PENTICTON, B.C — Team North America is taking control at the World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto.
There were 12 points available on Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in the Ryder Cup-style curling competition featuring 12 of the best teams in the world; Team North America took nine of them and leads Team World 13-8 in the overall points race through two days.
The first team to 30.5 points will claim the WFG Financial Cup.
The North Americans capped their day by winning two men’s team games on Friday night and tying another.
“Boy, what a day,” said Canadian skip Kevin Martin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) after his team rolled to a 6-3 win over Team World’s Niklas Edin (Karlstads CK, Karlstad, Sweden). “Well, two days. Everybody’s been playing really, really well. We’ve got the momentum, and hopefully we can keep it going, but it’s a long way to the finish line yet.”
Martin’s team took control with a first-end deuce, and then scored three in the fourth end to cruise home with the victory on the centre sheet, where he was able to watch the two other North American men’s teams playing on either side of him put up positive results.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of you, and it adds so much pressure to the other team that we’re playing with the scoreboards the way they were,” he said. “That all sort of feeds on itself in this event. So far, so good. Everyone’s playing well, and hopefully we can come out with a good morning (in mixed doubles play on Saturday).”
In other action, U.S. champion Heath McCormick (St. Paul CC, St. Paul, Minn.) picked up his first win of the week, taking advantage of a short-handed Team World squad skipped by Thomas Ulsrud (Snarøen CC, Oslo, Norway) for an 8-3 win. Ulsrud lost second Christoffer Svae early in the game with a stomach issue that also was affecting players on Tom Brewster’s Scottish team.
“It was nice to get that one,” said McCormick, who came back strongly after a disappointing 8-7 loss on Thursday night to Edin. “We felt like we let one slide last night; we were pretty much in control and I missed a couple bad shots. So to come out and play well again felt nice. It’s nice that we can be part of this team and contribute to this team, and we feel like we belong.”
Brewster’s team (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland) was able to salvage half a point from the evening when he drew for a deuce in the eighth end to pull out a 5-5 tie with Team North America’s Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.).
“Every point, every half point makes a difference,” said Brewster. “It’s about reaching that thirty and a half points and we’re half a point closer to reaching that. It was hard fought tonight but it was good. We’re seeing a couple of the others guys (in Team World) go down and it’s not great. We’ve just got to dig deep and scrap for everything. They’ve been the favourites right from the start — let’s not kid ourselves, these are great teams. We’re just here to scrap for every point we can and go out and give our best.”
There will be six more traditional team games (three men’s, three women’s), each worth one point for a win, and one-half point for a tie. All games are eight ends and there are no extra ends. For the six mixed doubles and six singles matches, one point will also be awarded for each victory, one-half point if tied.
The six skins games (two mixed, two women’s and two men’s) on Sunday will offer a total of five points per game, with the first six ends of each game worth one-half point each, while the seventh and eighth ends are worth one point each. In skins, a count of at least two with last rock or a steal is required in order to win an end. Otherwise, the points carry over.
The winning side receives $52,000 Cdn ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). As well, the side that generates the highest points total from the final three skins games will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).
Each side has won four Continental Cups; Team World prevailed last year in Langley, B.C.
Here is the remainder of schedule for the first three days of the competition; matchups for the six skins-format games that could decide matters on Sunday will be determined when the respective coaches and captains (coach Rick Lang of Thunder Bay, Ont., and captain Kelley Law of Coquitlam B.C., for Team North America; coach Peja Lindholm of Östersund, Sweden, and captain David Hay of Perth, Scotland, for Team World) meet on Saturday afternoon.
SATURDAY, Jan. 12
9 a.m. PST
Sheet A: Team North America/Natalie Nicholson (St. Paul CC, St. Paul, Minn.) and Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) vs. Team World/Anna Sloan (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland) and Greg Drummond (Club Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Sheet B: Team North America/Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, Man.) and Brent Laing (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) vs. Team World/Carmen Kung (CC Davos, Davos, Switzerland) and Torger Nergård (Snarōen CC, Oslo, Norway)
Sheet C: Team North America/Jessica Mair (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) and Heath McCormick (Ardsley CC, Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y.) vs. Team World/Maria Prytz (Skellefteå CK, Skellefteå, Sweden) and Sebastian Kraupp (Karlstads CK, Karlstad, Sweden)
1:30 p.m. PST
Sheet A: Team North America/Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, Man.) vs. Team World/Eve Muirhead (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland)
Sheet B: Team North America/Allison Pottinger (St. Paul CC, St. Paul, Minn.) vs. Team World/Margaretha Sigfridsson (Skellefteå CK, Skellefteå, Sweden)
Sheet C: Team North America/Heather Nedohin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) vs. Team World/Mirjam Ott (CC Davos, Davos, Switzerland)
Sheet A: Team North America/Kevin Martin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) vs. Team World/Thomas Ulsrud (Snarøen CC, Oslo, Norway)
Sheet B: Team North America/Heath McCormick (Ardsley CC, Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y.) vs. Team World/Tom Brewster (Club Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Sheet C: Team North America/Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) vs. Team World/Niklas Edin (Karlstads CK, Karlstad, Sweden)
• For ticket and other event information, visit www.curling.ca/championships/continentalcup.
• TSN, the exclusive television network for the Canadian Curling Association’s Season of Champions, and French language sports network RDS/RDS2 will provide complete coverage of this year’s World Financial Group Continental Cup, from the Opening draw (Women’s Team games) on Thursday morning through to and including the final Skins games on Sunday.
• The World Financial Group Continental Cup is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, United States Curling Association and World Curling Federation.
• Media inquiries for other story ideas can be directed to:
Director, Communication and Media Relations
Canadian Curling Association