New Zealand win silver at World Mixed Doubles

NZ win silver at World Mixed Doubles
L-R: 2010 World Mixed Doubles Curling silver medallists Sean Becker, Bridget Becker and coach Scott Becker. Photo © WCF / Goran Roxin

25 Apr 2010 – The New Zealand team of Sean Becker and Bridget Becker has won the silver medal at the 2010 World Mixed Doubles Championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

The unbeaten Russian team beat the Kiwis 9-7 in a thriller, the final going to an extra end after the scores were tied after the regulation eight ends.

The second placing to the siblings from Central Otago's Ranfurly Curling Club represents a milestone for NZ Curling. It is the first medal of any colour won by a New Zealand team at a World Curling Championship.


NZ Results Summary

Russia started stongly with a triple and a single steal, before NZ struck back with a single, a stolen 3 and then a further steal to lead by one. The teams traded doubles over the next two ends. This left the Russians one down coming home with last-stone advantage.

Russia took the point they needed to tie the scores and force the extra end, They then stole two to take the match – and with it the gold medal.

"We let the Russians run away with it a bit from the start," Bridget Becker said after the game. "But it's unbelievable to have made it this far, so we're very happy with silver."

China edged out Spain 8-7 to win the bronze medal.

Semi-final results

The Beckers beat the young Spanish team 10-3 in their semi-final earlier in the day. New Zealand started well with a double in the first, then followed that up with single steals in the second and third ends. The Spaniards came back and cut the NZ lead to 4-3 after five ends, but the more experienced Kiwi duo took a stunning 5 in the next to put the game beyond reach. They stole the seventh for good measure, and shook hands with an unassailable 10-3 lead.

Speaking after the match, NZ coach Scott Becker commented, "This is very big for New Zealand curling. This is the highest place we’ve ever got in a World Curling Championships. One more game to go."

"We played very well. Spain missed a couple of important shots which made things easier but overall we were playing to their strengths. The five points were karma for the fourth end when we missed all our shots. In the sixth end we made all our shots and put everything behind the two guards that were out front."

"The final is going to be interesting. The crowd is definitely going to be against us. I would say it’s going to be a tough fight to win gold."

In the other semi-final, Russia scored a maximum 6 in the third end on their way to overwhelming China 16-4.

World Seniors

The USA surprised the previously unbeaten Canadians 4-3 to win the Men's gold medal, and Hugh Millikin's Australia beat Switzerland by the same score to take bronze. This was also the first World Championship medal to be won by an Australian team.

The Canadian Women retained their perfect record with an 8-4 win over Switzerland in their final while the Swedish women were third after a tight 6-5 win against USA.

The New Zealand Senior Women finished 6th with a 2-5 win loss record, and the NZ Men were 10th at 1-4.

Other coverage

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Photo Gallery

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Opening ceremony demonstration game Opening ceremony demonstration game Opening ceremony demonstration game
Bridget Becker and Zhipeng Shang (China) sweeping during a demonstration game at the Opening Ceremony. Hugh Millikin (Australia) is the skip.
Mixed Doubles v Denmark Bridget Becker - Mixed Doubles v Denmark Mixed Doubles v Denmark
Sean Becker - Mixed Doubles v Denmark Left and above: Bridget and Sean Becker in their Mixed Doubles pool match against Denmark NZ Senior Women - Liz Matthews and Wendy Becker
NZ Senior Men - Dave Greer and John Sanders Left: Dave Greer and John Sanders working hard for NZ Senior Men
Right: Liz Matthews and Wendy Becker planning Wendy's skip shot for NZ Senior Women
 All above photos courtey of
2010 NZ Senior Men 2010 NZ Senior Women
NZ Senior Men: John Sanders (lead - Alexandra CC), Dave Greer (second - Kyeburn CC), Nelson Ede (third - Kiwi CC) and Peter Becker (skip - Ranfurly CC) NZ Senior Women: Wendy Becker (skip - Ranfurly CC), Liz Matthews (third - Auckland CC), Christine Bewick (second - Auckland CC) and Carolyn Cooney (lead - Chatto Creek CC)

Earlier Articles

Beckers through to World Mixed Doubles semi

24 Apr 2010 – New Zealand's Sean Becker and Bridget Becker will be playing for a medal later today at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia..

