New Zealand’s Winter Olympic curling contenders have had a winning start to the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ curling tournament. The NZ men beat China 9-5 in their opening round clash at the Maniototo Curling International rink in Naseby today.
Kiwi skip Peter de Boer was pleased with their result. “It’s nice to get off to a winning start,” he said after the match. “We played pretty well, so long may it continue. We only had one really sloppy end, and we had two or three ends where we got on top of them early and managed to finish those off nicely to score multiples.”
There are two local sides in the Men’s competition, but the other NZ team – New Zealand ‘A’ skipped by Hans Frauenlob – were not able to make it a double success for the home sides. They were beaten 10-7 by Korea, while Japan eased ahead in the second half of their match against Australia to win 8-3. The Koreans and Japanese sides will meet New Zealand in December’s Olympic Qualifying Event, so their clashes later this week will be keenly anticipated.
Earlier, the first round of the Mixed Doubles opened the tournament. China led throughout their match against New Zealand, making some spectacular shots on their way to a 9-5 win. There was more bad news for the home sides with New Zealand ‘A’ forced to default their match to Australia when Bridget Becker was unable to play.
Despite the close 7-6 final result of the remaining game, England always looked in control of their opening game against Australia ‘A’.
“That was a good solid start,” said England’s Lorna Rettig when they came off the ice. “Although we hadn’t played together before we’ve picked up each other’s play pretty smartly. We’d be happy to continue with that type of form through the week.”
Curling at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ continues at Naseby’s MCI rink this evening, with round robin matches continuing in the Men’s Fours and Mixed Doubles through until Thursday 22nd. Semi-finals and finals will be played on Friday.