2019 Winter Games NZ

30 Apr 2019 – Winter is just around the corner and we are excited to announce the dates for the seventh edition of the Winter Games NZ which will run from the 23rd of August to the 7th of September 2019.

The Games will feature elite international ice and snow sports events across a range of disciplines including alpine and para alpine ski racing, cross country skiing, curling, freeriding, freesking, ice hockey and snowboarding.

The Winter Games NZ Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament will take place in Naseby from the 26th - 31st August and is once again the first stop on the 2019/20 World Curling Tour season.

2019 WMDCC - NZL v SWE
Bridget and Sean Becker after their playoff game vs Sweden. Photo WCF / Tom Rowland

27 Apr 2019 – New Zealand's Mixed Doubles and Senior Men's teams were both eliminated in the first knockout round of their respective World Championships in Stavanger, Norway overnight.

The run for the Mixed Doubles side ended when they were beaten 9-4 by Sweden in the round of 16.

Bridget and Sean Becker started strongly, and took an early lead after capitalising on some uncharacteristic misses from the Swedish pair.

However the top qualifiers Anna Hasselborg and Oskar Eriksson soon got into their stride and left few opportunities for the Kiwis as the game progressed.

Holly Thompson
Holly Thompson at last year's Winter Games NZ. Photo © WCF / Clare Toia-Bailey

17 Apr 2019 – Entries are open for the five National Championships to be held this season.

Entries for all will close in May, with three – NZ Mixed Doubles, NZ Nationals and NZ Juniors – closing on Monday 13 May.

Curlers should also note a major change in the calendar.

The Mixed Doubles Championship will be held in mid-June, two months earlier than in past years.

This will aid selections for the Winter Games at the end of August.

Tournament dates and entry details are:

Bridget Becker and Sean Becker
Bridget and Sean Becker. Photo NZCA / Peter de Boer

29 Mar 2019 – The 2019 New Zealand Curling season kicked off in fine style in Naseby last weekend with the annual MCI Doubles event.

Originally developed as a pre-Mixed Doubles Worlds training event, the competition is now a favourite way for many to get together and look forward to the season ahead.

This year was no different with 14 teams entered, everyone having at least six six-end games, and the top four from each pool qualifying for either the main event or plate semi-finals.

Once the dust had settled, the main event was contested by Jess and Ben Smith, a Simon / Matthew / Lucy Neilson combo, Courtney Smith and Peter de Boer, and Bridget and Sean Becker.

Ben Smith and Anton Hood, NZ v Switzerland at WJCC2019
Ben Smith and Anton Hood, NZ v Switzerland. Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

24 Feb 2019 – New Zealand's Junior Men's Curling side achieved their major goal at their first-ever World Championship, which has just concluded in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

Their four wins saw them finish in sixth place overall, allowing them to automatically re-qualify for next year's event and avoid the World Junior "B" qualifier.

This is by far the best result for any New Zealand Junior side and could herald a step change for New Zealand curling.

Although their sixth-place finish was guaranteed before their last game against Canada, the team were still keen for a good performance.

NZ Men, 2019 World Junior B gold medallists
L-R: Peter Becker (coach), Jayden Apuwai-Bishop (Alternate), Hunter Walker (Lead), Ben Smith (3rd), Anton Hood (vice-skip, 4th), Matthew Neilson (skip, 2nd). Photo © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

11 Jan 2019 - New Zealand Curling history was made in Lohja, Finland overnight when the NZ Men's side won the gold medal at the World Junior B championships.

With the medal came an entry to the full World Junior Championships in Canada next month – the first by any Kiwi side.

The team of Matthew Neilson, Anton Hood, Ben Smith, Hunter Walker, and Jayden Apuwai-Bishop beat Italy 8-4 in the final.

They qualified from their pool with a 5-2 win-loss record. They then defeated Russia 6-4 in their quarter-final, and stole an extra end to pip China 6-5 in the semi to earn their shot at the gold.

2018 PACC bronze medal match
Handshakes for Warren Dobson and JeongJae Lee after the bronze medal game. Photo © WCF / Tom Rowland

12 Nov 2018 – They say it's a game of millimetres, and that was never more true than in the Men's bronze medal match at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2018 in Gangneung, Korea

A feathered guard late in the game was all that stood between New Zealand and their first Pacific-Asia medal since 2011.

Some outstanding shot-making from the Kiwis had Korea on the back foot. An in-off to remove Korea's shot stone in the fifth end scored them a pair, and then a surgical removal to take three in the eighth end earned them a 3-point lead going into the ninth.

But the match turned when NZ's final shot of the ninth end to remove at least one of two Korean counters feathered that guard. 

Team NZL v Canada, WMxCC 2018
Team NZ in action against the hosts in Canada. Photo © WCF / Jeffrey Au

21 Oct 2018 – The bar was set high at the World Mixed Championship in Kelowna, BC, Canada said Team New Zealand skip Dave Watt.

"We didn't play bad," he said after the competition where they finished with a 1 win - 6 loss record. "We just got no breaks."

"Team Canada [the eventual gold medalists] told us that they played their best game against us up to that point," he continued. "Same with Slovenia – and Austria got up for us too."

"Against Norway we played well too – but did get some breaks!"

2018 NZ Senior Men's champions
Man's champions Iain Craig, Lorne DePape, Dave Watt and Dan Mustapic. Photo © NZCA

18 Sep 2018 – Team Dan Mustapic won their fifth straight NZ Senior Men's Championship undefeated last weekend, but they needed to warm into their task.

Mustapic found himself facing six counters as he lined up his last shot in the first game of the tournament against Ewan Kirk's Naseby side.

The game then went to an extra end after an attempted Mustapic takeout in the eighth end clipped a guard.

Their second match against Pete Becker was also close through the first five ends, before a three-pointer in the 6th broke the deadlock.

Ben and Jess Smith
Ben and Jess Smith in the Championship Final. Photo © NZCA

13 Aug 2018 – NZ Under-21 representatives Jessica and Ben Smith overcame five-time winners Bridget and Sean Becker to win their first NZ Mixed Doubles title in Naseby last weekend. They did it the hard way, overcoming a 4 point deficit in the opening end to triumph 6-5 in a very tense final.

The Smiths scored singles in the next four ends to draw level, but the turning point came in the sixth end.

Bridget Becker's last-stone hit to score a single rolled to the very edge of the house. Both umpires took some time with the biter stick before confirming that the stone was out of play, and so the end was blanked. Under Mixed Doubles rules that also meant they lost the hammer.