Scotland qualify for World Junior semi-finals after seventh win

  • Scotland skip, Ross Whyte still undefeated © WCF / Richard Gray

With their seventh successive win – an 8-6 victory over Switzerland in Wednesday evening’s seventh men’s round-robin session – Scotland became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals stage of the World Junior Curling Championships 2019 in Liverpool, Canada.

Behind the Scots three teams now share second spot – Canada, who had a last-stone 8-6 win over Germany; Norway, 10-6 winners over Italy; and United States, who beat New Zealand by 8-3.

The Scots did not have it their own way against Switzerland, giving up single point steals in both the sixth and seventh ends to go into the eighth end down by 3-5. However, a take-out by their skip, Ross Whyte, with the last stone of the eighth end produced a score of five points and turned the game around.

Afterwards, Whyte said, “he was making some absolute beauties, so we just had to keep focussed on the next end. We were really struggling and thankfully we got the chance [for five] and we took it.”

Defending champions Canada struggled for most of their game against Germany, but when they scored four points in the tenth end, they were able to record their fifth win so far.

After this game, Canadian skip Tyler Tardi said, “that was an emotional, physical and everything roller-coaster from start to finish. We know we’re going to be tested this week, so it’s good to get that one out of the way. We always know it’s going to be a great battle – all the teams here are great and deserve to be here.”

United States dominated the second half of their game against New Zealand, scoring two points in the sixth end and following that up with a steal of two points in the seventh end, then a further single point steal in the eighth for their 8-3 win.

United States skip Andrew Stopera said afterwards, “New Zealand have played a lot of good games this week and they’ve come out on top in some close ones, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We went down early and had to play well and battle back. The boys played well in the second half and we came out on top.”

In this session Norway’s 10-6 win over Italy means that they join Canada and United States in a share of second place with five wins and two losses.

Switzerland now have four wins and lie fifth on the table. Meanwhile New Zealand, on three wins, now sit in sixth place, still with a chance to reach the play-offs.

For the other teams, the challenge is now to avoid dropping into the Junior-B qualification event. Among them is Sweden, who had their second win of the week, beating China by 8-3. Speaking after this game, Swedish skip Daniel Berggren said, “it was a bit tricky out there, but it worked out well. We’ve got Norway tomorrow and then we’ll need to play our best game against Canada, so hopefully it’ll work out.”

Sweden share seventh place with Germany while China and Italy sit at the bottom of the table, on just one win each.

Results and standings:

Session seven: Canada 8-6 Germany; Italy 6-10 Norway; Switzerland 6-8 Scotland; New Zealand 3-8 United States; Sweden 8-3 China.

Standings after session seven (W-L):

Q Scotland 7-0
Canada 5-2
Norway 5-2
United States 5-2
Switzerland 4-3
New Zealand 3-4
Germany 2-5
Sweden 2-5
China 1-6
Italy 1-6

Q = Qualified for the play-offs

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