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Team North America on verge of WFG Continental Cup victory

PENTICTON, B.C. — Team North America is closing in on its fifth triumph at the World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto.

Team World managed a narrow victory in the Sunday afternoon skins session, claiming eight of the available 15 points, but that still leaves Team North America with a commanding 26.5-18.5 lead in the overall standings, and needing just four of the 15 points that are on the line in the final three skins games, which begin at 5 p.m. (all times PST, all draws on TSN).

From left, Team North America’s Tabitha Peterson, Allison Pottinger and Natalie Nicholson look pleased with the proceedings on Sunday at the 2013 WFG Continental Cup. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

The first team to claim 30.5 of the 60 available points will win the WFG Continental Cup, although Team World as the defending champion would retain possession of the title should the teams end up tied with 30 points apiece.

“I think we’re still alive,” said Team World skip Margaretha Sigfridsson (Skellefteå CK, Skellefteå, Sweden), whose team was able to beat Team North America’s Allison Pottinger (St. Paul CC, St. Paul, Minn.) 3-2 in their skins encounter. “We need to perform very well in the next draw, but we still have a chance to win.”

The six skins games (two mixed, two women’s and two men’s) on Sunday offer a total of five points per game, with the first six ends of each game worth one-half point each, while the seventh and eighth ends are worth one point each. In skins, a count of at least two with last rock or a steal is required in order to win an end. Otherwise, the points carry over.

Team World’s Niklas Edin (Karlstads CK, Karlstad, Sweden) also racked up a victory, beating Team North America’s Heath McCormick (Ardsley CC, Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y.) 3.5-1.5.

Edin managed the game to make sure there were carry-overs to make the eighth end worth 3.5 points, and Edin was able to win it when McCormick missed on his last rock to leave Edin counting a winning deuce.

“I think we almost have to do that because we’re so far behind,” said Edin. “We need to (build up) the points and take our chances, especially with the hammer. We tried to really go offensive with the hammer, and we were happy to get it at the end.”

The lone North American victory was put together in a mixed game, as John Morris (third for Kevin Martin, Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) Team World’s Tom Brewster (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen CC) 3.5-1.5, although Brewster was able to claim what could be a crucial point at the end when no one won the final skin in the eighth end. The two skips had a tiebreaking draw to the button, and Brewster prevailed.

“That’s the thing with the skins; you’re never safe because they can carry over a bunch and everything can be on the line going into the last few ends,” said Morris. “We’re comfortable, but it would have been nice to make that last one to be a bit more comfortable.”

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4-Va-g3vdI

The final skins draw will feature Team North America’s Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) against Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud (Snarøen CC, Oslo, Norway) and Team North America’s Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, Man.) plays Team World’s Mirjam Ott (CC Davos, Davos, Switzerland), while the mixed game will be a battle of the sexes as Team North America’s Kevin Martin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) matches wits with Team World’s Eve Muirhead (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland).

The winning side receives $52,000 Cdn ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). As well, the side that generates the highest points total from the final three skins games will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).

Each side has won four Continental Cups.

Here is the remainder of the schedule:

SUNDAY, Jan. 13
5 p.m. PST
Skins
Sheet A (Women): Team North America/Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, Man.) vs. Team World/Mirjam Ott (CC Davos, Davos, Switzerland)
Sheet B (Mixed, listed in order of skip, third, second, lead): Team North America/Kevin Martin (all from the Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.), Heather Nedohin, Marc Kennedy, Laine Peters vs. Team World/Eve Muirhead (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland), Greg Drummond (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland), Vicki Adams (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland), Michael Goodfellow (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Sheet C (Men): Team North America/Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) vs. Team World/Thomas Ulsrud (Snarøen CC, Oslo, Norway)

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Other information:

• For ticket and other event information, visit www.curling.ca/championships/continentalcup.
• TSN, the exclusive television network for the Canadian Curling Association’s Season of Champions, and French language sports network RDS/RDS2 will provide complete coverage of this year’s World Financial Group Continental Cup, from the Opening draw (Women’s Team games) on Thursday morning through to and including the final Skins games on Sunday.
• The World Financial Group Continental Cup is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, United States Curling Association and World Curling Federation.
• Media inquiries for other story ideas can be directed to:
Al Cameron
Director, Communication and Media Relations
Canadian Curling Association
403-463-5500
acameron@curling.ca
www.curling.ca