|NZ Junior Men L-R: Liz Matthews (coach), Garion Long,
Luke Steele, Liam Dowling, Brett Sargon, Willie Miller
17 Jan 2013 – The New Zealand Junior Men's curling team will be returning home from the Pacific-Asia Championships with bronze medals, equalling the best-ever finish by a Kiwi side at this under-21 event. Their 5 win - 4 loss record included one win against Korea and two each against Japan and Australia.
But the Korean side eventually proved their undoing, beating the NZ side 7-3 in their semi-final. China went on to beat Korea for the gold medal.
New Zealand's Junior women finished 4th after winning two of their eight games. They played well in stages throughout the tournament, including pushing eventual silver medalists China to the last shot of the game, but without the consistency needed get the results against very strong competition. Japan won the gold from China, and Korea were third.
"It was a superb tournament," said Liz Matthews, coach of the Junior Men's side. "The boys proved themselves capable of mixing it with the best in the Pacific Asia region, and it bodes well for their future as only Brett (Sargon) ages out next year. They plan to perhaps go to Canada or Scotland for more international experience prior to the next championships in 2014."
"The girls were a little disappointed with their results but still came back with close games against China and Korea after a little juggling of the team lineup, proving they can match it at this level. For Thivya (Jeyaranjan) and Chelsea (Farley) this was their last Junior championship but they will take this experience and build on it hoping to further represent NZ at the elite level."
"With 7 of the 10 players from Auckland we see once again the need for the city to have a dedicated curling rink. This will allow them to concentrate on practice rather than working to save money to travel to Naseby and to these overseas competitions. Then the possibility of further international events and a National league may eventuate."
"All the players from both teams were great ambassadors for New Zealand and a credit to NZ Curling and those who have worked with them to get this far."
New Zealand Teams
|Men||Willie Miller (skip), Brett Sargon, Liam Dowling, Luke Steele, Garion Long. Coach: Liz Matthews|
|Women||Thivya Jeyaranjan, Chelsea Farley (skip), Tessa Farley, Kelsi Heath, Eleanor Adviento|
|Thanks to Debbie Hamsey (ACF), Liz Matthews
and Tessa Farley for generous use of their images.
Self belief the key for NZ Juniors
|An anxious wait for a measure to decide the NZ men's match vs Japan|
13 Jan 2013 – An excellent second day for the New Zealand teams at the Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships in Tokoro, Japan could be the key to continued success says Peter Becker, NZ Curling's High Performance Manager.
The Kiwis played well on the opening day without success, but the NZ Women had a lop-sided 16-1 win over Australia in their only game on Day 2. The Men dominated the second half of their match against Australia to win 10-7 and then stunned their Japanese hosts their to beat them 8-7 in an extra end, the game being decided on a measure.
"These young New Zealand teams have the skills and the ability to foot it with the best sides," said a delighted Peter Becker. "but sometimes they lack the belief they need to get a result. Yesterday they saw that they're capable of winning big games, and they can use that confidence and belief in their own abilities to go on."
Despite no wins on the first day the NZ sides were far from downbeat. The men went down 9-6 to tournament favourites China. "We had a great game against the Chinese," they said. "Despite the slow start we made a strong comeback stealing a 2 in the 7th. Our strategy has been great, and we just need to work on the small details."
The women lost 12-2 to Korea in their opening match, dropping 5 points in the fifth end to extinguish their chances. They followed up with a 9-2 loss to China, but took the positives from their day. "We started off very strong, executing all our hits," they said. "We created some great opportunities to get back in the game and are prepared for our next game against Australia."
A double round robin continues through until Tuesday. The second and third qualifiers will then play semi-finals, with the winners to then play the top qualifiers for the gold medal.
NZ Junior teams prepare in Japan
8 Jan 2013 – The New Zealand Junior curling teams are in Japan, preparing for the 2013 Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships. Official practice is on Thursday (10th) and the championships get under way the following day at the Tokoro Curling Club in Kitami City on the northern island of Hokkaido.
The late withdrawal of the Kazakstan Junior Men's side has meant some last minute changes to the playing schedule.
Both the men's and women's competition will now see Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand playing a double round robin through until Tuesday 15th. In the playoff matches on Wednesday the second and third qualifiers will play a semi-final, with the winners meeting the top qualifier in the final.
The stakes are high, with the Men's and Women's gold medalists qualifying for the World Junior Championships in Russia just two months later.