Alan O’Leary and Lois Fowler will lead their teams to the semifinals at the World Senior Curling Championships taking place at the Iceberg Skating Palace Training Rink in Sochi, Russia.
Fowler secured her spot with a 5-2 victory over Switzerland on Friday morning, and O’Leary followed suit by overpowering Sweden 9-3 later in the day.
Fowler and her Brandon, Man., team of third Maureen Bonar, second Cathy Gauthier, lead Allyson Stewart, with coaches Brian Fowler and Bill Tschirhart, were in control for most of the game. With Canada leading 5-2 heading into the eighth end, Swiss skip Susan Limena’s last stone hit but rolled out and the Swiss conceded.
“Sometimes if you lose a game you just bear down a little deeper,” said Fowler, referring to a disappointing extra-end loss to the USA in the round robin. “An extra game was all we had to play, and for us, we said we’d treat it like a really good practice.”
“Switzerland is a fantastic team and that was a well-played game,” she said. “We were two up and we were surprised when she drew for one in the fourth end, we thought she’d blank it. But then we were able to get our deuce back in the fifth end. It was well-played and I’m not sure who we play next, but whoever, we’re just going to go at it hard.”
In the women’s semifinals on Saturday (1 a.m. ET), Canada will play Sweden’s Gunilla Arfwidsson Edlund (5-1), while Italy’s Fiona Simpson (2-3) will face the USA’s Norma O’Leary (5-0).
In the men’s quarter-final, O’Leary and his Halifax team of third Andrew Dauphinee, second Danny Christianson, lead Harold McCarthy and coach Tschirhart got off to a strong start against Sweden’s Anders Westerberg (4-3), scoring three in the first end and stealing a single in the second. Leading 6-1 at the break, the Canadians kept the pressure on, and the Swedes shook hands in the seventh for a 9-3 Canadian win.
“My boys played really good,” said O’Leary afterwards. “We went after them straight off the bat. We got the hammer, so went after them in the first. We got a couple of breaks and the three in one was big.”
“Their skip actually played very well,” he said. “He didn’t have a whole lot but he made some great shots to keep them in there.”
“This (was) a nerve-wracking game for us because we want to make it to the medal round,” said the relieved skip. “If we’d lost this one it would have been sour. Job done, now on to tomorrow morning.”
In Saturday’s semifinal, O’Leary and crew will meet Denmark’s Ole De Neergaard, who went undefeated in the round robin. In the other semifinal, New Zealand’s Hans Frauenlob will play the USA’s Lyle Sieg.
The semifinal games for both men and women will be played on Saturday at 1 a.m. ET, with the final medal games taking place at 6 a.m. ET.
For live scores and standings from the World Seniors Championship, go to: wscc2015.curlingevents.com/.