Estonia, Japan, Korea and Scotland pick up wins in the first women’s session at the OQE

Team Korea © WCF / Céline Stucki

Estonia, Japan, Korea and Scotland were all opening game winners as the women’s round robin of the Olympic Qualification Event got underway on Saturday morning in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

Newly-crowned European champions Scotland were up against a Czech Republic team with skip Anna Kubeskova returned to the line-up. The Scots edged ahead with a single steal in the third end and then had another single-point steal in the fourth when the Czechs had a complete miss on a take-out.

This gave Scotland a 3-1 lead after four ends. Later, the teams swapped scores of two in the seventh and eighth ends, making the result 6-4 adter eight ends in favour of Scotland.

In the tenth, with a lead of 7-4, Scotland had four stones spread around the house, leaving Czech Republic with an impossible task to remove them all. The Czechs then conceded with a final score of 7-5 to Scotland.

After the game Scotland skip Eve Muirhead said, “We’re really pleased to get out of the gate with a win. Anna Kubeskova is always a tough competitor, we came out fighting and it’s so nice to get a win. The ice is a little different to what we’re used to, but at events you just have to make the ice your friend and not try to fight against it.”

Speaking about the game itself, she added, “We got a nice steal in the third end which flipped the first part of the game. She had no shot in the tenth, so we saw the game away.”

Estonia were up against Turkey in their opener. It was the Turks who took the early advantage, with a score of four in the third end when their skip Dilsat Yildiz hit out an Estonia stone, for a 4-2 lead.

Estonia then brought themselves back into the game with a draw for three in the fourth end and a steal of three in the fifth for an 8-4 lead at the break. A nose-hit for four points in the eighth end gave the Estonians a 12-8 lead.

In the tenth end, Turkey missed out on a chance to lie three points when their skip Dilsat Yildiz was short with her final draw, leaving Estonia’s fourth player Kerli Laidsalu with a simple hit to clear out one of the two Turkey stones sitting in the house and win by 12-11.

After this first win, Estonia skip Liisa Turmann said, “We were really looking forward to getting our first win on the board. We were really prepared to play and fight. We are in a real ‘fight’ mode, and we really needed to have a win on the board, so we’re happy.”

Turkey’s Dilsat Yildiz and Estonia’s Liisa Turmann © WCF / Céline Stucki

Olympic silver medallists Korea faced Latvia in their opening game. They opened with a score of three in the first end and followed that up with steals in the next two ends to take a 6-0 lead.

Scores of two in the sixth and eighth ends – when Korean skip Kim Eun-Jung played a take-out – completed their 10-4 win. After this opener, their coach Peter Gallant said, “This was a chance to feel the ice, get a feeling for the building and everything about it. The girls threw the rock really well, so it was just a matter of adjusting to the ice conditions as the game went along.”

The fourth game of this session saw Olympic bronze medallists Japan face Italy. In the sixth end, with the teams tied at 4-4, Japan had a steal of three through an Italian miss to take a 7-4 lead.

Japan went on the complete their 11-6 win in the eighth end, when their skip Fujisawa Satsuki played a hit to score four points and finish the game.

After this, their coach JD Lind said, “Every game is tough at an event like this, so getting off to a good start is very important. It was a close one for a while there, but nice to get the win. The first game is always the most difficult because you’re trying to figure out the ice conditions and trying to learn.  There were a few mistakes but in the last half of the game we got more comfortable.”

Germany sat out this first session.

Women Session one results: Japan 11-6 Italy; Turkey 11-12 Estonia; Scotland 7-5 Czech Republic; Korea 10-4 Latvia

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Leeuwarden, Netherlands

11 December 2021
Olympic Qualification Event 2021