They won their quarter-final against Italy overnight to set up a semi-final against the young Spanish side, top qualifiers for the play-off rounds.

NZ controlled the match from the outset, taking a 3 on the first end and a 4 on the third. The Italians came back to 7-4 after five ends, but NZ took a double and then followed it with a steal of one on the seventh. The teams shook hands with the final score 10-4.

NZ team reaction

Speaking after the game, Sean Becker said, "It hasn’t set in yet. But I’m really stoked...that’s a Kiwi word for awesome! I think it was a great game. There was one shot there in the third end that maybe changed the game. Apart from that four, it was a very close game, just as a lot of these games have been. One shot in one end is what it comes down to."

After qualifying for the playoff rounds when they beat the Czech Republic on Thursday, Bridget Becker commented, "I believe that we’re second now in our pool. It’s such a shame with all the teams that didn’t make it. It would have been fantastic if they were all here. But the competition has been great so far."

She was enthusiastic about the Mixed Doubles format. "I love it. It’s just different. You get to yell at one person as they are trying to sweep as hard as they possibly can. It’s just got a different concept. There’s not a lot of hitting, so it means that there’s a lots of rocks in play. It makes it exciting for everybody watching as well as playing. Your draw weight has to be perfect. It’s different to the fours [team curling]."

"What I like about playing with family is that you can get a little bit growly and we forgive each other pretty well. So I’m happy with that. We don’t have too many cross words, we do the odd time but it goes in one ear and out the other. You can do that with family and you don’t take as much to heart because you’ve put up with it all your life! So an hour and half isn’t too bad!!"

Other results

Two of the Mixed Doubles quarter-finals went to an extra end, when Spain beat Estonia 8-7 and the Chinese stole 4 to stun the favourites Switzerland 11-7. This was the first loss for the defending champions in three World Championships.

In the other quarter-final Russia beat Australia 8-4, completing a disappointing day for the popular Hugh Millikin. His Australian Senior Men's team had lost a nailbiting semi-final to Canada 3-2 just before his Mixed Doubles match. Sweden beat Switzerland 8-5 in the other Senior Men's semi-final.

In Senior Women's semi-final action Switzerland edged the USA 6-4 and Canada swept past Sweden 8-2.

Medal rounds

The Mixed Doubles semi-finals are scheduled for 9am today local time (2 pm NZT), with the finals at 2 pm local (8 pm NZT). The World Seniors medals are decided at 11:30am local time.

NZ in World Mixed Doubles play-offs

23 Apr 2010 – In a historic first for New Zealand curling, the NZ Mixed Doubles team of Sean Becker and Bridget Becker have qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

They beat the Czech Republic 8-7 in their last pool game overnight to finish second overall in their group, winning three games and losing only to defending champions Switzerland. In doing so they became the first New Zealand team to reach post-section play at any World Curling championship.

The Kiwis started well against the Czechs, taking 3 in the second end and a double in the fourth to lead 5-2 half-way through their match. However, a big 4-ender to their opponents in the fifth saw NZ go behind for the first time. The teams traded singles in the next two ends and New Zealand was one down coming home with last-stone advantage. They held their nerve and scored the double they needed for their historic win.

The experienced New Zealand siblings, who skip their respective Men's and Women's national teams, will face Italy in their quarter-final at 7:30pm local time tonight (1:30am Friday NZT). The Italians, at their first World Mixed Doubles championship, also finished second in their pool.

