Local girl Eve Muirhead kept her dream of a unique fourth world junior title alive when she led her Scottish team to a 7-6 extra end win over Russia’s Anna Sidorova in the World Junior Curling Championships’ Page 1 versus 2 Play-off game on Saturday morning in Perth, Scotland.
This win puts the Scots into Sunday afternoon’s final in front of a sell-out crowd. She will then either meet Russia again or Canada’s Trish Paulsen, who face each other in Saturday evening’s sole semi-final, after the Canadians beat Sweden’s Jonna McManus by 9-6 in the Page 3 versus 4 game.
Despite this loss, Sweden’s Championship is not over, as they will face the loser of the semi-final in the bronze medal game on Sunday afternoon.
By her own admission, Muirhead had a poor game against Russia. She said, “it’s definitely a feeling of relief for me. I didn’t have a good game out there. I couldn’t get my weight at all, but the team played excellently and that’s what kept us in that game”.
She added, “even in the first end, we should have started out with a two and we didn’t. We knew it was just going to be one of those games where we’d just need to keep going. We came out on top, thanks to my team rather than me”.
Although the Scots battled to victory, Russia had the chance to score a game-killing four in the ninth, but Sidorova’s attempted take-out was not strong enough, handing the Scots a steal of one instead.
For her part, Sidorova said, “Of course I’m disappointed, it was very tight and it was bad luck on our side. I don’t mind facing Canada in the semi final. We can beat anyone, I know that we can and we will try to do it.”
With her sister and normal third player Sara still playing fourth stones, Sweden’s Jonna McManus just could not find consistency in the Page 3 versus 4 against Canada. By contrast, as she has done for the past few days, Canada’s Paulsen gradually built the pressure.
She had an early break-through when she had a tap-up for three in the third and eventually left the Swedes with an ambitious triple take-out in the tenth to score the two points that would put the game into an extra end. Although the Swedes moved all three stones, they couldn’t make the score, giving Canada a steal of one for the win that kept their title dream alive.
Afterwards, Paulsen said, “It was not a really great game for us against them in the round robin. We weren’t playing our best and they had a strong game against us at the start of the week. We knew that they would play strong against us in this game. We just ended up on top we played some really good shots. The girls played really good”.
Junior Women’s Standings after Page Playoffs:
1. Scotland 8-2
2. Russia 7-3
3. Canada 7-4
4. Sweden 6-5
5. USA 5-5
6. Switzerland 5-5
7. Norway 4-5
8. Japan 3-6
9. Czech Republic 3-6
10. France 1-8
Women, Page Playoff: (3v4) Canada 9, Sweden 6; (1v2) Russia 6, Scotland 7.
Women’s Semi-Final: Russia v Canada – 18:00 (local) Saturday
Men’s Semi-Final: Switzerland v Canada – 18:00 (local) Saturday – LIVE WEBCAST
Men’s Bronze: Norway v loser of semi-final – 09:00 (local) Sunday
Men’s Final/Gold: Sweden v winner of semi-final – 09:00 (local) Sunday - LIVE WEBCAST
Women’s Bronze: Sweden v loser of semi-final 13:00 (local) Sunday
Women’s Final/Gold: Scotland v winner of semi-final – 13:00 (local) Sunday – LIVE WEBCAST
Event website: http://www.wjcc2011.com
Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wjcc2011
Results are mirrored on the WCF results database: http://results.worldcurling.org/default.aspx
Live webcast: http://www.worldcurling.org/wjcc-2011-web-coverage