An afternoon sweep of mixed doubles results Friday catapulted Team World well in front of the pack at the World Financial Group Continental Cup curling competition at the Langley Events Centre.
When Scotland’s Tm Brewster executed a highlight-reel quad with his last rock of the second end which gave his team three-point control against Canada’s Jeff Stoughton and, in the end, a 7-6 men’s team win on the night shift, Team World’s 24-point lead (66-42) was solidified heading into today’s matches — two rounds of skins games with a round of singles sandwiched in between.
The men’s results were sawed off. Glenn Howard of Canada wiped out a 4-1 deficit after five ends, cracked four in the sixth and a seventh-end heist for a 6-4 win over Sweden’s Niklas Edin while Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud needed a straight last-rock hit for a deuce to forge a 4-4 tie with Pete Fenson’s troops of the U.S.
“Yeah, I wanted to win,” said Brewster, who lost to Stoughton in last year’s World final at Regina.
“It was good tonight. It was nice to play some pretty good shots and it turned out we helped sustain the team lead.”
Then there was the quad. The biggest shot played this week at Langley.
“That is what we went for,” said Brewster. “I have seen it about 20 times on the Jumbotron since. I liked that one, but the guys played really well and we had a good team game. My team shot the lights out.”
On the big shot, the Scottish skip added:
“They weren’t lying as many against us as it looked, but we certainly had to move a few and we knew the shooter was probably going to run.
“The feeling was great. That’s what you curl for. Playing in these events and making a shot like that. You have to be happy.
“To be quite frank, a steal of two there in an eight-end game was huge. They came right back, then we got the two but we persevered and, yeah, that was probably the end that really won us the game.” (Continued below…)
Photos from Draw 6[flickr-gallery mode=”tag” tags=”d62012wfgcontcup” tag_mode=”all”]
Howard waved off the Team World lead on account of the big points action slated for today and Sunday.
“We’re down a bit but there are so many points left to play for I think it’s going to come down to those big skins games. There’s no clear-cut better team, all the teams here are pretty even. Saturday will be moving day.”
He was asked if excess play in skins would prove to be an advantage for North Americans?
“We may have a slight advantage,” he admitted. “We play the skins more, probably, than they do. And we have some wily veterans playing the skins. But I think it’s going to come right down to the final game.”
In that one, Sunday at 5 p.m., Stoughton’s Winnipeggers have been chosen to go against double Euro champion Ulsrud.
“I don’t know why we’re playing that game but I guess it’s an honour, you know?” said the Norwegian skip.
“I feel privileged to play it and I’m looking forward to playing Jeff (Stoughton). It’s a big game.”
Ulsrud trailed Fenson from the first end when the Amerks cracked an opening deuce.
“We were struggling,” Ulsrud admitted. “We were trailing the whole game so to manage a deuce and tie it up was great.
“Before I threw my first rock of that last end we asked the coach, do you want to go for the kill and try to get one more behind the corner guard but he said, ‘no guys, just tie it up, that’ll be just fine”. We could have gone for the three but then we could have blown the tie, too.
“I don’t think it’s all about the points now because we still have to play for a lot of points to come. I think the key is the momentum in the team and the team spirit at the end of the day. We’re leading, you know, and last year they kicked our butts. Now we’re leading after two days and it feels good.”
Howard moaned about his team’s “awful start” but the Swedes allowed the Ontario team to wiggle off the hook.
“I played one awful shot in the third end when we gave up the three after blanking a couple,” said Howard. “I had a makeable double and I actually wobbled a bit, set it out and flashed and he gets three, and I thought, ‘oh man, I’ve blown it’.
“And then we get three uncharacteristic misses out of Edin and the boys and we get four. It was crazy.”
The afternoon double sweep afforded the team that was totally embarrassed at last year’s Cup a certain comfort.
* Torger Nergard of Norway and Bingyu Wang of Cbina combined for a 5-4 decision against Craig Savill of Canada and Patti Lank of the U.S.;
* Frederik Lindberg of Sweden and Muirhead warded off a late rally to shade Ben Hebert and Stefanie Lawton of Canada 8-7;
* Greg Drummond and Anna Sloan of Scotland got off to a 5-1 lead and hung on for a 7-5 conquest of the Amerk unit of Joe Polo of the U.S. and Amber Holland of Canada.
In women’s competition in the morning, Patti Lank of the U.S. upended two-time Olympic gold medallist Anette Norberg of Sweden 8-5 while 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.
China’s Bingyu Wang, meanwhile, eliminated a partially hidden stone with her last to score two points and defeat Amber Holland of Canada 6-4.
Draw 6 Media Scrum