Day five at the #WMDCC2019

  • Estonia’s Marie Turmann and Harri Lill © WCF / Tom Rowland

The World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2019 in the Sørmarka Arena in Stavanger, Norway has reached its penultimate day of round-robin games.

Here’s a reminder of the qualification format:

From the record 48-teams competing at this championship, only 16 teams will progress to the play-offs. The teams in first and second place in the six groups after the round-robin will qualify. So will the four third-placed teams with the best Draw Shot Challenge results. The play-off teams will all secure a place in next season’s new 20-team World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.

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S24: Dramatic final day of round-robin games to come

A tense final day of round-robin action is in prospect on Thursday (25 April), with 13 of the 16 available play-off slots still to be decided. The stakes are even higher than just play-off qualification, with only the top 16 teams qualifying directly for next year’s championship, to be held in Kelowna, Canada.

Wednesday evening’s 24th session featured all eight teams in Group C, and Czech Republic had a 10-8 win over China when their female player Zuzana Paulova successfully played a double take-out on two Chinese stones to win and keep her team’s qualification hopes alive.

Meanwhile, Italy beat France by 6-4 to move to the top of the table in that group.

After their win, Paulova said, “That was a big shot [to win], we knew that we had to score two, so we thought we had to make it and we did it.” Her partner Tomas Paul put the result in perspective, “We need to win against Wales tomorrow now and we should be fine for the play-offs, so this was an important win here.”

In other games in this group, Wales beat Croatia by 9-5 and Australia, who are still in the play-off hunt, beat Nigeria by 15-3.

Also on Wednesday night, Denmark beat Romania by 12-7 and Belarus beat Ukraine by 8-1, although none of these four teams can now qualify for the play-offs.

Results session 23: Australia 15-3 Nigeria; China 8-10 Czech Republic; Romania 7-12 Denmark; Ukraine 1-8 Belarus; Croatia 5-9 Wales; Italy 6-4 France

Czech Republic’s Zuzana Paulova and Tomas Paul, © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

S23: Greece record first world curling championship win

United States beat Spain by 8-5 for a sixth successive win that retains their unbeaten record but, with one more game to go, it is not yet clear which teams will qualify from Group F.

However, in the same group, there was a historic first-ever win for Greece, when they beat Kosovo by 7-4.

After their win against Spain, United States’ Cory Christensen said, “We got off to a slow start but then we put together some good shots in our Power Play and that four was the game-changer.” More generally, her partner, Olympic champion, John Shuster added, “It was really tricky to get the ends started. Cory made some clutch draws that kept us in the game. Now we’re going to have to come out and really manage the ice.”

The Greece duo were delighted when they came off the ice after their win over Kosovo. Alexandros Arampatzis said, “A first win in world championships history for Greece – it’s a very nice feeling. Now, maybe we’ll win the next game too.” Greece’s Eleni Zacharia added, “We’re enjoying it. Losing’s not very nice but the rest is pretty awesome. The whole situation, meeting all sorts of new people… it’s pretty cool.”

In Group A, Canada maintained their unbeaten record with a 9-3 win over Hong Kong, while Sweden, including Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg, beat Japan by 7-4. In the other games of this session, Russia beat Slovenia by 8-3 to stay in the qualification hunt in Group F along with United Sates and Spain, while Poland beat Latvia by 7-5 in the same group.

With only the best four of the six third-placed teams going on to the play-offs, final qualification is set to go down to Thursday, the last day of round-robin play.

Results session 23: Kosovo 4-7 Greece; Slovenia 3-8 Russia; Sweden 7-4 Japan; Canada 9-3 Hong Kong; United States 8-5 Spain; Latvia 5-7 Poland

Greece’s Eleni Zacharia, © WCF / Tom Rowland

S22: England, Hungary and Switzerland secure play-off berths

England have now earned a place in the play-offs after their 11-5 Group E win over Kazakhstan in Wednesday afternoon’s 22nd round-robin session. This brings England to a won six, lost none record so far.

Hungary who are on the same record in Group B, and Switzerland who have lost just one game so far, also had wins that saw them qualify on Wednesday afternoon.

“We know you can never rest – anything can happen in mixed doubles,” said Team England’s Anna Fowler. “We are feeling like we are peaking at the right time” she added.

New Zealand came out on top of their Group E game over Ireland with an 8-4 win. The New Zealanders had a strong start with five points in their first end. They were able to hang onto the lead despite giving up two points in the seventh end when they used their Power Play.