World Seniors

Pool play also concluded yesterday in the World Men's and Women's Senior Curling Championship. Both New Zealand teams had their last two games yesterday but finished out of the playoff rounds.

The Women played top qualifiers Canada in, but could only manage singles when they scored while their opponents took multiples, and the Canadians won comfortably 10-3. Wendy Becker's NZ team recorded their second win of the tournament in their final pool game, beating their Russian hosts in a high-scoring match 10-8.

The Men trailed Switzerland 4-2 after six ends in a match of singles, but a steal of 3 by the Swiss in the seventh end saw the teams shake hands at 7-2. In their last game of the tournament Peter Becker's NZ Men trailed Sweden all the way, going down 9-2.

Beckers push for Mixed Doubles play-offs

22 Apr 2010 – Sean and Bridget Becker will be seeking a first for New Zealand curling at the World Mixed Doubles Championship in Russia today – a place in the play-off rounds of a World Championship.

Their win against Denmark in their depleted Blue Pool in Chelyabinsk yesterday gives them 2 wins from their 3 games to date. A win in their remaining game will guarantee them at least second place in the pool, with the top three progressing.

They may even progress if they lose to the Czechs today, depending on other results.

However, they will be keen to reproduce yeaterday's form. A 4 in the first end set the Kiwis up, and after NZ steals in the fifth and sixth ends they shook hands with the Danes at 8-2.

Senior Women

The NZ Senior Women recorded their first win, beating Italy 7-6. New Zealand took charge early with a 3 on the second and then two consecutive steals. They led by three coming home without the hammer and restricted the Italians to two.

After the match, NZ skip Wendy Becker said, "It’s always nice to have a win, but the Italian ladies were such a good team to play against."

Speaking about the tournament overall she added, "Very friendly, the Russians have put so much effort in this event. I wish them luck with the Olympics."

They could not find the winning touch again later in the day when they played the Japanese women, taking just one end as Japan won 8-2.

Today's line-up

The last day of pool play is a busy one for all NZ teams. The Senior Men play their last two games, against Switzerland and Sweden. The Women also have two matches as they play Canada and Russia.

Arguably the most important match for NZ Curling since the Turin Winter Olympics starts at 5pm local time (11pm NZT) when the Mixed Doubles team of Bridget and Sean Becker play the Czech Republic.

Quiet day for NZ teams in Russia

21 Apr 2010 – Tuesday was quiet for the New Zealand teams at the World Mixed Doubles and World Seniors Curling Championships in Russia.

Only the NZ Senior Women took to the ice in Chelyabinsk yesterday, playing USA who beat the Kiwis 9-4.

Wendy Becker's NZ team took a single on the first end, but the Americans then scored 8 unanswered points over the next four ends. NZ hit back with a 3 on the sixth but that was never going to be enough to bridge the gap.

Today New Zealand's Mixed Doubles team will play Denmark, while the Senior Women play Italy in the morning round and the Japanese in the evening. The Senior Men can put their feet up for another day – their scheduled opponents, Netherlands, were one of the teams forced to withdraw after their flights were cancelled.

Beckers go down to favourites

20 Apr 2010 – Bridget and Sean Becker made a good start against tournament favourites Switzerland at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships in Russia yesterday. A steal of 3 in the third end saw them leading 4-2 at that stage.

However the Swiss pair of Toni Muller and Irene Schori, World Champions in 2008 and 2009, are yet to lose a match at international level. They controlled the rest of the game, running out winners 11-5.

The NZ pair's Blue Pool has been reduced to five teams following the withdrawal of Sweden and Korea due to travel disruptions. With a win and a loss so far they will be keen to record at least one win in their remaining pool matches against Denmark and the Czech Republic. A top-three place in their pool will earn them a spot in the play-off rounds.

World Seniors

The withdrawal of Scotland meant the NZ Women had a day off yesterday. The NZ Men had two matches, and recorded their first win when they played Finland in the morning session. The Finns led 4-2 at the halfway stage of the game but the Kiwis reeled off 7 unanswered points over the next three ends, and they shook hands at 9-4 after a steal of 4 in the seventh.

