Scotland claim the last Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s play-off place

  • Scotland secure a play-off place © WCF / Michael Burns

With a 9-5 win over Italy in Friday evening’s 20th and last round-robin session of the Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship2019 in Lethbridge, Canada, Scotland grabbed the sixth and last slot in the weekend play-offs, joining already-qualified leaders Sweden as well as Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and United States in Saturday’s games.

In the other games in this session, Switzerland beat China by 8-4 to secure second place and a direct route to the semi-finals, while United States were 8-4 winners over Norway, and Canada were 6-5 winners over Netherlands.

When Italy played Scotland in this session, both teams knew that only a victory would put them into the play-offs. In the fourth end of the game, with the score at 3-2 in Scotland’s favour, Italy’s skip Joel Retornaz played a draw into the house to score two points and take a 4-3 lead.

In the eighth end, Scotland’s skip Bruce Mouat played a raise double take-out for three points and an 8-5 lead. After this, Scotland had a steal of one point in the ninth end and then Italy conceded, with the score at 9-5 in Scotland’s favour.

Afterwards, Scotland’s Mouat said, “We knew what the situation was, and we were backs against the wall a little bit, but that was really good. After I made the shot in the eighth, I thought that was it. It was a good fight and we had a really good eighth end to set up the three.”

Looking forward to Saturday morning’s qualification game he said, “If it is Canada [in the qualifier], we beat them in the round-robin, and I don’t see why we can’t do it again.”

Scotland now rank sixth among the qualifiers and, as it happened, Canada finished third overall after their 6-5 win over Netherlands helped by a hit-out by their skip Kevin Koe in the fifth end to score two points on their way to victory, and they do indeed face Scotland.

In the second end of the game between Switzerland and China, Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwartz hit out a China stone to score two points and open the scoring with a 2-0 lead.

Then, in the ninth end, Schwartz played a draw into the house to score two more points, to lead by 8-4 and secure the win that puts his team directly into the semi-finals, in second place on the rankings.

After this win, Switzerland skip Peter de Cruz said, “Lucky us, we’re the lucky team on 9 and 3 [with direct route to the semi-finals], and we’re really happy to be in that position. We didn’t want to over-do things, we wanted to keep things simple. We thought we were a better team than China over ten ands, and if we stuck to our game-plan then things would be fine.”

Norway faced the Olympic champions, United States, in this session. In the sixth end, with the score at 5-2 in United States favour, Norway’s skip Magnus Ramsfjell drew his last stone inside five United States stone already in the house to score one point and reduce the American lead to 5-3.

However, United States went on to win, by 8-4 and they now rank fifth overall, to face fourth-placed Japan, who sat out this session.

In the semi-finals, Sweden will face the lower ranked winner from the qualification round, while the other semi-final will see Switzerland compete against the other qualification winner.

Results: Switzerland 8-4 China; United States 8-4 Norway; Italy 5-9 Scotland; Netherlands 5-6 Canada.

Round-robin Standings (W-L):

Q Sweden 11-1
Q Switzerland 9-3
Q Canada 9-3
Q Japan 9-3
Q United States 8-4
Q Scotland 8-4
Italy 7-5
Germany 4-8
Russia 4-8
Netherlands 4-8
China 2-10
Norway 2-10
Korea 1-11

Q = qualified for the play-offs

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

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