|Gold medal match, Korea vs Australia 1. Photo © WinterGames NZ / Neil Kerr|
31 Aug 2019 – Korea's Hyeji Jang and Yujin Seong won the gold medal at the QRC Winter Games NZ Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament fuelled by Forsyth Barr.
They beat Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt from Australia 7-4 in the final at Naseby's Maniototo Curling International rink this afternoon.
Therese Westman and Robin Ahlberg won the bronze medal for Sweden, beating USA's Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo 9-8 in their extra end decider.
Korea opened the scoring in the gold medal match with a double takeout to score 2 in the first end, and then stole the next. Australia scored in the next two ends to level the scores 3-3 at the fourth-end break.
Korea edged ahead as the game neared its end, and Australia came into the last end needing to steal two to force an extra end. However a strong runback by Korea's Yujin Seong spilled the Australian stones and hopes, and Korea stole the end to cement their win.
Hyeji Yang felt her teammate's precision takeouts were a key to their strong tournament. "His runback is very accurate, and important for our game," she said. "This was Korea's first win in the Winter Games, so it is important to us and we are very excited by it."
Dean Hewitt commented, "We came in here just trying to reach the playoffs. So if you'd told us at the start of the week we were going to get to get silver for Australia we'd have been pretty happy with that."
Sweden and the USA had a tight to-and-fro game in the match for bronze. The USA scored 3 in the fifth end, actually throwing their last stone away as there was no safe way to attempt to score a fourth.
Sweden retook the lead when they scored 4 with their powerplay in the next, only for the USA to level the scores in the eighth end and force an extra deciding end. There were a number of stones around the centre of the house with just the final Swedish stone to play, but the Swedish pair were confident that they already had the shot for the win.
They elected not to throw their last stone, and were pleased that the umpire's measure vindicated their call.
It was our goal to medal here," said Therese Westman, "so we're happy with the bronze."
"We struggled in the first half," added Robin Ahlberg, "both with the game and with ourselves. But then we got that 4 with the powerplay, and kept the momentum going."