Russia* and Norway came away with victories, as the first page play-offs on the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2017 concluded on Thursday (9 March) at the Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung, South Korea.
Defending champions Russia defeated Scotland 4-2, sealing their place in the gold medal game. Meanwhile Scotland will have to face Norway, who defeated China earlier, for the other spot.
Russia opened the scoring with back-to-back single point steals in the first two ends. On both occasions Scottish skip, Aileen Neilson, was faced with a hit to score single points after pressure from Russia. But she would roll her shooting stone too far, giving up the steals.
The third end saw both teams playing take-outs throughout and unable to score two points to level the game. The fourth end saw Scotland get on the scoreboard after further pressure from Russia forced Neilson to play a hit-and-stay for the single point.
In the second half, Russia scored a single point in the fifth end and stole another single point in the sixth end. Scotland responded with a single point in the seventh end before being run out of stones in the eighth end, giving Russia the victory.
Andrey Smirnov, Russia skip, said: "We played really well, didn’t make mistakes and played to the tactics we set before the game. That was how we won today.
"The most important thing is that we play well [in the gold medal game]. Both teams [Scotland and Norway] are very good teams and really pleasant people. It’s a pleasure to play with each of them so it doesn’t matter which one of them we play tomorrow."
Norway overcame a tight opening half to defeat China 6-3 in the other playoff game on Thursday. The two traded single point scores to sit level 2-2 at the break. The game changed dramatically in the fifth end when China third, Wei Liu, wrecked on a guard with a take-out attempt, giving Norway the opportunity to score three points and take a 5- 2 lead. The teams traded single point scores over the next two ends, before Norway ran China out of stones in the eighth end to hold on for the 6-3 victory.
Rune Lorentsen, Norway skip, said: “We came in very confident after winning three in a row. We won against Canada and USA. We changed skips to build a little more spirit into the team so everyone was getting a higher performance level. We changed back now to get even more.”
Scotland will face Norway in the semi-final Saturday (11 March) with the winner progressing to the gold medal game to face Russia in the afternoon. The loser playing China for the bronze medals.
Earlier Thursday morning, Norway also defeated Canada 5-4 in the tie-breaker for the final play-off place. Switzerland defeated Germany 11-3 in the relegation tie-breaker game that was brought forward from tomorrow morning.
Results page play-offs: 1v2: Russia 4-2 Scotland; 3v4: Norway 6-3 China.
Results tie-breakers: Play-off: Norway 5-4 Canada; Relegation: Germany 3-11 Switzerland
Also follow the action from the WWhCC 2017 on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #WWhCC2017 #curling #Roadto2018
*Editor’s note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games. For further information please click here.