SCOTLAND QUALIFY FOR KNOCK OUT STAGES AT WORLD MIXED DOUBLES
Scotland’s Gina Aitken and Scott Andrews held their nerve to squeeze into the knockout stages of the World Mixed Doubles Championship, but the crucial moment came for them before their final match with hosts Norway got underway.
Defeat to Estonia in their penultimate match meant they had gone into the day knowing that if the Estonians beat Germany in their last round-robin match, they could finish no better than third because pool rivals Estonia and Norway, who had already won six matches, had superior draw shot challenge scores.
That pre-match draw shot challenge to the button also counted to decide which four of the six third-placed teams would join the top two from each pool in the last 16 and Estonia duly won their match, but Aitken and Andrews were accurate enough overall to make sure they, too, got through.
They did their draw shot challenge score no harm with a quality effort ahead of the match against Norway ’s Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien and carried that sharpness into the first two ends where they put earning the hammer to good use to score two at the opener, before stealing at the next to move 3-0 up.
An exchange of twos and then another Scottish steal looked to have put them in complete control, but the Norwegians responded well, registering a two at the sixth and then stealing at the seventh and eighth ends to take the match into an extra end, where Aitken showed her steel with a delicate promotion shot with her final stone to ensure the 7-6 victory.
“We made a good start, came out firing and we knew we had to play our best against these guys,” she said afterwards.
“We did that, got a head start on them which was great and that meant we had a bit more room in the second half. We used all of it and eventually managed to get the win.”
Playing in her fifth World Mixed Doubles Championships, Aitken believes they can now build on that result against another of the pre-tournament favourites.
“It’s knockout from now on, so every game means everything,” she said. “Scotland has a good record at World Championships, so let’s keep it going.”
For Andrews it is a first taste of involvement at this event, but vastly experienced, having made his 100th Scotland appearance in the win over Germany earlier in the week, he knew the importance of going into the knockout stages with a win.
“We knew we had to go out there and perform. Norway are obviously a great team and we had a wee dip yesterday against Estonia, so we knew we had to come out there and win today and it’s just getting that momentum and keeping that mindset going forward.
“It was a game we controlled. We had a shot at the seventh end that probably could have killed the game off, but we didn’t. However, we knew we would probably have to go down to go down to the wire with these guys and it came down to Gina’s last stone in the extra end and that’s what we were prepared to do.
“It’s now just waiting to see where we finish overall and who we’re going to face in the last 16. So we’ll get some rest and refuel and just wait and watch.”
Team Scotland Results 6-1
Scotland v Belgium 14-1
Scotland v Mexico 15-4
Scotland v Lithuania 9-3
Scotland v Slovakia 11-2
Scotland v Germany 8-5
Scotland v Estonia 6-8
Scotland v Norway 7-6 (EE) Q
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Photos: © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik & Tom Rowland.