New Zealand secured their play-off place, and remain undefeated, in the Youth Olympic Games 2020 mixed curling competition, after Monday (13 January) night’s 12th session of round-robin play.
The team claimed their fourth victory with a single-point last-stone-draw, from skip Hunter Walker, in an extra end, that gave his team a 6-5 win over Norway. They are the first team to secure a play-off place in Group C.
Group C: New Zealand overcome nerves
After the game, Walker said, “[When taking that last shot] I was shaking a little. I took a deep breath and kept doing what I’ve been doing. We’re excited [for the play-offs now]. It’s amazing to be here.”
New Zealand never allowed their opponents, Norway, to have a lead during the game, but twice found themselves giving up the advantages they had built.
First, New Zealand scored single points in each of the first three ends for a 3-0 lead. Norway then responded in the same fashion in the next three ends. After six ends, the scores were level, 3-3. In the seventh end, New Zealand then went in front again, scoring two points, 5-3, before Norway’s fourth player, Grunde Buraas tied things up once again in the eighth end, 5-5.
In the extra end, New Zealand’s skip, Walker, had an open draw for the win, which he made. The game ended 6-5, to New Zealand.
Also, in Group C, Great Britain kept their hopes of the play-offs alive with a 6-2 win over Slovenia. This result was helped largely by steals in the final two ends – a single point in end six, followed by two more stolen points in end seven.
France’s first win
Remaining in Group C, France had their first win of the competition so far. They defeated Turkey 6-4. In this game, it was a decisive two-point steal in the fifth end that set skip Leo Tuaz, and his team, up for the win.
After the game Tuaz said, “The win is beautiful, amazing, I don’t have the words. To lose three games was terrible, but to win one was great.
“Turkey played very very good and the game was complicated. The two points in the fifth end decided this game. Me and my team were very nervous in the last end, it was a lot of pressure, but we won.”
The final game of the session was between Germany and China, in Group B. A win for China would have meant qualification, but it was Germany who emerged the winners, by 7-6.
Going into the eighth and final end Germany’s skip Benny Kapp, and his team were down 4-6. However, scoring three points in that last end, Kapp secured Germany’s second win at this competition. This win puts Germany in second place om Group B, with their sights still firmly on qualification.
“It’a such a great feeling [to win] because we knew we played well,” said Kim Sutor, Germany’s third player. “It was a crazy [back-and-forth] game. We stayed positive, stayed together as a team and told each other we could do it – that’s curling, being a team.”
Session 12 results: France 6-4 Turkey; Great Britain 6-2 Slovenia; Norway 5-6 New Zealand; Germany 7-6 People’s Republic of China
Q Switzerland 4-0
Q New Zealand 4-0
Great Britain 2-2