Undefeated Korea and New Zealand clashed in the feature match of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ curling tournament at Naseby’s MCI rink this morning. The sides were tied after the regulation ten ends, but the home side scored the vital point in an extra end to record a 5-4 victory in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
“As soon as we got a few rocks in play and really started to curl against them we started to get the upper hand,” said New Zealand skip Peter de Boer. “It’s great to get through the first round undefeated, so we’ll just keep working away and see where it takes us.”
In another important game Japan beat China 10-8, and skip Yusuke Morozumi was pleased with the way his side played. “We just kept our concentration up for the whole game, and I think we had a very good game”, he said. “But with three wins and two losses we still have a lot of work to do.”
Australia beat New Zealand “A” 9-7 this morning to record their first win. In last night’s round, Japan beat NZ “A” 13-5, Korea controlled the second half of their match against China to record a 7-4 victory, and New Zealand stole two in the last end to sneak home 7-6 over Australia.
At the halfway stage of the double round robin New Zealand remain undefeated on 5 wins, followed by Korea 4, Japan 3, China 2, Australia 1 and New Zealand “A” yet to register a win.
New Zealand’s Mixed Doubles side had a strong start to their game against England in the early session this morning, and then withstood a strong English comeback to win 9-6. Japan took control from the outset to beat Australia “A” 10-2, and Australia did the same in their 7-2 win over China.
Australia’s Eve Belisle was pleased with the way their game plan worked out. “We came out real strong in the first two ends and got a good lead,” she said. “We hadn’t really played our ‘A’ game in the early ends up until now. But it’s hard to defend a lead in doubles because you can’t remove the rocks in the house early on, so you can’t relax.”
Australia, China, New Zealand and NZ “A” sit at the top of a congested leaderboard, all having just one loss. Three rounds of games remain before the semi-finalists are found.
Curling at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ continues at Naseby’s Maniototo Curling International rink this evening, with round robin matches continuing in the Men’s Fours and Mixed Doubles through until Thursday. Semi-finals and finals will be played on Friday.