Russia defeat Norway to take on gold medal gameAt the World Wheelchair Curling Worlds the page play-offs began with the 1v2 game between Norway and Russia and the 3v4 game between South Korea and Switzerland. 28 Feb 2016
Russia have progressed to the gold medal game of the 2016 World Wheelchair Curling Championships, after beating Norway in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Saturday (27 February).
In a tense 1v2 game Norway blanked the opening end before going on to score a single point in the second end, then steal a single point in the third end. Russia responded immediately, levelling the scores at 2-2 going into the break when they scored two points in the fourth end.
Tensions remained high with the slightest of mistakes being taken advantage off, this would prove to be the case when Russia added to their score by stealing single points in the fifth and sixth ends. Norway could only score a single point in the seventh end to go into the final end a point behind.
In the final end, Norway found themselves sitting three shot stones in the 8-foot when Russia skip, Andrey Smirnov prepared to throw his last stone of the game.
Smirnov was slightly heavy and just a little wide with his stone. However, he caught enough of the back Norwegian stone in the house to bring his own stone to rest on the edge of the 4-foot for the single point and the win.
"The game was tough and nervous that's why we are still feeling nervous,” Smirnov said. “But it's very good for us that we were able to gather strength, to control and fix our mistakes. Of course, now we will prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s game.
“The last end brought a lot of tension and the last stone was our last hope. I was concentrating just on this stone and I'm happy that I did my best and we won.
“We feel that all teams expect the hardest of games with us and we feel this pressure from our status as defending champions. And we, of course, realise that we can't expect any other behaviour, so we don’t try think about it so much and try instead to just focus on the game."
This win takes Russia directly into the gold medal game to face the winner of Sunday's (28 February) semi-final between Norway and South Korea.
South Korea v Switzerland
The 3v4 game was another tight encounter with Switzerland continually clearing out stones. With the hammer, Switzerland blanked the first three ends before scoring two points in the fourth end for a 2-0 lead at the break.
The teams traded single points in the next two ends before South Korea took the lead with a score of three points in the seventh end. This setup a very nervy final end with Switzerland skip, Felix Wagner making the vital draw into the house with his last stone to score one point and take the game to an extra end.
With the final skip stones of the extra end to be played South Korea, with the hammer, were sitting two shot stones. However, the Korean final stone would not need to be played as Wagner caught a guard when trying to delicately draw into the house giving South Korea the two points and the win.
Hui-Tae Yang, the South Korean skip said: "I think this is the time for more concentration on the games. Since we’re here as the representatives of South Korea, we are going to try to show our best as much as we can.
“Actually, we were all very tired after the round-robin games had finished, but we had a day to rest and fully recover yesterday. After that we feel like we are in a better condition, physically and emotionally, than ever before. I feel like the more we play the more confidence we have.
“I just emptied my mind right before delivering the last stone. I tried to bring my best shooting pose to mind and threw the stone as light as possible. I relaxed the tension in my right arm and shoulder and tried to ease my mind as if I was at home."
The newly promoted teams, South Korea and Norway, will now face off in the semi-final game with the winner going on to the gold medal game to play Russia. The losing team will go into the bronze medal game to face Switzerland.
Earlier in the day, Germany defeated Slovakia 7-2 in the relegation tie-breaker. Slovakia, along with Finland will now play in the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship next year.
Page play-offs: 1v2 game: Russia 5-3 Norway; 3v4 game: South Korea 6-4 Switzerland (extra end).
Relegation tie-breaker: Germany 7-2 Slovakia