked the first end. Two further single steals in the third and fourth ends, by Korea, eventually set them up for a 6-4 win that puts them in second place on the table, although they have played one more game than third-placed Korea.

They Said It:

Sijia Liu; skip, China (after 6-4 win over Korea):

"That was our fourth game and we're getting more familiar with the ice, knowing what to do better. The most important thing for us is that we play as a whole team, playing every rock one-by-one and just staying focussed on the game."

RESULTS Session 4:

MEN:

Japan 7-6 Chinese Taipei; Australia 6-5 New Zealand (extra end); China 25-0 Hong Kong; Korea 12-2 Kazakhstan.

WOMEN:

Japan 9-3 New Zealand; Korea 4-6 China.

STANDINGS after 4 Sessions (W-L):

MEN

China 2-0
Korea 2-0
Australia 1-1
Japan 1-1
New Zealand 1-1
Chinese Taipei 1-1
Hong Kong 0-2
Kazakhstan 0-2

WOMEN

Japan 3-0
China 3-1
Korea 2-1
Kazakhstan 0-3
New Zealand 0-3