Netherlands defeat Olympic champions in Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s opening session

  • Team Netherlands © WCF / Jeffrey Au

In Saturday afternoon’s opening round-robin session of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship 2019 in Lethbridge, Canada, Netherlands beat Olympic champions, United States by 6-5.

Other winners were hosts Canada, who took an extra end to beat Korea by 6-5; Japan, who had a 6-4 win over Italy; and Scotland who beat Russia by 8-2 in eight ends.

The Dutch were the last nation to qualify for this championship, taking the second available slot at the World Qualification Event, held in New Zealand in January, and they took the early lead with a steal of two points in the second end after the Americans had blanked the first end.

In the ninth end, United States skip, John Shuster, played a raise double take-out to score two points and take the lead for the first time in the game, at 5-4.

Then, in the tenth end, the Dutch fourth player Wouter Goesgens drew his second stone into position to score two points and win the game by 6-5.

Afterwards, Netherlands skip Jaap Van Dorp said, “We know they are a great team, but we made sure to just play our own game. In the end everyone was playing their first game, so it was just a matter of figuring out the ice - I think we did that a little bit better in the first couple of ends. They came back in the middle, but we kept control.”

Hosts Canada faced Korea. Canada took an early lead with a score of three points in the second end when skip, Kevin Koe, drew his last stone into the house to join two other Canadian counters, making the score, 3-1.

Then in the tenth end, Korea skip SooHyuk Kim drew his second stone into position to score two points, level the game at 5-5 and force an extra end.

That extra end came down to the final stone, and Koe played a nose-hit on Korea’s stone in the house to score one point and win by 6-5.

Italy played Japan in this session, and, in the fifth end, their skip Joel Retornaz played a gentle hit on a Japan stone to score two points and level the score at 3-3.

However, in the ninth end, with Italy still leading by 4-2, Japan skip Yuta Matsumura played an angle raise take-out to score three points and take the lead at 5-4.

Japan went on to win by 6-4 with a single point steal in the tenth end, when Retornaz’s last attempt to come in off a wing stone failed.

In the fourth game of the session, Scotland faced Russia, and in the sixth end, Scottish skip Bruce Mouat played a gentle tap-back to score two points for a 5-2 lead. The Scots went on to win by 8-2.

Afterwards, Mouat said, “That was a lovely way to start… just eight ends, so it’s nice to get a shorter game in these situations, we know how long the week is.”

This game marked Mouat’s one 100th appearance for Scotland and, about that, he added, “It feels surreal. I get to have my 100th game for Scotland… at the world men’s… in Canada. So that’s literally one of the best moments for me in my career.”

Results: Canada 6-5 Korea; Japan 6-4 Italy; Netherlands 6-5 United States; Scotland 8-2 Russia.

Current Standings (W-L):

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

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