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Team World on the cusp of victory at Continental Cup

Team World now stands just eight points away from victory at the 2008 edition of the Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto.

Team World on the cusp of victory

Sunday morning at the EnCana Arena at the Edgeworth Centre, in the women’s 55-point Skins game, Sweden’s Anette Norberg defeated Canada’s Jennifer Jones, 41-14, to elevate Team World’s point total to 193, while North America now stands at 152.

The first side to 201 will claim the sixth Continental Cup, as North America holds a 3-2 edge since the inaugural event in 2002 in Regina.

This afternoon, at 2:00 pm MT/4:00 pm ET, live on TSN, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud will face Canada’s Kevin Martin, the master of the Skins, in the men’s 55-pointer.  Ulsrud needs just eight points to claim the Cup for the World, but it won’t be easy.  However, North America has been behind the eight-ball the entire week, having never led at any point during Cup play.

The seventh end proved the crucial turning point, as Jones held a 14-11 lead over Norberg.  With an 18-point carryover, Jones, with hammer, faced several Norberg counters and had a choice – an open draw to force another carryover, or a makeable triple to count at least two and take the skin herself.  She tried the latter but just missed, allowing Norberg to steal and claim the skin.

Then, in the 12-point eighth end, with a tonne of rocks in play and Norberg counting one for another steal, Jones tried a tap back with her last brick to force a carryover (which would have been resolved by a draw to the button) but Norberg was able to steal again, taking the valuable skin and making the final score, 41-14.

“I think the result was better than how we played it,” said a happy and relieved Norberg, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist and two-time (2005, 2006) world champion.  “We like playing the Skins.  We’re kind of enjoying the game (of curling) nowadays.  We don’t think we have anything to prove anymore.   We have won the gold, so we don’t think that much about it anymore.”

Norberg has enjoyed great success in the Skins games at previous Continental Cup. In 2003 in Thunder Bay, she whitewashed Sherry Middaugh, 60-0, to hand the World (then Europe) at 191-149 lead going into the men’s final skins between Peja Lindholm and Randy Ferbey.   Ferbey forced Lindholm, though, to a seventh end, before the Cup was decided.

Then, in 2006 in Chilliwack, Norberg clinched the Cup for Europe, defeating Canada’s Shannon Kleibrink, 32-28 in the 60-point women’s skins game, as the men’s game was going on at the same time.

Said Jones, the reigning world champion after her victory last March in the Ford world women’s in Vernon, British Columbia, “It (the triple) was a shot I would make 75% of the time.  We talked about a draw, though.  We felt good going into the game. I thought we outplayed them, but the way skins go, a couple of shots here and there, and unfortunately we didn’t make them.  Hopefully (Kevin) Martin can go out and win every skin (this afternoon).”