NZ beat Swiss in extra end thriller

Sean Becker (NZL)
Sean Becker in action at Naseby this week. Photo © Rob Jefferies / Getty Images

Naseby, 24 August 2011 – It was an exciting fifth day at the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games in Naseby with some close finishes and plenty of action.

Two games went to an extra end, including a Mixed Doubles thriller between the highly-favoured Swiss and the hometown New Zealand pair.

The Kiwis eventually prevailed with a 7-5 victory.


Women – Tuesday

Both New Zealand's Women's teams played in yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon's round, but neither were able to come close to upsetting their opponents.

Korea took on the New Zealand Juniors and came away with a 9-5 win, while Japan beat the New Zealand Women’s team 6-2. China had the bye.


Men

The Men’s Fours played in the evening. In a nail-biting game between China and Korea, the scores were level at 6-6 after the regulation ten ends so an extra end was needed to find a winner. China drew shot on their last stone of the game to win 7-6.

Japan opened the scoring against the New Zealand Juniors. The Juniors scored 3 in the fourth and were catching up with 2 more in the eighth, but Japan scored 5 in the ninth to finish the at game 12-5.

Australia proved too strong for New Zealand, leading from the start and winning after nine ends 8-5. Australian player, Jay Merchant put their success down to capitalising on opportunities throughout the game. “Each team had opportunities and our team managed to capitalise on them. NZ curled very well but they had some tough breaks during the game and that helped us win the game. We needed that win to stay in contention,” he said.


Women – Wednesday

The two New Zealand Women’s teams played each other in the first round of day five of the curling events. New Zealand Women were pushed all the way by the New Zealand Juniors. On the Women’s last delivery of the eighth, Brydie Donald used a hit and roll to knock the Juniors’ shot stone out and score a single. Chelsea Farley from the Juniors replied with a great draw shot on their last stone of the ninth to get within one point of their opponents, but it was the Women’s team who finished the game ahead 8-7.

China once again took control in their game against Korea winning after eight ends by an easy 9-3 margin. Japan had the bye.


Mixed Doubles

The Mixed Doubles were held in the second round of the day. Switzerland played New Zealand in a gripping match that was tied 4-4 after the sixth end. The Kiwis took one with hammer in the seventh and the Swiss did likewise in the eighth, so with the scores locked at 5-5 an extra end was required.

At the end of the ninth and with last stone advantage, New Zealand player Sean Becker threw a guard to protect shot stone. Switzerland attempted an angled raise takeout but failed to move the New Zealand stone. This gave New Zealand a 7-5 win. Sean said, “it was a fantastic game played by two really good teams. In the eighth end we had a couple of half-shots and it was hard to get anything going – the same thing happened in the extra end. The positioned stone ended up remaining in place to be shot. The angles weren’t happening and sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

Japan got off to a great start against Latvia but Latvia caught up and it was 4 all after four ends. An angled raise gave Latvia a 4 point advantage at the end of the sixth 8-6. Japan came back in the seventh but Latvia scored again on the eighth and won the game 9-7.

Finland played Hungary in a game that featured some high scores with Finland scoring a 4 in the third and Hungary a 5 in the fourth. Hungary won after the sixth end 10-4. Gyorgy Nagy from Hungary said “We enjoyed it (the game) very much – it was a good game. We felt we have been a bit up and down and know that if we want to be here on Saturday we have to win our games and that was our target for today. We have two tough games against New Zealand and China to come.”

China played USA and came away with a 9-4 win. Australia had the bye.

This afternoon the Men’s fours continue play. China plays the New Zealand Seniors, Australia plays Japan and the New Zealand Juniors play Korea. New Zealand Men have the bye. The Mixed Doubles play their second round of the day tonight with Latvia playing Finland, Australia playing USA, Japan against Switzerland and Hungary playing New Zealand. China has the bye.

100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games continues tomorrow (25 August) with the Mixed Doubles round robin, Women’s double round robin, and the Men’s round robin.