They could not repeat that form in the evening game against Canada though, as the Canadians controlled the match throughout and won comfortably 10-2.

After the game NZ Men's skip Peter Becker said, "We were playing reasonably well, but we fell away towards the end and we didn't play well at all. If we played as well as we did this morning we would've given them a decent game. The whole four of us didn't quite measure up in the way we were throwing, calling, everything!"

"Overall the tournament is good. The curling is good. We know a lot of these people because we've played against them over the years. The friendship and the fellowship is what it is all about."

He was impressed with the tournamet opening. "I've never been to an opening ceremony like that. I was at the Olympics in Torino and that could be expected to be magnificent, but for a World Senior or Mixed Doubles Championships – what we saw was just unbelievable."

The withdrawal of Wales and the Netherlands means the NZ Men have Tuesday off, as do the NZ Mixed Doubles team. The NZ Women have a full schedule ahead, with 5 pool matches still to play.

Travel disruptions cause havoc in Chelyabinsk

19 Apr 2010 – The current widespread disruptions to air travel across Europe have created a massive headache for the organisers of the World Mixed Doubles and World Seniors Curling Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

The opening ceremony and first day’s play got under way with a number of teams missing from the line-up. Some teams have been forced to withdraw, while others are still trying to reach the venue 1500km east of Moscow and have their early games rescheduled.

All of the New Zealand teams are safely in Chelyabinsk and have played their first game.

Travel disruptions

The World Curling Federation reports that Norway and Scotland have officially withdrawn from the Mixed Doubles and that Canada, Finland, Korea, Latvia, Sweden and the USA are yet to arrive.

Scotland is missing from the Senior Women’s tournament, while Estonia, Wales and Scotland have withdrawn from the Senior Men’s – Finland and the Netherlands are yet to be confirmed.

Opening Ceremony

New Zealand’s Bridget Becker and seven athletes from other nations played a part in the latter stages of the opening ceremony.

The story of the development of curling in song, dance and gymnastics featured in a spectacular “Romancing the Stone” opening sequence. This was followed by the athletes’ and officials’ oaths. A one-end display game with expert commentary for the Russian crowd was the final act of the ceremony.

Bridget featured here in a Rest of World team skipped by Australia’s Hugh Millikin against a combined Europe side.

Day 1 results

The official results show many games scheduled for the first day with a status of PP (postponed) and organisers will either reschedule or cancel these once the line-up is finalised. However, the 3 New Zealand teams were all in action.

The result of the day went to Sean Becker and Bridget Becker in their Mixed Doubles match against Austria. NZ gave up a shot on the first but a big 5 in the second end followed by a 4 in the fourth saw the Kiwis dominate the scoreline, and the teams shook hands after seven ends with the score at 11-3 to New Zealand.

The Senior Men and Senior Women both ended up on the wrong side of close results. The men stole the first but found themselves 1-4 down after five ends. They came back to 4-4 coming home but Italy made no mistake with hammer to take the game 5-4.

NZ Women started well in their first game with 3 on the first and led 5-2 at the half-way stage, but Sweden scored a 4 in the fifth end and followed that up with a steal of 2, eventually running out winners 9-7. Their second game against Switzerland was one to forget though, with the Swiss overwhelming NZ 12-0 after six ends.

NZ Teams bound for Russia

31 Mar 2010 – Sean and Bridget Becker will carry the New Zealand flag at the third World Mixed Doubles Championship. They will be keen to improve on the 8th place they achieved in the inaugural tournament two years ago in Finland.

The World Senior Men's and Women's Championships are being held at the same venue and on the same dates – 17 to 24 April. The men have 7 pool games with the top two teams progressing to the play-off round. The women have 8 games, but all teams are in a single pool so the top four will progress.