Day 5 of the Pacific Asia Curling Championships in Naseby produced mixed results for the New Zealand teams. The Kiwi women scored an important win against Australia to stay in playoff contention, but their male counterparts crashed out of the tournament.
The NUZ Men needed to beat Australia to keep their semi-final hopes alive, but they had a horror game where nothing went right and suffered an embarrassing 8-1 loss.
It all went wrong in the fourth end for New Zealand when looking to hit the side of an opponent’s stone and roll in for shot with their final delivery. It was just wide, Australia stole 4 points and didn’t look back. From there Australia ensured there were few stones in play, the Kiwis clipped guards when trying to draw behind cover to get back in the match, and the sides shook hands after seven ends.
In the other men’s matches China headed Korea 6-4 in a top of the table clash, while Chinese Taipei kept their playoff hopes alive when they overwhelmed Kazakhstan 15-4.
It has been a difficult week for Kazakhstan men, making their first appearance in the Pacific-Asia zone. Alexander Orlov, who has skipped the team for the majority of the week, believes the experience has been valuable.
“It was a great experience this week,” he said. “It has shown all of us that the other teams make very few mistakes. You have to play all your stones, if you are not going to do that it will be difficult to pick up more than one point with hammer. But if you have a look at all of our scores, we can score some points, we will learn from this experience and I think we will do better next year.”
China and Korea have secured their semi-final slots. Japan, Australia and Chinese Taipei are all in the mix for the other two places in tomorrow’s final round.
The New Zealand women have played well through the week, but have had a number of their matches turn on just one shot. The same happened in their match against Japan this morning, when their last draw in the fourth end on lightning-fast ice was just heavy for them to concede a steal of 3.
NZ came back with a surgical takeout to score two in the eighth end, and went into the last end needing to steal one to level the scores. They did everything right to leave the Japanese skip needing a precision tap and roll to win, and she played it perfectly to earn a 7-5 result for her side.
Japan skip Satsuki Fujisawa said after the match, “We got a win today which is important as it makes things a little bit easier for us (having qualified for the play-offs). The fourth end was excellent because we made all of our shots perfectly.”
“At the seventh end New Zealand had a very good end but thankfully, in the eighth end, we recovered. New Zealand is a pretty good team, they have been getting better and better throughout this competition and they played very well so it was a hard game today.”
In the other women’s morning matches, Korea scored a well-executed 4 en route to toppling the previously unbeaten Chinese 8-6, and Australia needed an extra end to beat an injury-depleted Kazakhstan 9-8.
The local side finally earned some reward when they played Australia in the evening round. The Kiwis stole three consecutive ends in the middle of the game, and wrapped up a deserved 9-4 win with 3 points in the ninth end.
New Zealand skip Bridget Becker was understandably pleased after the match. “We played really well in both games today,” she said. “It was tough losing on the last stone (to Japan) this morning but tonight we just kept it going and we got the result. So it’s onwards and upwards we hope, and we’ll see how we go tomorrow.”
Japan’s women completed a good day with a 6-3 win against Korea, and table-topping China beat the plucky Kazakh side 11-3.
China, Japan and Korea have confirmed their semi-final places with one round to play. New Zealand will earn a tiebreaker against the Aussies for the other spot if they beat Kazakhstan and Korea can topple Australia tomorrow.
Standings after Day 5:
Women (after 9 sessions):
New Zealand 2-7
Men (after 6 sessions):
Chinese Taipei 2-3
New Zealand 1-5