No PACC medals for NZ from Karuizawa

NZL v Japan bronze medala match
Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

15 Nov 2014 – New Zealand's curlers will be returning home empty-handed from the 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Karuizawa, Japan.

The Kiwi Women's team of Chelsea Farley, Thivya Jeyaranjan, Tessa Farley and Eleanor Adviento, with alternate Waverley Taylor and coach Liz Matthews, lost their bronze medal game against the Japanese side of Ayumi Ogasawara today.

After an even start, Japan scored 3 points in the fourth end and then stole another 2 to take a 7-2 lead into the fifth end break. NZ patiently blanked the sixth but were then held to just one point in the next. The teams traded singles before Japan ran NZ out of stones in the last end to win the match and the bronze medal 8-4.

In the Women's gold medal match, China stole the extra end to win 7-6 and hand Korea their only loss of the week. With their title, the Chinese also won the right to play in the 2015 World Women's Championship. Japan automatically qualified as hosts.

2014 PACC logo

The New Zealand Men's team of Kenny Thomson, Scott Becker, Rupert Jones, Warren Dobson and alternate Brett Sargon finished in fifth place in the Pacific-Asia Men's competition, beaten by Australia in the tiebreaker for the fourth semi-final spot.

China beat Japan 7-5 in the final to win gold, Japan's only loss of the week. Both finalists qualified for the 2015 World Men's Championships in Canada.

The bronze medal was won by Korea 7-4 over Australia.


NZ Women to play for PACC bronze

NZ v Korea semifinal
Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

15 Nov 2014 – New Zealand women will play hosts Japan for the bronze medal at the 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Karuizawa.

Chelsea Farley's team started their best-of-five semi-final series against the top-ranked Koreans at 0-2, with the two round-robin results counting as the first two of the series.

The Kiwi team have shown improved form throughout the week, and they continued that in their first semi-final yesterday, still well in touch at the fifth end break when Korea led 5-4.

Korea blanked the sixth end and then scored a big 3-pointer in the seventh. Unfazed, NZ replied with 3 of their own in the next to get themselves right back into the match. A double in the ninth took Korea out to a 10-7 lead, and they made no mistakes in running NZ out of stones in the last. The win meant a 3-0 series victory to the Koreans and a final against China.

Team New Zealand will be heartened by their recent form when they play Japan for third place at 1:00 pm today (Saturday).


NZ Women earn semi after tiebreak win

Chelsea Farley NZL
NZ skip Chelsea Farley. Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

14 Nov 2014 – New Zealand women have played themselves into a semi-final at the 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Karuizawa, Japan after their 11-6 tiebreaker win against Australia last night.

The Kiwi Men were unable to emulate their performance though, falling 7-5 to Australia in their tiebreaker.

Chelsea Farley's side beat Australia in their final round-robin match to leave the teams tied for the last semi-final spot and to set up the tiebreaker rematch.

They continued that run of form into the tiebreaker, stealing 8 points in the first half of the match. NZ then withstood a strong comeback from Kim Forge's Aussies to earn a best-of-five semi-final series against Korea.

With the round robin results counting in the semis, Korea will start their first match at 1:00 pm NZT today (Friday) with a 2-0 lead.


NZ v Australia tiebreak double-header

Rupert Jones and Brett Sargon
Rupert Jones and Brett Sargon. Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

13 Nov 2014 – New Zealand men and women will play Australia in tie-breakers to decide the last team to qualify for their respective semi-finals at the 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Karuizawa, Japan.

In the last session of the men’s round-robin, New Zealand defeated Kazakhstan 9-1 after nine ends of play while Australia lost 9-3 to Japan after eight ends.

This left both teams with two wins and four losses, the same as Chinese Taipei.

However, as all three teams had one win against one another – Chinese Taipei defeating New Zealand, Australia beating Chinese Taipei and New Zealand winning their game against Australia – the deciding factor became the draw shot challenge average from the round-robin.

Thivya Jeyaranjan and Eleanor Adviento
Thivya Jeyaranjan and Eleanor Adviento. Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

Chinese Taipei had the poorest average of the three, therefore they were eliminated from the competition. As a result, Australia and New Zealand will now play in a tie-breaker at 7:00 pm local time this evening (11:00 pm NZT), with the winner going on to play Japan in the semi-finals.

After their win, New Zealand skip Kenny Thomson was looking forward to their tie-breaker against Australia. He said, "We beat them in the round-robin and we had a great game. Our performance has dropped off a bit in the last couple games so we need to pick it up again if we’re going to beat them again."

He continued, "It's always special because it's Australia. As soon as you pull that black jersey on it becomes a bit of rivalry. It's a great friendly rivalry with these guys, but as soon as it becomes New Zealand and Australia there's a slight edge to it."

