No Irish Curling team in Sochi but as the final stages draw to a close a great battle for medals with Canada,Great Britain,China and Sweden still very much in contention.
Canada made it six wins from six games with an 8-6 victory over Japan in this (Saturday) morning’s eighth session of women’s round-robin play in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games curling competition at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia.
In the same session, China defeated Sweden 7-6 while Great Britain beat Korea by 10-8.
This means that Canada, now on six wins, have moved two wins clear of China, Great Britain and Sweden, who share second place, and are now guaranteed a place in tie-breakers if needed, at least.
In their game, Canada and Japan took turns to score two points in the first four ends to tie the game at 4-4. Japan then made the first breakthrough when they stole a single point in the fifth end to take a 5-4 lead.
Canada then blanked the sixth end and took the initiative with a score of two points in the seventh end for a 6-5 lead.
In the eighth end Canada’s skip Jennifer Jones played a promote take-out with her last stone to leave Japanese skip Ayumi Ogasawara facing four Canadian counters when she came to play her last stone.
Her effort was just too long and Japan gave up a single steal to build Canada’s lead to 7-5. This was the telling move in the game as the teams swapped single points in the remaining two ends to give Canada their sixth straight win, at 8-6.
Afterwards, Canada skip Jennifer Jones said: “We’re really happy to get another win today. They are all tremendous (teams). We’ve played all of these teams so many times – they’ve beaten us and we’ve beaten them, so any win is a good win out here. The goal is to make the play-offs and we’re on track for that”.
Against Sweden, China had a good start. They blanked the first end, scored two points in the second end and then stole a single point in the third end for a 3-0 lead.
Sweden opened their account with a single point in the fourth end and then managed a single point steal in the fifth end to go into the break just one point down, at 3-2.
China moved further ahead in the sixth end when their skip Bingyu Wang played two accurate draw shots which earned her two points.
Eventually, the teams were level at 6-6 as the teams came to play the tenth end. China held the last stone advantage in this end and used it to score the one point needed for a 7-6 victory.
Speaking later, China’s skip Bingyu Wang said: “Everyone knows that Sweden are a really strong team – they are the European champions so we had to do everything to win. The first three ends we were leading but they came back so quickly and put so much pressure on us. I think we were lucky to win this game but that’s a really important win.”
The third game of this session was between reigning world champions Eve Muirhead and her team, representing Great Britain here at the Olympics, and Korea.
The Koreans scored two points in the first end but Britain moved ahead in the second end when they scored three points.
Great Britain added to their score with single steals in both the fourth and fifth ends to hold a 5-2 lead at the halfway break.
Korea opened the second half by scoring two points in the sixth end to which Great Britain responded with two points of their own in the seventh end to keep their lead, at 7-4.
Korea closed with another two points in the eighth end and then stole two points in the ninth end to take the lead for the first time since the first end, at 8-7.
However, Great Britain set up the tenth end well, and with the last stone of the game British skip Eve Muirhead came around a guard to tap out a counting Korean stone to score three points and take a 10-8 victory.
After the game, Muirhead said: “We came out strong in the first half and they came out strong in the second half. Give them their dues, they played really well. We had a slack ninth end, giving up a steal of two. But winning the game the way we did puts down a marker. It’s great to know we can play these ends under pressure.”
Denmark, Russia, Switzerland and USA had a bye this morning.
Women Session 8: Canada 8, Japan 6; China 7, Sweden 6; Great Britain 10, Korea 8. (bye – Denmark, , Russia, Switzerland and USA)
Women’s standings after 8 sessions:
1. Canada 6-0
2. China 4-2
2. Great Britain 4-2
2. Sweden 4-2
5. Russia 3-3
5. Switzerland 3-3
7. Japan 2-4
7. Korea 2-4
9. Denmark 1-5
9. USA 1-5
Live scores, statistics and play by play: http://sochi2014.curlingevents.com/olympics/curling-live-scores
Official Sochi 2014 website (including links to live broadcast games): http://www.sochi2014.com/en/curling