Team World at the World Financial Group Continental Cup, desperate for a victory following a devastating shellacking a year ago at St, Albert, AB., inched in front of the 2012 competition Thursday afternoon with a mixed doubles victory and a pair of draws.
The results left Team World with a 21-15 point lead heading in a later draw today involving men’s team games.
Mixed doubles involves two players per side, one male and one female, playing five rocks each over eight ends of play. There is no sweeping, except by the two players involved.
A World unit of two-time Olympic gold winner Anette Norberg and Sebastian Kraupp of Sweden doubled the count 8-4 over North Americans Reid Carruthers and Kim Schneider of Canada.
Elsewhere, Shawn Rojeski of the U.S. and Marliese Kasner of Canada gave up an eighth-end deuce to settle for a 9-9 draw with Thomas Ulsrud of Norway and Cissi Ostlund of Sweden, while Tom Brewster of Scotland and Qingshuang Yue of China also posted a last-end deuce to tie Wayne Middaugh of Canada and Nina Spatola of the U.S. by a 7-7 score.
Middaugh, a former world champion (1993, 1998), took the blame of failing to win his match.
“I feel bad about that game,” he said. “The only reason we didn’t win was I didn’t know the rules. And it’s my own fault for not reading the rules. We purposely blanked the seventh end thinking we’d retain hammer and we lost it.”
Middaugh led 7-5 playing the seventh and purposely blanked the seventh end expecting to have last rock in the eighth. That would have been the situation in a normal curling game. But not mixed doubles. You blank an end in that discipline and you yield the hammer.
As a result, Brewster executed a precise big-weight takeout to score two and gain three points in the six-point contest.
“That’s a big thing,” said Middaugh. “But it’s written in the rules and we didn’t know it. You have to read the rules and take responsibility for it.”(Continued Below…)
Photos from Draw 2[flickr-gallery mode=”tag” tags=”d22012wfgcontcup” tag_mode=”all”]
Earlier Thursday, in women’s team games, Canada’s Stefanie Lawton hammered Norberg 11-3 while Bingyu Wang of China shaded Patti Lank of the U.S. 6-5 and Canada’s Amber Holland pulled the string on her last draw, yielding a 5-5 draw with Euro champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland.
This is the eighth running of the Continental Cup. North America has four previous victories and Team World three.
The four-day competition features six teams from North America (Canada and the U.S.) facing off against six teams from the remainder of the planet (in this case, Sweden, Scotland, Norway and China) in four separate events involving rocks and brooms — regular team play, mixed doubles, singles (also known as Hot Shots) and skins.
The value of results starts low today with team and mixed doubles play and gradually swells with the heavy-duty skins action primed to decide the issue on Sunday.
In men’s games at 6:30 p.m. PT today, Tom Brewster of Scotland faces Pete Fenson of the U.S., Jeff Stoughton of Canada goes against Niklas Edin of Sweden and Glenn Howard of Canada tackles Thomas Ulsrud of Norway.
Media Scrum from Draw 2