It’s headed to a battle of unbeaten teams later today in the Ford Worlds at Regina’s Brandt Centre. Canada’s Jeff Stoughton pulled even with his 7:30 p.m. adversary, Scotland, on Tuesday afternoon, scoring three in the first end and cruising past France’s Thomas Dufour 11-5.
It was Dufour’s second defeat of the week. He is now two games off the pace set by Canada and Scotland and tied at two losses with Niklas Edin of Sweden and hard-charging Christof Schwaller of Switzerland.
“We had great positioning early,” said Stoughton of his afternoon assignment, “and we made some great shots and just sort of ran it out after that.”
Added Winnipeg vice-skip Jon Mead, “I have no trouble getting up for teams like this. Not even a bit. I thought those guys played a great game. We got off to a great start and they played to try to get back in the game, and they made a lot of quality shots. Maybe they went too hard in the third end, they were in jail.”
France gave up another trio there and trailed 6-1 but hung in until the ninth when Canada nailed up its third three-ender.
“He (Dufour) calls as good a game as anybody I’ve seen here,” said Mead. “They just got down a ton. They weren’t 4-and-1 coming in for nothing. It’s probably a bit easier not knowing these guys. You’re in a world championship and you get up and play. If you can’t get up for this, you can’t get up, period.”
French last-rocker Tony Angiboust professed disappointment with some of his shots. “You make a mistake with that team it can cost you three or four points,” he said. “Canada used our mistakes and played very, very well. I hope we can be better next game (France gets China, Swiss, Germany, back to back).
“I have to play better. We were off on some lines and some weight. Too much inside of shots. We have to forget this game and regroup.”
Switzerland appears to be at that regrouping stage already, having won twice on Tuesday for a 5-and-2 record with the playoffs in sight.”
“We had a good day,” agreed Schwaller, out of St. Moritz. “How do we continue? Just play, play, play and the experience will help you find the right weight.”
The Swiss needed an extra end in order to steal an 8-6 victory over Jiri Snitil (2-5) of the Czech Republic who slipped his last-rock draw through the four-foot looking at the pair.
Elsewhere, Korea (2-4) came from behind to outscore winless Denmark 10-8 while Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud (3-4) pulled himself off the canvas with two precise 10th-end shots for a deuce and a 7-6 win over Pete Fenson (2-5) of the U.S.A.
“I’m really happy now to have been able to pull off that last shot,” said the Euro champion skip. “You could just see a bit of it. The weight had to be right. If you overthrew it, you’re in trouble. That was a tight game and a big one for us.”
Ulsrud twice slipped his rocks past guards to demote Fenson counters.
“We’re now down to our last life,” the struggling Ulsrud added. “But I know these guys. I know they can pull it off. Coach says we’re not looking too bad on the stats. ‘You’re up there in all positions’. So I don’t know what the problem is. I don’t think our tactics are too bad. We play the same way all the time.”
It may have something to do with a target on the backs of the colourfully-trousered Norwegians, current Olympic silver medallists.
“Yeah, when we play the French guys and the Czech guys we usually have close games and we pull it off at the end, but here these guys are shooting the lights out against us,” said Ulsrud. “We wonder, why they didn’t play like this before when they played us. Maybe it’s the price for winning Euros and the Olympic silver. I’m more than happy to pay that price but I just hope we can play better.”
In other late games today, Sweden plays Denmark, Korea goes against Germany and France tackles the Chinese.