The race for the WFG Continental Cup of curling remained neck-and-neck Friday morning at the Langley Events Centre when the women’s teams split decisions and a third was drawn leaving Team World in front by a narrow 39-33 margin.
In fact, some critical results, like an 8-5 victory for Patti Lank’s U.S. champions against two-time Olympic gold medallist Anette Norberg of Sweden, continued to keep Team North America within shouting distance in a tournament that has been called curling’s answer to the Ryder Cup.
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.
Play continues later today with a second round of mixed doubles and a second round of men’s team games. Action turns Saturday to singles and skins and winds up Sunday with skins finals.
Lank, directing Nina Spatola, Caitlin Maroldo and Mackenzie Lank, has had a habit over the years of defeating eventual world champions so Friday’s success may not have been a surprise.
“It’s funny,” said the U.S. skip who lives in Lewiston, N.Y., just south of the Niagara River. “I have beaten a lot of good teams. In fact, I don’t ever remember losing to her.(Continued Below…)
Photos from Draw 4[flickr-gallery mode="tag" tags="d42012wfgcontcup" tag_mode="all"]
“I’m just ornery. When you play these people you know you have to come with your A game. Over the years you just try to get up and do that with everybody. But today, they (Norberg team) made mistakes, too, and that helped us.
“I don’t know of any secret to beating winners.”
In other women’s team matches, Stefanie Lawton of Canada executed a last-rock double to score a point and gain a 3-3 draw with Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, the current Euro champion, while China’s Bingyu Wang eliminated a partially hidden stone with her last to score two points and defeat Amber Holland of Canada 6-4.
“It was a lucky one,” said Wang, who continues to refer to her team as a new one with regular second Qingshuang Yue playing third and former alternate Jinli Liu moving in at second.
“We had to pick that one out of there. For this game, we are so happy for a win.
“I think this is the first time we beat Amber Holland. She defeated us twice last year at the Worlds (in Denmark). So this is good for us. With this new team and the change of players, we need wins for confidence.
“It’s also good for Team World because we have to stay ahead in the Continental Cup. We hope to do well this year.
Regular third Yin Liu is in the U.S. at school for this curling season but Wang said she expects Yin Liu to return next year.
In men’s team games at 7 p.m. PT, Glenn Howard of Canada faces Niklas Edin of Sweden, Pete Fenson of the U.S. tackles Thomas Ulsrud of Norway, and Canadian champion Jeff Stoughton goes against Tom Brewster of Scotland in a rematch of last year’s world championship final.