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Canadian senior women clinch first; mixed doubles team eliminated

Team Canada’s women are unbeaten and playoff-bound at the 2013 World Senior Curling Championships, while Canada’s mixed doubles team has been knocked out of contention at the 2013 World Mixed Doubles in Fredericton, N.B.

Team Canada third Carolyn Morris delivers a rock during her team’s win over Austria on Thursday. (Photo, WCF/Richard Gray)

Cathy King’s team from the Saville Centre in Edmonton — third Carolyn Morris, second Lesley McEwan, lead Doreen Gares, alternate Christine Jurgenson and coach Bill Tschirhart — rolled to a 12-1 win over Austria’s Veronika Huber Thursday afternoon at the Grant-Harvey Centre to clinch first place in its round-robin pool and a berth in Saturday’s semifinals.

But later in the day, Canada’s Robert Desjardins and Isabelle Néron of Saguenay, Que., along with coach Jim Waite, bowed 6-3 to China’s Yanlong Ma and Xinna Yu to be eliminated from the playoff hunt in the World Mixed Doubles.

The Canadian women were in total control from the get-go. Canada took two in the first, then stole four in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth and one more in the fifth before Austria broke the shutout with one in the sixth.

“We seem to be just rolling right along, and it feels good,” said King. “The girls are continuing to play well, and it makes my job easier out there. Another great win for Team Canada.”

The win extended Canada’s streak of victories at the World Senior Women’s Championship to 48 dating back to the 2008 World Seniors in Vierumäki, Finland.

“Well, you know, it’s how you finish (that matters),” said King. “The tough ones are still coming up here, so we need to continue playing well. We care about winning this event. If the (streak) goes with it, then that’s great. But it’s a matter of wanting to win the last one. That’s what really counts.”

Canada completes its round-robin schedule on Friday at noon (all times Atlantic) against Margie Smith of the United States (3-2).

The top two teams in each round-robin pool advance to Saturday’s 8 a.m. semifinals (first in Section A — Canada’s pool — plays second in Section B, while first in Section B plays second in Section A). The men’s and women’s gold medal games are Saturday at 2 p.m.

In mixed doubles play, Desjardins and Néron needed a win over the Chinese to advance to a Friday morning tiebreaker against Russia with a playoff berth on the line. Instead, Canada gave up steals of one in the first, two more in the second and stolen singles in the fifth and sixth ends and could never recover.

Canada finished the round robin with a 4-4 record, but Desjardins said the good memories of playing at the world championship will be what he takes home with him.

“Oh, it’s the thrill of a lifetime,” he said. “I’ll always remember this week. And it’s not over. The curling is over, but we’re here for two more days with all of the friends we’ve met here. It’s a great experience to be here.”

It was a triumphant return to curling this season for Néron, who’d been away from the sport the past few years to battle breast cancer.

“Particularly after being away from curling for four years, I never thought I could play at the world championship this year,” she said. “It’s OK. I’m satisfied with what we’ve done this week.”

Eight teams will contest the playoffs for the World Mixed Doubles Championship, and defending world champions Martin Rios and Nadine Lehmann of Switzerland led the charge into the final eight with an unbeaten 8-0 record in their nine-team pool. Also nailing down quarter-final berths on Thursday were Hungary’s Zsolt Kiss and Dorottya Palancsa (7-1), New Zealand’s Hans Frauenlob and Natalie Campbell (7-1), 2012 bronze-medallists Christian Roth and Claudia Toth of Austria (7-1), Scotland’s Bruce Mouat and Gina Aitken (6-2) and Sweden’s Fredrik Hallström and Elisabeth Norredahl (6-2).

There will be tiebreakers on Friday to determine the remaining two quarter-final berths.

Rob Armitage’s Canadian men’s team, meanwhile, is playoff-bound in the World Seniors men’s competition after a 5-2 win over Sweden’s Karl Nordlund earlier on Thursday in a battle of unbeaten teams. Sweden finished round-robin play with an 8-1 record. Canada, meanwhile, improved to 7-0 with two more games to play on Friday.

Armitage, third Keith Glover, second Randy Ponich, lead Wilf Edgar and alternate Lyle Treiber (Tschirhart is coaching both Canadian senior teams) play Wim Neeleman of the Netherlands (3-5) at 8:30 a.m. and Gert Messing of the United States (3-4) at 3:30 p.m. A victory in either of those games would give first place in the pool to Canada.

For live scores and standings from the World Mixed Doubles Championship, go to: www.wmdcc2013.curlingevents.com/. The playoff round from the World Mixed Doubles can be watched online at: www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV.

For live scores and standings from the World Seniors Championship, go to: wscc2013.curlingevents.com/.