World Financial Group Continental Cup 2012 - Could end in tie

Team World is just one point away from winning the 2012 World Financial Group Continental Cup after taking the Women’s Skins game at the Langley Events Centre in Canada on Sunday morning, but if all the 55 points still up for grabs in the Men’s Skins game go to Team North America, the score will be tied.

Photo: WCF/CCA/Michael Burns

In the Women’s Skins final, Team World represented by China’s Bingyu Wang drew to the button to secure a further 30 points, taking her side up to 200 – just one point away from the 201 needed to pick up the trophy. Canada’s Stefanie Lawton took 25 of the 55 points available in the game and brought Team North America’s total up to 145.

Everything now hangs on the outcome of the Men’s Skins game at 17:00 local on Sunday afternoon - where Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud will face Canada’s Jeff Stoughton in this game. While Team World needs a single point to win the 2012 title, the pressure is on reigning world champion Stoughton to secure all 55 points that are at stake in this match.

If there is a tie, then, similar to the Ryder Cup rules in golf, North America would retain the Continental Cup Trophy as the defending champion (from 2011).

However, the $52,000 CDN prize to the winning side and the $26,000 prize to the losing side would be split equally among the 52 competitors (48 curlers, plus two coaches and two captains).

The side winning tonight’s Men’s Skins game, though, would still receive the additional $13,000 prize being offered to the winner.

“It will be like the Ryder Cup format – meaning that the Cup stays,” explained Team World Coach Peja Lindholm. “This means we have to bring it back home with us! That is the fairer thing to do – the Cup is the symbol for this. So, there would be a tie in the statistics - with North America at 4 wins against Team World’s 3 wins and there would be a tie. I don’t like having a draw to the button. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose that one. For the players, it would be really bad for the losing team in the next game to do a draw to the button. It doesn’t seem fair. But we are trying to bring the Cup back with us and we need one point to do that!”

Reflecting on the task that lies ahead for Team North America, Coach Rick Lang said: “One philosophy is that you don’t go as hard and you don’t take as many chances and you play it open and hope that the points just keep building and building. You do that by holding them to one and not taking many risks. That’s one way of doing it. Anette Noberg shut out Sherri Middaugh years ago, and she went the other way – she went hard on everything. Through every rock into play, guarded the guards, and Sherri was never able to dig out of it. It’s either all out or you play more conservatively and try and get the build up going. We’ll see what Jeff has up his sleeve tonight.”

In the Skins curling discipline, teams must either score two points with the hammer (last stone advantage) or steal in order to collect the points allotted per end; otherwise, points are carried over.

At the Continental Cup a total of 400 points is available from four types of curling competition - Team Games (72 points), Mixed Doubles (36 points), Singles (32 points) and Skins (260 points). Each segment awards points for wins (or ties). The first side to reach 201 points is declared the winner.

Competition World / N. America
Women's Team - Round 1 9 9
Mixed Doubles - Round 1 12 6
Men's Team - Round 1 9 9
Women's Team - Round 2 9 9
Mixed Doubles - Round 2 18 0
Men's Team - Round 2 9 9
Skins - A 34 26
Singles Competition 24 8
Skins - B 46 44
Skins - C - Women 30 25
Skins - C - Men - -

North America won the inaugural Continental Cup in 2002 (in Regina, Canada), in 2004 and 2007 (both in Medicine Hat, Canada) and last year, 2011, in St Albert. Team World (then known as Team Europe) won in 2003 (in Thunder Bay, Canada), 2006 (in Chilliwack, Canada) and 2008 (in Camrose, Canada).

The Canadian TV broadcaster TSN (RDS in Quebec) is providing live coverage of the World Financial Group Continental Cup, for viewers in Canada. And, in association with the World Curling Federation, TSN is providing web-streamed coverage to viewers outside Canada on the WCF website:
Results are here:

The World Financial Group Continental Cup is a joint venture between the Canadian Curling Association, World Curling Federation and United States Curling Association.

The World Financial Group Continental Cup 2013 will be held at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada from 10-13 January.