In the last session of the women's round robin a few hours later, the Kiwi women stole 3 in the second end to establish a lead they would not relinquish. NZ ran their opponents out of stones in the final end to record an 8-5 win.

NZL women v Australia
NZ Women v Australia. Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

That left both teams with a 1-7 win-loss record in the double round robin to set up the tiebreaker, with the winners to play the unbeaten Koreans in the semi-final series.

After the game, New Zealand fourth Thivya Jeyaranjan said, "I think we’ve been improving throughout the Championship. It’s really been great being able to play together as a team. I think we've been getting stronger with every game and I think that's showed in our result today."

On their tiebreaker against Australia, she added, "I think this win definitely gives us a psychological advantage. We know we can do it so hopefully, we'll carry on playing the way we did this afternoon."


"Bledisloe Cup" encounter streamed live tonight

NZ Men v China
Rupert Jones and Warren Dobson prepare to sweep skip Kenny Thomson's stone. Photo © Richard Gray / WCF

11 Nov 2014 – The New Zealand sides are off to a slow start at the 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in Karuizawa, Japan.

The Kiwi Women have met the three top teams and yet to secure a win early in the competition, although they took their Japanese hosts to the last stone yesterday in a narrow 8-6 defeat. The NZ Men lost their opening two matches yesterday.

They will be keen to open their accounts today (Tuesday) in the two "Bledisloe Cup" encounters. At 1:00 pm NZT the NZ Women play Australia, and then at 7:00 pm it's the turn of the Trans-Tasman battle between the Men's teams.

The Men's match will be web-streamed live, with the commentary team including 2006 NZ Olympian Hans Frauenlob. The game will be screened on the PACC home page, and also on World Curling’s YouTube channel.


2018 Olympic Qualification starts in Karuizawa

2014 PACC logo

4 Nov 2014 – The qualification process for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games starts this weekend for New Zealand's curlers.

The national men's and Women's teams are heading to Karuizawa, Japan for the 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships. Finalists in Karuizawa will qualify for next year's World Curling Championships, and are guaranteed a place in the next Olympic Qualification Event if they are not one of the top seven automatic qualifiers.

Speaking before her team flew out today, NZ Women's skip Chelsea Farley said, "We're incredibly excited leading up to the PACCs, and are feeling well prepared as we have been training off-ice on a regular basis as a team. Additionally, we have had a good season on-ice and are feeling confident we can represent New Zealand well in Karuizawa."

Farley's all-Auckland teammates are Thivya Jeyaranjan, Tessa Farley, Eleanor Adviento and Waverley Taylor.

With last year's Men's skip Peter de Boer and vice-skip Sean Becker unavailable for selection, Auckland's Kenny Thomson will skip a new Men's line-up of Scott Becker (Ranfurly), Rupert Jones (Dunedin), Warren Dobson (Mt Ida) and Brett Sargon (Auckland).

Thomson was also looking forward to the encounter. "Scott and I were lucky enough to have been invited to the Karuizawa Ice Park Opening last year and we are very excited to be heading back to what has to be one of the best facilities which we have ever competed," he said.

Karuizawa Curling hall
Karuizawa Ice Park Curling Hall

"With Pete and Sean making themselves unavailable for selection, we have a new look team this year, but followers of curling will know that there have been significant team changes announced across the globe as one Olympic cycle ends and a new one begins. The Asia Pacific zone is no different, as only the Korea and Japan teams remain unchanged from last year's event in Shanghai, with perhaps the most significant change coming from across the ditch where Australia will field a team without Hugh Millikin for the first time in the 24-year history of the event."

He was confident in the mixture of youth and experience in his side. "Scott will be throwing last stones, I will be skipping from the third position, and as the front end of the last 3 seasons migrates to the back end, Rupert Jones and Warren Dobson will again pull on the black jerseys in a new look front end."

"Ironically, Rupert's last Pacifics was in Japan in 2009 and Dobbie brings a wealth of experience to the front end, having been alternate at the Olympics in 2006. We are also looking forward to welcoming the youthful exuberance of Brett Sargon at 5th this year, and benefitting from the fact that he has been honing his skills in Canada for the last few months."

"We open up against Chinese Taipei, against whom we have had a mixture of results over the past few seasons. Last year, and in Nanjing in 2011 we won 1 lost 1, and in Naseby in 2012 we also played them in the opening fixture, narrowly losing in the tenth end as our clock ticked down to single digits. They are a great bunch of guys who we always enjoy meeting both on and off the ice, so it will be a great way to blood the new line up. But rest assured, we will be giving our all to ensure that we start the tournament with a solid result."

Round robin matches run from this Sunday through until next Thursday, and two of the NZ Men's matches will be live streamed on the World Curling Federation's YouTube channel. Semi-finals will be held on Friday 14th and the finals on the following day.