Competition for play-off places steps up with just one more round-robin day to go

  • Switzerland’s skip Eric Decorvet © WCF / Tom Rowland

Joint leaders China and Norway both played in Thursday evening’s 14th round-robin session of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 in Stirling, Scotland, but while Norway enjoyed a six-end 8-1 win over Latvia, China went down by 5-7 to a last-end steal by opponents Slovakia.

This seventh win so far put Norway back into a clear lead.

Both other games in this session went down to the last stone before Scotland emerged as 5-4 winners over Russia and Switzerland beat Estonia by 6-5. These wins now see five teams share third place in the rankings for the moment – Canada, Korea, Latvia, Scotland and Switzerland.

Against Latvia, Norway opened with a score of four points and followed that up with a steal of one point. A further two points in the fourth end gave them a 7-1 lead at the break. After that, Latvia blanked the sixth end and then conceded, with Norway winning 8-1.

After the game, a delighted Norway skip Rune Lorentsen said, “I’d love for us to be in the top two in the round robin so we can save one match on Saturday night, but I’ll just be glad for us to make the finals.”

In the game between Slovakia and China, the teams went into the break tied at 3-3. In the fifth end, Slovakia’s fourth player Dusan Pitonak played a hit-and-stay to score two points and take a 5-3 lead. In the eighth end, China skip Haitao Wang played a hit-and-stay with his first stone to have three of his own stones counting. Pitonak then tapped back one of his own stones to move it into shot position. But then, Wang tried to remove it, only to take out his own stone to give Slovakia a steal of one point for their 7-5 win.

After what was her team’s fourth win, Slovakia lead Monika Kunkelova said, “We are very happy with that win. The most important stone of the game was probably our last.”

Despite this win, Slovakia remain third bottom on the table along with Estonia and Russia, in one of the three relegation positions. About that, Kunkelova said, “There is a fear of relegation and nothing is settled at the moment and we would really like to stay in ‘A’ and we will do everything we can to stay in ‘A’. We hope we can win at least one more game.”

In the eighth end of the game between Scotland and Russia, with the score at 4-4, Scotland skip Aileen Neilson just nudged a front guard with her last stone but still lay shot stone with another one of her stones sitting at the back of the house. With his last stone, Russia skip Andrei Meshcheriakov wrecked on the way in, to give Scotland a steal of one point and a 5-4 win, that puts them into joint third place.

In the fourth game of the session, Estonia had fought back to be level at 5-5, scoring two points in the seventh end with a double take-out. But, in the eighth end, Estonia’s fourth player Andrei Koitmae wrecked on the way in, leaving Switzerland lying one point in the house to give the Swiss a 6-5 win without having to play their last stone.

Round-robin play concludes on Friday (8 March), with the top six teams going on to the play-offs and medal games and the bottom three teams being relegated to next season’s World Wheelchair-B Curling Championships.

Results

Session 14: Slovakia 7-5 China; Scotland 5-4 Russia; Latvia 1-8 Norway; Estonia 5-6 Switzerland

Standings (W-L)

Norway 7-2
China 6-3
Canada 5-4
Korea 5-4
Latvia 5-4
Scotland 5-4
Switzerland 5-4
Estonia 4-5
Russia 4-5
Slovakia 4-5
United States 3-6
Germany 1-8

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