Scotland Complete Round Robin Unbeaten At World Champs
Scotland will face hosts Canada in the first round of the knockout stages at the World Mixed Doubles Championships in Lethbridge, after going through their round-robin matches unbeaten.
Their final match was effectively a group decider as they met the Italian pairing of Veronica Zappone and Simone Gonin that had lost just once in their previous six matches and it was a tight encounter which saw the teams tied at the halfway mark.
Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat then dominated the second half, however, to finish in top spot and their coach, David Aitken, was highly satisfied with the way they performed in such a crucial match.
“There was a lot resting on it,” he said.
“We were really keen to keep the momentum going, so I was really pleased with the way they came out, made a strong start as usual, picking up one at the first end, then a good steal at the second to take control of the game.
“Before the break a couple of unforced errors let Italy back into the game and we were tied at 3-3 at the fourth end, but Bruce and Gina came out of the fourth end break and played a very strong second half of the game.”
He explained that the way they handled the powerplays, a feature of the mixed doubles game, had been the key to the outcome.
“We thought about powerplaying at the fifth, but decided just to stick with the regular game and got the two we really wanted,” said Aitken.
“We knew Italy would then call a powerplay in the sixth and we defended that really well, forced a one and then called our own powerplay and took a two. That really gave us the upper hand and we closed the game off in the eighth end.”
He admitted to some surprise at having to face the Canadians so early in the play-offs, but believes their form is such that they should be confident of their capacity to secure the victory that will guarantee British involvement in mixed doubles at next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
“We’re really happy to finish the round-robin undefeated,” said Aitken.
“We knew we’d probably be playing Canada at some stage. It’s maybe just a little earlier than we thought, but we’ll be up for it and looking to keep the momentum and all the good work the guys have done into this first knockout game.”
Scotland v Norway 6-3
Scotland v Bulgaria 10-3
Scotland v Ireland 8-5
Scotland v Wales 11-2
Scotland v Serbia 11-0
Scotland v Denmark 8-2
Scotland v Italy 8-4
Groups at Lethbridge:
Group A: Belarus, Brazil, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Japan, and Latvia
Group B: Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Serbia, and Wales
Group C: Australia, Austria, China, Israel, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden
Group D: hosts Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Turkey and USA
Group E: New Zealand, Romania, defending champions Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland
16 teams will proceed to the knock out stage and the medal games take place on Saturday 29 April.
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PHOTOS: WCF – Richard Gray