By Ian Ford – New Zealand Curling Association

The New Zealand Men’s and Women’s curling teams are playing for high stakes in today’s best-of-five semi-finals at the 2010 Pacific Curling Championships in Korea. As well as a place in the championship final, the semi-final winners will qualify their country for next year’s World Championship.

The NZ women face a tough assignment, needing to win three consecutive games against the unbeaten Chinese if they are to make the final and their first trip to a World Championship. They start today at 0-2 down, as their 2 pool games against China count as the first two games in the best-of-five series. Korea also start at 2-0 up against Japan in the other semifinal.

The Kiwi Men start at 1-1 with Korea, the two teams having shared their pool games. China will start 2-0 against Australia, needing just one more win to qualify.

Preliminary Matches –Second Round

There were two full round robin draws to fine the top four teams for the semi-finals.

In the Women’s section, the results were a carbon copy of the first round. China finished undefeated, followed by Korea and Japan. New Zealand were fourth, but their most critical of their eight pool games was the last where they confirmed their semi-final berth in beating Australia 11-4. Their only 2 wins were against the Australians and so they did enough to qualify, but will be disappponted not to have claimed any other scalps along the way.

The NZ Men repeated their wins over Australia and Chinese Taipei in the second round of matches, but lost again to China and Japan. The Japanese team, second in this event last year, finished at the bottom of the standings with their only 2 wins coming against the Kiwis.

NZ beat Korea in the first round, but in the second round they went down 8-10 in an extra end.

The semi-finals will be completed today, with the gold medal final and bronze medal play-off scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).

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