China win sees them and Norway progress to play-offs

  • China’s lead Zhou Yan adn skip Haitao Wang © WCF / Tom Rowland

China and Norway will compete in the play-off stage, on Saturday (9 March), at the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 in Stirling, Scotland.

A win for China, against Germany by 8-6, on Friday morning, put them and Norway, who were not involved in the session, into the next round of the competition. China’s skip, Haitao Wang, had to be precise delivering his final stone to remove two of Germany’s four counting stones, to ensure the win.

China and Norway have now had seven wins each.

With two more round-robin sessions to go there are still four more teams to qualify for the six team play-off. With this format, the top two teams go directly to the semi-finals, while the teams in third and sixth position (3v6) and the teams in fourth and fifth place (4v5) play-off for the remaining semi-final berths.

China’s vice-skip Mingliang Zhang said after qualifying, “We feel happy. [In our next game], we will learn from Norway and we will do our best.”

There were also wins in this session for Korea over Russia, 7-1; Estonia who beat Canada 8-4 and United States who won against Latvia 8-5.

Korea sealed their win, by 7-1, with a steal of two points in the seventh end, when Russia’s fourth player Andrey Smirnov’s final stone hit a guard on the way into the house. At this point the Russian’s chose to shake hands. This puts Korea into third place in the standings – a strong position to aim to ensure qualification.

Estonia, who are competing in their first world event, put in a confident display against Canada. After the fifth end the newcomers had a 6-2 lead. The teams then traded two points in the next two ends before they shook hands after the seventh end with the score at 8-4.

Both teams now share sixth place in the rankings with Latvia, all having won five games and lost five games.

“This was a very important win, but we need to beat Scotland [next]. The ice was very good and very very fast. When the score was 6-2 our strategy was to not giveaway more than one point,” said Estonia’s skip Viljar Villiste.

United States’ win over Latvia may prove vital to lift them out of the relegation zone, whereby at the end of the round robin the bottom three teams go down to the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship.

Skip Steve Emt said, “That was huge and emotional. We had a patch of five loses in a row. Last night we beat our heads against the wall [and asked] what’s going on, what can we do to get a string of shots together. I’m proud of my team, my coaches because we did that today. We put a couple of good ends up – the steal of four was huge. We continue on and if we get one more [win] who knows what happens.”

Results

Session 15: Russia 1-7 Korea; Germany 6-8 China; Canada 4-8 Estonia; United States 8-5 Latvia

Standings (W-L)

Q Norway 7-2
Q China 7-3
Korea 6-4
Scotland 5-4
Switzerland 5-4
Canada 5-5
Estonia 5-5
Latvia 5-5
Slovakia 4-5
Russia 4-6
United States 4-6
Germany 1-9

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