World Men's Curling Championship 2012 - Draw 16

New Zealand recorded a historic victory over Canada Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

A little bit of history was made at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland on Thursday afternoon when, after an extra end, New Zealand beat Canada for the first time in Championship competition. The result ensures New Zealand have at least a tie-breaker game and keeps their dream of winning a medal at this event alive.

Canadian skip Glenn Howard had to deliver a precision hit in the tenth end to score two points and put the game into an extra end, but then New Zealand’s Peter de Boer cleared out a Canadian stone to score two points for his team’s 9-7 victory.

An elated New Zealand skip de Boer spoke afterwards, saying: “It doesn’t get any better than that. We just continued from how we played this morning. The front end set up the ends really well and we just had to stay with them in the first few ends. It’s pretty exciting, that’s the first time New Zealand had beaten Canada and the first time New Zealand has had a winning record (in a World Championship). So we’re ticking off some boxes, and the next box we’d like to tick is a play-off.”

More generally he added: “That should give us at least fifth place and hopefully our Olympic Association will take note and we might get a bit of support. But we’ll be knocking on their door. It’s terrific – it’s just unbelievable”.

Denmark had a bitter-sweet end to their round-robin campaign. They beat Germany by 6-4 for what was their sixth win overall, but this was not enough to qualify them for the weekend’s medal games.

Germany led in the early part of the game, with fourth player Felix Schulze hitting for two points in the third end to take a 3-1 lead. But the Danes put the pressure on in the middle of the game, and eventually skip Rasmus Stjerne had a hit for one point in the ninth end to push the score to 6-4, after which the Danes ran the Germans out of stones.

Afterwards Stjerne reflected: “It’s still hard to take in. We had two games this week that we should have won, so it’s a wee bit tough to take. This is my first year here and I think for that, we’ve done well, so we’re pleased. We have seen the big stage and it’s not that frightening.”

By contrast to Denmark, Scotland ensured themselves a place in curling’s Page first versus second Play-off game (where they will face table-topping Canada) with an 8-6 win over USA.

The Scots opened this game well and were 5-0 up after three ends. In the ninth end, Scottish skip Tom Brewster drew for two points and an 8-5 lead, and although USA got one point back in the tenth end, it was not enough and Scotland recorded their eighth win of the week.

Brewster said: “It’s a tough slog out there. We got five up but that ice is tough to hit on, you couldn’t put the brush down.” Looking forward to the prospect of facing Canada at least once more, he added: “We’ll have a chat about how to beat Canada, but they’re not unbeatable.”

Although they were pushed all the way to an extra end by France, Norway also qualified for the Play-offs, with a 9-6 win. In a game in which the lead changed hands several times, Norway’s skip Thomas Ulsrud hit to score two points in the eighth end to take a 6-5 lead, but the French fought back again to level in the tenth end. Eventually, Ulsrud played another hit to score three points for his win in the extra end.

This result guarantees Norway third place and Ulsrud said: “It feels good now to have qualified for the play-offs. We had a team meeting after a couple of games when I think the record was 1 and 3, and we said ‘well, it’s a long week. We need to stick in there and get the right feel for the ice’ and we have.”

Results
Session 16: Germany 4, Denmark 6; USA 6, Scotland 8; France 6, Norway 9 (extra end); Canada 7, New Zealand 9 (extra end).

Standings after 16 sessions:
1. Canada 9-1 (qualified for 1v2 playoff)
2. Scotland 8-3 (qualified for 1v2 playoff)
3. Norway 8-3 (qualified for 3v4 playoff)
4. New Zealand 7-4
5. China 6-4
5. Sweden 6-4
7. Denmark 6-5
8. France 3-7
8. USA 3-7
10. Czech Republic 2-8
10. Germany 2-8
10. Switzerland 2-8

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