Kiwi Men unbeaten after Day 2 at WQE

Scott Becker at 2018 Pacific-Asia Championships
Scott Becker (NZ) at the 2018 Pacific-Asia Championships. Photo © WCF / Tom Rowland

19 Jan 2019 – England, Korea, and New Zealand are the undefeated Men’s teams after the second day of the World Qualification Event in Naseby. China and Finland have perfect records in the Women’s competition.

The Chinese Women made a strong start in the first session of the day, jumping out to an early 6-1 lead after three ends. A Hungary fightback in the second half of the match was not enough to prevent a 10-6 victory to China.

China’s skip Jei Mei felt her team was still improving. “This is pretty new ice for us, so we just want to get to know the ice more,” she said. “After two games we are getting better but we need to improve our focus through the games and improve strategically.”

Other games in the Women’s early session saw Finland beat Brazil 10-2 in seven ends, and Estonia drew the last stone of the game onto the button to beat New Zealand 8-5.

Hong Kong trailed through most of their match against Poland, but scored four points in the last two ends to record their first win of the event 9-7.

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“It was a tough one!” said Hong Kong skip Ling-Yue Hung. “That’s definitely one of our strengths, we don’t get down, we always keep fighting."

"This game, I don’t think we were leading until the ninth end, we were always behind and I was always staring at lots of yellow [opposition] rocks. It’s the nature of the game – with the 5-rock rule, there’s always lots of rocks in play, nearly every end.”

The Men’s afternoon session saw the Netherlands record their first win, 9-2 over Denmark in six ends.

“That was a little better than last night,” said coach Shari Leibbrandt. “Our skip made some really nice finishing shots. At each end he put the pressure on, and challenged the other skip to make a better one. Fortunately, we got ourselves in better positions than last night.”

The New Zealand men hit their straps in the second half of their match against Poland to win 9-5, and Korea beat Brazil 11-4.

The English had their second successive extra-end win, this time 12-11 over Australia.

“A bit of a surprise to find ourselves at the top of the table,” said skip Andrew Reed. “We’re not beautiful and we’re not textbook, but we’re a little bit ‘out there’ and seem to put people off. So far we’re just sticking in and making the wins.”

In the Women’s evening session, China defeated Hong Kong 9-2, and Hungary beat Estonia by the same margin. Finland ran New Zealand out of rocks to record a 9-6 victory, and Poland scored their first win via a last-stone draw to beat Brazil 6-5.

“I hope that first win will unblock us and we can go further,” said Poland’s skip Marta Pluta. “We had a couple of misses, up and down, but we finally finished one off with a draw for the win. I really hope we’re on a good road now, but we have a tough game tomorrow and we just need to improve a couple of things.”

After 3 Women's sessions, China and Finland have 3 wins. Hungary have 2, while Brazil, Estonia, Hong Kong and Poland have 1 each. NZ have yet to record their first win.

England, Korea, and New Zealand head the Men's field with 2 wins from 2. The Netherlands and Poland have 1 each, while Australia, Brazil and Denmark are on zero.

The round-robin competition continues with three sessions each day until Tuesday. The top three Men’s and Women’s sides will play off for the two World Championship places next Wednesday.