by Al Cameron
January 18, 2014, LAS VEGAS (ISN) – Every half-point counts at the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup, and Team World picked up a couple of much-needed ties out of nowhere on Saturday afternoon at the Orleans Arena.
Team World stole points in the eighth and final ends of a pair of games to salvage what could turn out to be two crucial half-points against Team North America in traditional team play in curling’s version of the Ryder Cup.
There could have been another, but Team World’s Eve Muirhead (Scotland) missed on her open hit-and-roll attempt to score a game-tying deuce in the eighth end and wound up losing 5-4 to Team North America’s Rachel Homan (Ottawa).
“Thankfully we got that win,” said Homan after the game. “Some disasters just happened over there (on the other sheets). It’s tough out here – there’s so many good teams. One little shot here or there makes a huge difference and there’s points all over the place.”
It could have been a clean sweep for Team North America; instead, the home team took two of the available three points and now leads the overall standings 15-12. A total of 60 points are available, meaning the first team to 30.5 points will win the WFG Continental Cup, although as reigning champions, Team North America would need only 30 points.
The most shocking tie game was between Team World’s Margaretha Sigfridsson (Sweden) and Team North America’s Erika Brown (Oakville, Ont./Madison, Wisc.); Brown missed her last shot of the game, wrecking on a guard, to give a steal of three to Team World, producing a 7-7 tie.
“We struggled a little bit in the fourth end,” said Sigfridsson’s last-rock thrower Maria Prytz, referring to Team North America’s steal of four in the fourth end. “I missed a draw and they took a four which didn’t end well. We had to fight back and there became an opportunity in the eighth end and we took it. It feels like we won, so it feels good.”
In the other game, Team North America’s Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) rolled too far on his last rock of the game to give Team World’s David Murdoch (Scotland) a stolen single and a 4-4 tie. Murdoch’s deuce in the seventh end set the stage for the comeback.
“Every half point does count,” said Team Murdoch vice-skip Tom Brewster. “Every point or half point you get on the board is one step closer to the total. There was two good comebacks there – the two half-points feel almost like two wins to be honest.”
Play on Saturday continues with the final round of traditional team games, at 6:30 p.m. (all times Pacific).
On Sunday, the skins games are set for 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the matchups were decided late Saturday afternoon.
In the women’s skins games, Team World’s Sigfridsson will play Team North America’s Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg) at 1 p.m., while at 6 p.m., Team World’s Muirhead will play Team North America’s Brown.
In men’s skins, at 1 p.m. it’s Team World’s Niklas Edin (Sweden) against Team North America’s John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), while at 6 p.m., Team North America’s Jacobs will play Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud (Norway).
The mixed skins at 1 p.m. features a Team North America squad skipped by Homan, with Jon Mead at third, Alison Kreviazuk at second and Reid Carruthers at lead, playing Team World’s Brewster, Emi Shimizu, Greg Drummond and Chiaki Matsumura. The 6 p.m. mixed skins lineups: Team North America’s Jeff Stoughton, Emma Miskew, Mark Nichols and Lisa Weagle against Team World’s David Murdoch, Satsuki Fujisawa, Scott Andrews and Miyo Ichikawa.
Each skins game is worth five points in the overall standings.
For the six mixed doubles and six singles matches, one point was awarded for each victory, one-half point if tied. There will be 18 team games (nine men’s and nine women’s) played, each worth one point for a win and a half-point for a tie. All games are eight ends and there are no extra ends.
For ticket and other event information, visit www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/
For live scoring and up-to-date standings, go to: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/results/
For the complete schedule, go to: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/draw-schedule/
TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the WFG Continental Cup.
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-fr/