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A 9-5 victory in a winner takes all encounter with Italy in their final round robin match took Scotland into the play-offs at the World Curling Championships.

It was their fourth successive win to complete their recovery from a challenging start to the qualifying stages of the competition, when they had lost three of their first four matches in tight finishes. A win over Sweden, the only defeat suffered by Niklas Edin’s defending champions in the round robin, proved a turning point for the Scots on the fourth day of the competition. While they suffered a subsequent set-back at the hands of Japan, they then overcame China, hosts Canada in an epic match and Germany to set up that decisive encounter with the Italians.

That proved another hard fought battle in the early stages with Bruce Mouat forced to take a single at the opening end and then the team’s exchanging two’s at the next four to leave the Scots with that narrow advantage at the mid-way break. Italy were then forced to take a single as play resumed and after a blanked seventh end, the Scots made their decisive move when a double take-out from their skip earned them a three at the eighth. When they pressurised Italian skip Joel Retornaz., by leaving him confronting four counting Scottish stones with his last shot at the ninth, he was unable to avoid conceding a steal which wrapped up the scoring with the Scots coming out on top. 

“We knew what the situation was and we were backs against the wall a little bit but that was really good,” Mouat said, after what was effectively an early start to the knock-out stages.

“Once I made the shot at the eighth I thought that was it, it was a good fight and we had a really good eighth end to set up the three.”

He and team mates, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan now face the prospect of a re-match with the hosts in what is certain to be a lively environment, but having already beaten locally based Kevin Koe’s rink, Mouat believes they have every chance of making it to the semi finals, saying: “We beat them in the round robin and I don’t see why we can’t do it again.”

Bruce Mouat, born Edinburgh, lives Edinburgh, age 24
Grant Hardie, born Dumfries, lives Glasgow, age 27
Bobby Lammie, born Dumfries, lives Glasgow, age 22
Hammy McMillan, born Stranraer, lives Glasgow, age 26
Ross Whyte (Alternate), born York, lives Stirling, age 20

Results: 8W 4L 

Day One
Scotland v Russia 8-2
Day Two
Scotland v Switzerland 4-5
Scotland v Netherlands 4-5
Day Three
Scotland v USA 8-9
Day Four
Scotland v Sweden 6-5
Scotland v Korea 7-3
Day Five
Scotland v Norway 8-4
Scotland v Japan 6-8
Day Six
Scotland v China 9-6
Scotland v Canada 8-6
Day Seven
Scotland v Germany 9-2
Scotland v Italy 9-5

Final round-robin standings (win-loss): 

Q Sweden 11-1
Q Switzerland 9-3
Q Canada 9-3
Q Japan 9-3
Q United States 8-4
Q Scotland 8-4

Italy 7-5
Germany 4-8
Russia 4-8
Netherlands 4-8
China 2-10
Norway 2-10
Korea 1-11

#WMCC2019 #curling

Photos © WCF / Jeffrey Au & Michael Burns


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