Korea qualify as majority of field still in contention for World Wheelchair play-offs

  • Russia’s lead Daria Shchukina and third Marat Romanov © WCF / Tom Rowland

Friday afternoon’s second-last round-robin session of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 in Stirling, Scotland featured a top-of-the-table clash between China and Norway.

Plus, Korea qualified for the play-off stage without taking to the ice. And, now with six teams all on five wins apiece the majority of the field still has a chance of reaching the next round.

With China and Norway already qualified for the last six, this was China’s last round-robin game and they emerged as 4-2 winners, over Norway, for an eighth victory, a result that guarantees them top spot going into the play-off games.

Elsewhere in this session, Scotland beat Estonia by 9-3, Slovakia beat Latvia by 8-7 and, in their last round-robin game, Russia defeated Switzerland by 7-2.

The game between Norway and China was tight and, in the seventh end, Norway skip Rune Lorentsen was short with his final draw to give China a steal of one point. He then over-compensated in the eighth end when his final draw was heavy and through the house to give China another single point steal and their 4-2 win.

Scotland’s 9-3 win over Estonia, in just six ends, puts them in joint third place along with Korea.

The Scottish breakthrough came in the third end when they scored four points to take a 4-2 lead. They followed that up with a steal of two points in the fourth end. Then, in the sixth end, their skip Aileen Neilson made a draw for three points and a 9-3 lead, at which point Estonia conceded.

After the game, Neilson said, “We knew we just really had to get a win on the board coming out here this afternoon and getting a four in the third end really helped our momentum.
Then, to secure that with a steal of two after really putting the pressure on the opposition, we’re delighted"

It took Russia until the third end to open the scoring in their game against Switzerland. But, the Swiss responded with a score of two points in the fourth end to go into the break with a 2-1 lead.

Russia then scored in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh ends to win by 7-2. Now they have to watch the final round-robin session to learn their overall ranking and whether they have avoided one of the three relegation slots at least.

After the game, their skip Andrey Smirnov said, “It’s a very interesting tournament because now with just one round-robin session to go we have many teams on the same results.

Some will qualify for play-offs, some will be relegated, and some will stay in ‘A’, so this win was very important for us to at least try to stay in the A-division.”

In the fourth game of the session between Slovakia and Latvia, the teams swapped scores of three points in the first two ends. But, a score of two points in the third end followed by a steal of two in the fourth gave Slovakia a 7-3 lead at the break. Latvia fought back with a score of three points in the fifth end to reduce Slovakia’s lead to 7-6 but the Slovaks held on to win by 8-7. After the game, Slovakia’s Monika Kunkelova said, “I have no words for that win, I am so happy and so excited. Our team mood is now much better than two days ago.”

Although Korea sat out this session, the results mean that they now join China and Norway with a play-off berth. With the final round-robin session to come there are still three more teams to qualify. In 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. Meanwhile at the foot of the table the bottom three teams are relegated to next season World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship.

Results

Session 16: Estonia 3-9 Scotland; Slovakia 8-7 Latvia; Russia 7-2 Switzerland; China 4-2 Norway

Standings (W-L)

Q China 8-3
Q Norway 7-3
Q Korea 6-4
Scotland 6-4
Canada 5-5
Switzerland 5-5
Slovakia 5-5
Estonia 5-6
Latvia 5-6
Russia 5-6
United States 4-6
Germany 1-9

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