Sweden moves to within one win of world title
Two world championship skipping appearances, two finals. That’s the record for Margaretha Sigfridsson and her Swedish team that’s headed for Sunday’s 4:30 p.m. Ford Worlds final match at the Enmax Centre.
Sigfridsson — with Maria Prytz throwing the last rocks while Sigfridsson leads off and then masterminds teehead strategy — first appeared at this championship in 2002 and lost the final to Scotland’s Jackie Lockhart at Bismarck, N.D.
Now this pair is back, after outshining that of defending champion, three-time world champion and double Olympic gold medallist Anette Norberg to qualify, and Friday night won the Page One-Two playoff match for a berth in the world women’s championship final by defeating Mirjam Ott’s team from Davos, Switzerland, 7-6 in an extra end.
The match boiled down to the last end with Sweden counting in the four-foot behind a guard and Ott needing a soft hit and roll into the button to set up a possible steal. But her last rock over-curled and died, leaving Sweden with the winning stone and a meaningless last stone remaining to be played.
“It was such a good game and so much fun to play,” said Sigfridsson. “It just feels great at the moment. We had such good energy on the team today and we performed really well, I think.” (Continued Below…)
Page Playoff 1 vs 2 Photos
Her team opened with a deuce and could have put up three but Prytz rolled off on a hit for the third point.
Switzerland battled back with a pair of singles and exchanged another pair before Prytz missed a draw to the four-foot in the seventh end for a deuce.
Ott made her foe pay with her own go-ahead deuce in the eighth but Sweden had Ott looking at three in the ninth and after she doubled out two of them, Prytz hit for a go-ahead duet.
With a wall of granite at the back of the rings in the 10th, the Swiss couldn’t keep a rock in play until Ott drew for the tying single.
“It was a really tight game and both teams played really well,” said Prytz.
“I struggled a little bit with my own play but my team was so good that I could make my 75 per cent enough.”
She said she expected to have to make “a little tapback” with her last of the game . . . “but I didn’t have to throw it and that is always fine”.
“Yes, I was a little bit nervous. Sometimes it’s just small, small things. It’s great to be in the final and we are going to play as good as we can. I look forward to it. I want to do a little better this time.”
“I wasn’t worried in the extra end. My doubt was in the 10th end because a lot of our stones were at the back of the rings and we didn’t want that. It was hard to keep hitting their stones.
“I think it was one of our best games. Unfortunately I didn’t get our last stones exactly where I wanted them all the time. But Maria performed well and the team was just great.
“I’ll hope we’ll get some practice tomorrow (11 a.m. in fact) and just enjoy the day and get our strength back for the final.” (Continued below…)
How did she describe the feeling of being one game shy of a world title?
“It’s just fantastic, it’s hard to describe,” she said. “You have to do it to know what it feels like. It’s so hard. It’s just euphoria.
“But we’re not really totally happy until we win the final.”
Christina Bertrup threw third rocks for the winners while Maria Wennerstrom played second stones.
Both teams were 8-and-3 during the round-robin preliminaries, the Swiss had a collective one-point edge in percentage shooting and a huge advantage in terms of experience.
In world championship play, this Swiss team — third Carmen Schaefer, second Carmen Kueng and lead Janine Greiner — boasted a combined 22 appearances compared to the Swedish team’s eight. The Swiss carried six Olympic appearances into the game, the Swedes had no Olympic experience. And the Swiss foursome was credited with a combined 29 Euro challenges compared to nine for the Swedes.
Switzerland will play today’s semi-final at 6 p.m. against the winner of a Page Three-Four battle earlier today between Korea and Canada.
Swiss skip Ott suggested her team was a lucky break away from winning the Friday night match.
“We were unlucky,” she said. “I don’t like to speak about luck or unluck. It’s just that we had some chances and we couldn’t use them. It was a good game, a close game, an interesting game and we were unlucky that we didn’t win.
“It’s good to know we have another chance but we would rather be in the final now.”
She said she thought she’d thrown her final stone “pretty well”.
“But on that side the ice slowed down, it was playing 13.5 (seconds) and it was maybe 30 centimetres short,” she said.
“There were a couple of bad situations where we were really, really close. We lost a measure and on another day we might have won this game. The weight changed a little bit in this game, maybe because there was only one game on one sheet out there.
“It was different but it was still great, curling and swinging. We appreciate that.
“I still think we can play a little bit better.”
Written by Larry Wood
Saturday, 24 March 2012 01:46