Team North America now has a five-point lead (13 to 8) on Team World in the World Financial Group Continental Cup.
Thursday morning action in Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre had Canadian Jennifer Jones edge Mirjam Ott 6-5 to earn a point, while American Allison Pottinger scored four in the eighth end to dump Scotland’s Eve Muirhead 9-4. Canada’s Heather Nedohin and Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson battled to a 4-4 draw.
With three rocks remaining, Pottinger called a timeout to get input from coach Rick Lang while holding a 5-4 lead.
“We weren’t sure if we wanted to peel that guard, or if we wanted to come in we could ease back one and take the opportunity to get rid of it right then,” said Pottinger. “Just talked through the scenario. Not just that shot, but the next two shots.”
Pottinger was happy to get the one to help even the score and hoped Nedohin and Jones could deliver.
“Give the guys a little bit more breathing room,” she said.
Pottinger said they are playing good games and felt they played well against Muirhead, especially to not give up any big ends.
Despite losing by four, Muirhead said she felt her team played a solid game.
“We had one bad end and it cost us big with that,” she said, referring to the four-point eighth end. “You can’t afford to have ends like that. We were pretty much in control of the first half of the game (tied at two).”
Nedohin said they are pleased with their tie. After a scoreless seventh, which they held a 4-3 lead, Nedohin’s rink spoke with Lang to talk about their plan.
“They are silver medallists,” said Nedohin. “They are strong from lead through. They are good shot makers.”
Sigfridsson said Nehohin’s rink played a little better than them in the first half.
“It was a close game and she makes her take out in the fifth end,” said Sigfridsson. “She struggled a bit with her tactics in the seventh end. It looked very good for us in the last end. Didn’t manage to take the two.”
Sigridsson said they needed to make better shots for a different result.
“We didn’t play as good as yesterday,” she said. “We need to be a little bit sharper.”
In the singles competition, which was a skills event, Team North America four points, while Team World earned two.
The men’s competition, Tom Brewster scored two in the final end for a 5-5 draw with Glenn Howard, leaving both rinks with half a point. In the other two matches, Kevin Martin doubled up Niklas Edin 6-3 to earn a point, while Heath McCormick opened his game with Thomas Ulsrud scoring three paving the way for an 8-3 win.
“Boy, what a day,” said Canadian skip Kevin Martin to the Canadian Curling Association after his team rolled to a 6-3 win over Team World’s Niklas Edin. “Well, two days. Everybody’s been playing really, really well. We’ve got the momentum, and hopefully we can keep it going, but it’s a long way to the finish line yet.”
Martin’s team took control with a first-end deuce, and then scored three in the fourth end to cruise home with the victory on the centre sheet, where he was able to watch the two other North American men’s teams playing on either side of him put up positive results.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of you, and it adds so much pressure to the other team that we’re playing with the scoreboards the way they were,” he said. “That all sort of feeds on itself in this event. So far, so good. Everyone’s playing well, and hopefully we can come out with a good morning (in mixed doubles play on Saturday).”
Action resumes Saturday with mixed doubles play at 9 a.m., followed by the women’s at 1:30 p.m. and the men’s at 6:30 p.m. The WFG Continental Cup wraps up Sunday with skins play.