Friday, March 23, 2007

Scotland moves past U.S.

AOMORI – It was a single errant 42-pound hunk of granite that spoiled Debbie McCormick’s day.

The U.S. champion missed a crucial but routine draw in the third end of the Page 3/4 Playoff match, handed four stolen points to Scotland’s Kelly Wood and spiralled out of the 2007 World Women’s Curling Championships.

The final score was 11-5 in nine ends.

“It was a little heavy, but I guess I was just wide,” said McCormick, the 2006 finalist and 2003 champion (photo by CurlingZone).

“It’s very disappointing after getting so close last year. They (Scotland) played well.”

The beginning of the end started innocently enough. The Americans missed repeated efforts to draw behind cover, and the Scots knocked the U.S. rocks clear. On McCormick’s last stone, there were four Scottish rocks in the rings but the path was wide-open for a simple draw to the rings for a point.

However, McCormick was a touch wide, the rock ran straight and crashed on a guard, and the U.S. suddenly trailed 5-0.

“There’s no way you would imagine that,” said Wood, who will face the loser of Saturday’s Page 1/2 game between Canada and Denmark. The winner of that match is into Sunday’s final.

“There was so much ice, it was a bit of a shock. It was strange, but nice.”

Wood is guaranteed a bronze medal.

“It’s my first medal in six or seven (international) championships,” said the enthused skip. “I’ve never been this far into the playoffs. I’m just going to enjoy the games the rest of the way.”

Prior to the game, the final four teams enjoyed a practice day, followed by a demonstration of Mixed Doubles curling, the new discipline being promoted by the World Curling Federation.

Numerous teams, coaches and curious spectators attended the four-end exhibition, which featured a Danish pair – Denise Dupont and coach Ulrik Damm – versus an American twosome (alternate Maureen Brunt and coach Rob Meakin) and American pairs throwing five rocks each, and with two extra stones placed in strategic positions before each end.

The game was filmed by World Curling Television to help the sport’s 46 member nations develop the discipline in their countries.

The first World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship takes place in Vierumäki, Finland in conjunction with the 2008 World Seniors, March 9-15 next year.

No comments: