Leaders race between China, Korea and Japan men continues
China, Korea, and Japan, the top three teams at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2019, have a clear lead in the standings over the remainder of the competition after session six.
Both China and Korea stay undefeated, with six wins, while Japan is on their tail with five wins and one loss.
Trailing them are New Zealand and Chinese Taipei, each with three wins and three losses.
Kazakhstan won their second game of the week, against Hong Kong, 8-5.
Two days remain of round-robin play, with the men playing three more sessions. This year, the gold medallist from the men’s side will earn a place at the LGT World Men’s Curling Championship 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland.
After their 21-0 win against Nigeria this morning (5 November), Japan was eventually pushed to the limit against New Zealand in their evening game.
Japan held a 3-2 lead at the fifth end break then scored three points in the sixth end to go up 6-2. All was looking well until New Zealand lined up for three points of their own in the seventh end to close the gap 6-5.
“In the seventh end I made a mistake in the strategy so that really put the pressure on us,” explained Yuta Matsumura, skip of Japan.
The two teams were tied in the final end, 7-7, when Japan was faced with a decision on Matsumura’s final two stones, “We thought about peeling the guard, but since I knew my next shot was going to be a draw, we decided to get the feeling for that.
Matsumura placed his final stone on the button to win, 8-7, and boosted the teams’ confidence moving forward.
“A nice tight game is always better to have than a lop sided one. This year, the championship is win or nothing, so it feels very different.”
Chinese Taipei took to the ice against Australia in their second key match-up of the day, after a last-stone loss to New Zealand in the morning.
Things were going in their favour with steals in four consecutive ends to take a 7-0 lead after five ends. Australia managed a single point in the sixth, before shaking the following end, 8-1.
“We’re finally getting a bit more handle on the ice – it was a little difficult at the start of the week. We had to terrible losses to China and Korea that weren’t even close so that made us focus on these games even more,” said Chinese Taipei skip, Randolph Shen.
“We had rocks in really good positions in the house and they were making maybe half shots but I think they were sliding well. We got steals but I think the luck was on our side today.”
This year, Chinese Taipei has a new front end and Shen is looking for the team to gain more international experience from competing in Shenzhen.
“They haven’t played at this level before so our goal is to get them comfortable at this type of event – get them comfortable with the environment, the cameras around. We are more looking to the future with these players rather than having a successful week – if we do that then that’s great, but we are looking past that,” he explained.
Results session six: Korea 24-2 Nigeria; New Zealand 7-8 Japan; China 12-4; Qatar; Australia 1-8 Chinese Taipei; Hong Kong 5-8 Kazakhstan
Standings after session six
New Zealand 3-3
Chinese Taipei 3-3
Hong Kong 1-5