“We played quite strong for the first four ends, but later on we just rushed ourselves a wee bit, and we just weren’t quite making the shots. But we got the result we wanted in the end,” said New Zealand’s Sean Becker.

Qatar won their first game of the championship, with a 7-3 final score over Saudi Arabia, also in Group E, thanks to steals in three ends.

In Group B, Hungary beat Chinese Taipei 8-5 and Switzerland followed suit with a 7-2 win over Guyana. These results qualify both Hungary and Switzerland for the play-offs.

Results session 22: Ireland 4-8 New Zealand; Kazakhstan 5-11 England; Chinese Taipei 5-8 Hungary; Switzerland 7-2 Guyana; Korea 6-7 Finland; Qatar 7-3 Saudi Arabia

Switzerland in action against Guyana, © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

S21: China and Italy remain apace in Group C

While many teams with opposite records have met in the round robin, not so in session 21. Three teams with identical records faced off, further diversifying the standings by the end of the session.

In Group C, Wales and China, who each had a 3-1 record heading into the session, went head-to-head. China came out on top with a 9-2 win. China now tie for first in Group C with Italy who beat Nigeria 18-0.

“Our concentration helped most because we didn’t pay attention to our opponents, we just focused on our own strategies,” said Dejia Zou. “Our strategy was a little bit different from previous games. In today’s game we switched the sequence of throwing the stones. I threw the first and the fifth stones.”

France and Australia, both with two wins and two losses each before session 21, had eight ends of tight play. Australia were up one with hammer heading into the eighth end. France were able to steal one point to force an extra end. Australia took one point in that end to win 6-5.

In Group A, Belarus and Romania each had a 1-3 record before Wednesday afternoon’s draw. Belarus were leading by two points heading into the eighth end but allowed Romania to take three points to win the game by a score of 8-7.

Debutants Ukraine are still looking for their first win of the tournament after losing to Denmark 3-12 after seven ends.

Croatia got off to a tough start in their game against Czech Republic. Earlier in the morning Croatian athlete Dario Vukovic cut his finger, which required stitches, meaning his team arrived 30 minutes late for session 21.

“It’s been a little bit stressful,” said Vukovic. “Not the morning we planned but the Czechs are really good so we feel bad we didn’t have a normal morning to prepare and to play better.”

Per Rule 11, in the Rules of Curling, Czech Republic were awarded one point for every 15 minutes of delay. Croatia started the event in the third end, despite Vukovic being unable to sweep. Czech Republic won by a score of 8-2.

Results session 21: Wales 2-9 China; Ukraine 3-12 Denmark; Nigeria 0-18 Italy; France 5-6 Australia; Belarus 7-8 Romania; Czech Republic 8-2 Croatia

China’s Dejia Zou, © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

S20: Lithuania earn first win while Norway remain undefeated

Lithuania beat Belgium by a score of 10-4 to earn their first win at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2019 on Wednesday morning’s session 20 of the round robin. The score was tied at four points each after the fifth end, but Lithuania pulled ahead by taking four points in the sixth end before stealing two points in the seventh end. Lithuania now tie Belgium’s Group D record of 1-5.

“It’s a first win for our team. We are really happy. We were not very strong at the beginning but we managed somehow to take this win,” said Lithuania’s Vytis Kulakauskas.

Norway continue undefeated in Group D after winning 8-4 against Germany. Slovakia won 14-3 over Mexico, improving to a 2-4 record and taking sole possession of fifth place in the group.

Scotland and Estonia are tied with a 5-1 record after Estonia beat the Scots by a score of 8-6. Scotland were down four with hammer coming home and had already used their Power Play. They managed to take two points in the final end but weren’t able to close the gap.

“It’s great to be back after the game against Norway yesterday wasn’t our best game this week. We just wanted to put a good show on and show what we can play,” said Estonia’s Marie Turmann. She added, “Every year we have qualified for the play-offs and this year it’s the same goal. We hope to still get there and we’ll have to play well tomorrow as well.”

In Group B, Turkey won 9-2 over Netherlands and are now ranked third in their group. Austria beat Brazil by a score of 8-5, helped by a five-point fourth end that gave them a lead the Brazilians couldn’t catch up to.

Results session 20: Mexico 3-14 Slovakia; Scotland 6-8 Estonia; Netherlands 2-9 Turkey; Brazil 5-8 Austria; Germany 4-8 Norway; Belgium 4-10 Lithuania

Lithuania’s Vytis Kulakauskas © WCF / Jason Bennett