World leads North America, 36-18 after Day One at Continental Cup

Team World will take a 36-18 point lead over North America into Friday’s action at the Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto.Thursday evening at the EnCana Arena in the Edgeworth Centre, North America rebounded by taking two of the three men’s team games, worth six points each, to close a 30-6 gap which the World had built through the first two draws. Canada’s Kevin Martin, the reigning world champion and three-time Brier winner, dismantled China’s Fengchun Wang, 10-1.    Martin opened with steals of deuces in the first two ends, took three in the fourth, then stole singles in the fifth, sixth and seventh ends, enough to prematurely end the match.    Wang handed Martin his first defeat, a shocking 6-5 win, at the 2008 world men’s in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Craig Brown of the United States also contributed to North America’s evening success with a 6-4 victory over 2006 world and reigning European champion David Murdoch of Scotland. In the third game, though, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud outbattled Canada’s Kevin Koe, 6-4 to salvage the session for Team World. Earlier in the day, the World took two of three women’s team games, while tying the third game, and did similar damage in the afternoon Mixed Doubles session, while running up a 30-6 margin. North America holds a 3-2 edge in Cup wins, since the unique four-day competition began in 2002 in Regina.   North America won the inaugural Cup, then took renewals in Medicine Hat in 2004 and 2007.   The World (formerly Team Europe) won in 2003 in Thunder Bay and 2006 in Chilliwack. The Continental Cup, the first event in curling’s Season of Champions, involves Team games (72 points), Mixed Doubles (36 points), Singles (32 points) and Skins (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed, worth a total of 260 points).   The first side to score 201 points is declared the winner.  Each member of the winning team will receive $2,000, while each losing team member gets $1,400. Action continues on Friday with three women’s team games at 8:30 am MT, followed by another session of Mixed Doubles at 1:00 pm, then finishing with three men’s team games beginning at 8:00 pm. Friday morning, China’s Bingyu Wang will meet Canada’s Jennifer Jones in a rematch of last year’s Ford world women’s final in Vernon, British Columbia, Sweden’s Anette Norberg goes up against Debbie McCormick of the USA, while Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott takes on Canada’s Stefanie Lawton. TSN and TSN2 are providing full live national coverage of the competition. The Continental Cup is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, the United States Curling Association and the World Curling Federation.