It was an exciting first day at the curling event with some strong play, impressive scores and close games. The women opened the first round of competition with New Zealand putting in a strong performance against Japan. There wasn’t much between them during the first half of the game, but Japan pulled away in the second, eventually winning 9-3. Korea beat Australia convincingly with a final score of 14-1.
New Zealand’s third, Brydie Donald is currently playing the last stone, which is usually played by a team’s skip. The team’s coach, Peter Becker said this was a request by the selectors and while seldom seen in New Zealand, it was done overseas and no reflection on skip, Bridget Becker. “Bridget has been playing, at times, quite brilliantly on her last stone,” he said. Despite their loss, New Zealand remained confident.
Peter Becker said the ice was in perfect condition and was very weight-sensitive, therefore skill was an extremely important factor. “You have to throw the perfect stone.”
The second round was the men’s. Three of the four games were very close and hard won with New Zealand scoring two points on the final end to beat the Czech Republic 7-6; Australia beat Japan 5-3 and China beat USA 8-4. Korea beat Canada 10-3, with Canada unable to catch up after Korea scored a four in the fourth end.
The third and final round saw some exciting play by women’s teams, Korea and Japan who had a close game that went into an extra end (11th). Japan was looking good, but Korea’s final stone wicked-in (caught the edge) off the opposition’s shot stone onto their second shot, to slide into centre of the house and win them the game 7-6. It was a stunning play by Korea’s third, Kang Yoo-ri, who usually plays the team’s last shot because of her skill. “It all went to plan,” she said.
New Zealand women went up against China, the current world champions who showed their mettle in the fourth end, knocking New Zealand out of the house and scoring an impressive 6.The game went to six ends with China winning 12-1.