Russia women pick up first win at Olympic test event

  • Russia skip Maria Baksheeva directs her team Photo: © WCF / Richard Gray

All four results in Sunday (19 February) afternoon’s sixth session of round-robin play at the VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2017 were significant, with Scotland losing their unbeaten record and Russia gaining their first win.

Sweden also won, as did Canada, and this now means a three-way tie at the top-of-the-table, at this 2018 Olympic Winter Games test event.

Neither Russia or Hungary had gathered a win before they came onto the ice to face each other in this session and it was Russia who took the advantage. They broke the early dead-lock with a score of two points in the fourth end and then a single-point steal in the fifth end to take a 4-2 lead into the break.

The second half was tense. Hungary scored one point in the sixth end and then Russia blanked the seventh and eighth ends before scoring one point in the ninth to restore their two-point lead, at 5-3. Hungary ran out of stones in the tenth end when Russia skip Maria Baksheeva cleared the sole Hungarian stone in the house with a promote double, to claim her team’s first win of the week, at 5-3.

The lead changed hands six times in the game between unbeaten table-toppers Scotland and Switzerland. The Scots opened with a single-point steal in the first end and followed that up with a steal of two points in the second, for a 3-0 lead. Switzerland then opened their account with two points in the third end and stole a further two in the fourth end when Scottish skip Sophie Jackson could not pull off an angled tap-up. Another two points in the sixth end by Scotland after they had blanked the fifth end gave Scotland a 5-4 lead. Switzerland responded again, scoring one in the seventh end and stealing another single in the eighth for 6-5.

Scotland’s Jackson was able to draw for two points in the ninth end to go into the tenth 7-6 up, but without last stone. In the tenth, Switzerland skip Selina Witschonke was able to draw her last stone into the four-foot ring to score two points and take an 8-7 win.

The game between hosts Korea and Canada was also a tight affair. A score of three points in the fifth end gave Korea a 4-2 lead at the break. But, a stronger second half by Canada saw them score two in the sixth end to level the game and then, after Korea had blanked ends seven and eight, a further steal of one in the ninth gave Canada the lead, at 5-4 for the first time since the opening end. In the tenth end, Korea’s skip Min Ji Kim was too tight with her final take-out attempt, handing Canada a further steal – of two points – and a 7-4 win.

By contrast with these three tight games, Sweden were always in control against Turkey. They opened with a score of two points in the first end and then had a steal of two-points in the second. Turkey got onto the board with a single point in the third end, but after this Sweden moved gradually ahead to win by 9-2 in eight ends.

They said it

Almida De Val; vice skip, Sweden (after 9-2 win over Turkey): “We were just thinking about playing our game and not focusing on our opponents, but just focusing on us and having fun on the ice. I think we often don’t think about the scoreboard, we just take one end at a time, one stone at a time and just keep on playing. We kept focused – we supported each other.”

Maria Baksheeva; skip, Russia (after 5-3 win over Hungary): “We really wanted to win our first game and finally we did it! I can’t say that we totally controlled the game but, I think we were a little bit better than our opponents – they played really good. The start of the week was not as good as we expected. We should relax a bit now and I hope we can move forward. We still have chances!”

Selina Witschonke; skip, Switzerland (after 8-7 win over Scotland): “[The game was] so good because we lost the two games we had yesterday and two days ago so I am very happy we could win one game again. Yesterday evening, we had a speech with our home team to discuss what could be our faults. For example, communication is a bit tricky because of the fans but we managed it! I think this game we said: don’t be nervous, just play curling – It’s a normal curling game.”

Results women's session six: Korea 4-7 Canada; Turkey 2-9 Sweden; Switzerland 8-7 Scotland; Hungary 3-5 Russia

Standings after women’s session six (W-L):

Canada 4-1
Scotland 4-1
Sweden 4-1
USA 3-1
Korea 3-2
Switzerland 2-2
Japan 1-3
Russia 1-3
Turkey 1-4
Hungary 0-5

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WCTV highlghts: next live game: Canada v USA [men] (at 19.00, +9 UTC)