China and Japan top the rankings with two wins after the men's second session

  • Japan win their second game to sit joint first in the rankings © WCF / Tom Rowland

The second men’s session at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2018 saw Australia, China, Japan and Korea win in the Gangneung Curling Centre, leaving China and Japan at the top the standings with two wins each.

Japan started strongly against New Zealand, scoring two points in the first end and stealing a single point in the second end for a 3-0 lead.

New Zealand got their first point on the board when skip Scott Becker was forced to draw his last stone to the four-foot to score a single point in the fourth end.

Then in the fifth end, already sitting three shot stones, Japan skip Yuta Matsumura drew his final stone to the edge of the four-foot for a score of four points and a 7-1 lead at the break. After the break Japan stole two points in the sixth end and another three points in the seventh end, after which New Zealand conceded giving Japan the win, 12-1.

After their win, Japanese skip, Yuta Matsumura said, “This was not our first game, we knew more about the ice and it worked. We will continue this game plan in our next game.”

China had a tough start in their game again Hong Kong, when their skip, Zou Qiang, faced four Hong Kong counters with his last stone in the first end. Zou was slightly heavy with his draw and gave up a steal of one point.

In the second end, China recovered to score three points, then went on to score two more points in the fourth end for a 5-2 lead.

In the seventh end, Hong Kong skip, Jason Chang, played a double take-out with his final stone to score a single point. Then, In the eighth end, China extended their lead when skip, Qiang Zou hit a Hong Kong stone at the back of the house to score three points which was enough for the win, 10-3.

After their loss in the first session against China, Korea came back strong with a convincing performance against Qatar. They capitalised on their last stone advantage in the first end, with a score of four points after a hit-and-stay by skip, SooHyuk Kim. Korea went on to win the game 11-1 after seven ends.

The session’s final game between Australia and Kazakhstan went all the way to the last stone. Kazakhstan opened the scoring with a steal of two points in the first end after Australia’s fourth player, Dean Hewitt, was heavy with his last stone. Kazakhstan would then score a single point in the fourth end, then steal single points in both the fifth and sixth ends for a 5-3 lead.

In the seventh end, Hewitt was left with an open hit with his final stone to score three points and take a 6-5 lead. Then, in the tenth end with the final stone of the game, Hewitt played a hit-and-stay for one point and the win, 7-6.

Australia skip, Jay Merchant said after their game: “I’m glad we gave you something to be excited about out there. I think Kazakhstan, their performance increases every single year that they come to this event. And this year is no exception. They played outstanding out there and we had a battle on our hands, that came down to Dean throwing a pistol with his last shot. And he made it.”

Having been mentioned by his skip, Hewitt added: “Obviously, in the first end, I missed it and that was a little tough. But going into the last end I was comfortable with the shot and went out there and just played it, made sure I gave it to my sweepers and they swept it really well.”

The championships continue today with the women's first session at 14:00 Korea Standard Time.

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