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Wild finishes to three Skins games at Continental Cup

The final weekend of the Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto, kicked off in dramatic fashion with three wild finishes in the 20-point Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Skins games Saturday morning at the Edgeworth Centre, resulting in North America closing the gap on Team World to 97-71.

Wild finish

All three eight-end games finished with carryovers, necessitating an exciting draw-to-the-button conclusion, similar to a hockey shootout.

On sheet A, China’s Fengchun Wang, who led Craig Brown of the USA 10-0, prior to the draw for the 10-point carryover, drew right to the button, but Brown responded in kind, forcing a second draw from another team member.   China third Rui Liu then came within an eyelash of also covering the button, but USA third Rich Ruohonen was able to win the skin, as he duplicated his skip’s effort with a perfect cover, meaning the game ended in a 10-10 tie.

Over on Sheet C, Debbie McCormick of the United States was also in front 10-0, heading to the 10-point carryover, but her draw was heavy to the back-four, allowing Chinese skip Bingyu Wang to win the 10-point carryover with her own draw, which wound up covering half the button.  Thus, this game also wound up tied at 10.

Finally, it was over to Sheet B in the Mixed Skins game, involving skips David Murdoch of Scotland and John Morris of Canada.   Morris’s team was up 9-5, meaning the carryover was only worth six points.   When Murdoch came up a little light on his draw, finishing in the four-foot, Morris showcased another perfect draw to the pin for the skin, making the final score, 15-5.

The overall result meant that North America had shaved 10 points off a 36-point World lead, heading into the Singles competition this afternoon at 4:00 pm MT.   Three women’s and three men’s games, each worth four points, will be contested, with an eight-point bonus awarded to the side with the highest aggregate total from all six games.

The Singles event is really a team competition, since each member must throw at least one of the required six shots…. Run Through, Draw the Button, Draw the Port, Raise, Hit and Roll and Double Takeout, with points awarded for each shot, depending on its success.

The women’s pairings will feature Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott facing Debbie McCormick, Bingyu Wang playing Jennifer Jones and Anette Norberg meeting Stefanie Lawton.  On the men’s side, the World’s Fengchun Wang meets Canada’s Kevin Koe, David Murdoch goes up against Kevin Martin and Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud faces Craig Brown.

At 7:30 pm MT, the 30-point Men’s (Murdoch vs Koe), Women’s (Ott vs Lawton) and Mixed (teams skipped by Thomas Ulsrud and Kevin Martin) Skins games take place.

The Continental Cup, the first event in curling’s Season of Champions, involves Team games (72 points), Mixed Doubles (36 points), Singles (32 points) and Skins (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed, worth a total of 260 points).   The first side to score 201 points is declared the winner.  Each member of the winning team will receive $2,000, while each losing team member gets $1,400.

North America holds a 3-2 edge in Cup wins, since the unique four-day competition began in 2002 in Regina.   North America won the inaugural Cup, then took renewals in Medicine Hat in 2004 and 2007.   The World (formerly Team Europe) won in 2003 in Thunder Bay and 2006 in Chilliwack.

TSN and TSN2 are providing full live national coverage of the competition.