Canada and Japan top Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s rankings

  • Japan skip, Yuta Matsumura © WCF / Jeffrey Au

Wins for hosts Canada – by 9-5 over Italy, and Japan – 9-6 victors over Norway - kept these two teams in joint top spot in the rankings after Sunday afternoon’s fourth round-robin session of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 in Lethbridge, Canada.

In the other games of this session, the Olympic champions, United States beat Korea by 6-3, while a remarkable take-out off a wing stone with the last shot of the game gave Netherland a 5-4 win over Scotland.

In their game against Norway, Japan blanked the first end, then in the second end their skip Yuta Matsumura played a hit on a Norway stone to open the scoring with five points.

Norway never recovered from this blow and, after the teams went into the break with Japan holding a 6-3 lead, Japan’s Matsumura played a double take-out in the eighth end to score two points and take a 9-4 lead. Norway then conceded after scoring two points in the ninth end, for a final score of 9-6 to Japan.

Canada started with the upper hand against Italy when, in the first end, Italy skip Joel Retornaz could only remove one of two counting Canadian stones to give up a steal of one point.

Italy responded to this by scoring two points in the second end and stealing a single point in the third for a 3-1 lead. In the fourth end, Canada skip Kevin Koe had a chance to level the score, but his final draw came up short and he had to settle for one point that reduced Italy’s lead to 3-2.

Canada took the lead for the first time since the opening end in the eighth end, when Koe played a draw for two points to make the score 6-5. A steal of three points for Canada in the ninth end, for 9-5, was enough to persuade Italy to concede.

In the fourth end of the game between United Sates and Korea, it took an umpire’s measure to determine that Korea had scored one point to tie the game at 2-2. Then in the sixth end, American skip John Shuster played a draw-shot to score two points and take a 4-2 lead. The Americans went on to record their first win so far, by 6-3.

After the game, their vice-skip Chris Plys said “Those guys are really good, and we had to stay patient. I thought we just built well there, and we hope to keep building going into our game tonight against Germany.”

In the fourth game of the session, Scotland faced Netherlands. In the fourth end, Scotland skip Bruce Mouat played a double take-out to score one point for a 2-1 lead.

Later, in a remarkable tenth end, Netherlands were looking to score two points to tie and force an extra end.

With his last stone of the end, Scotland’s Mouat came in off a wing stone and rolled onto the button to sit protected among a collection of Dutch stones.

Not to be outdone, Netherlands fourth player Wouter Goesgens came in off a wing stone on the other side of the house to tap the Scottish stone out and leave three of his own stones lying, scoring three points for a 5-4 win.

Netherlands’ skip, Jaap Von Dorp, spoke about their winning shot, “We’ve played them before, but have not always made them, but it was a great way to finish this game. Wouter threw it really good, we got the line, and the sweepers were on it, made it perfect.”

More generally he added, “We still have a couple of things to sharpen up on, I think we’ve got some good things going on and we definitely made some great shots here, but also there are some things that we need to talk about and improve.”

While Canada and Japan sit at the top of the rankings, at the other end, Korea’s third loss in three games leaves them at the foot of the table.

Results: Scotland 4-5 Netherlands; United States 6-3 Korea; Italy 5-9 Canada; Japan 9-6 Norway.

Current Standings(W-L):

Canada 3-0
Japan 3-0
Switzerland 2-0
Sweden 2-0
Netherlands 2-1
Germany 1-1
United States 1-1
Italy 1-2
Scotland 1-2
China 0-2
Norway 0-2
Russia 0-2
Korea 0-3

Watch, follow, engage

Live coverage of these championships will be available via the World Curling Federation’s broadcast partners: Eurosport (Europe-wide), TSN and RDS (Canada), NBCSports (United States), NHK (Japan), CCTV5 (China), SBS (Korea), SRF/RTS/RSI (Switzerland), Viasat (Denmark, Norway, Finland), Polsat (Poland), SVT (Sweden), Match TV (Russia), La Chaine Equipe (France), BBC Online (United Kingdom). Coverage will also be available, subject to geo-blocking restrictions, on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Channels: www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media during the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (@WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WMCC2019 #curling