World Silver for NZ Senior Men

Team NZL
Senior Men's silver medalists Team New Zealand: Hans Frauenlob, Dan Mustapic, Lorne DePape,
Al Langille and Pat Cooney. Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

20 Apr 2013 – New Zealand curlers will bring home their first ever medal from a World Senior Championship.

The Senior Men's side of Hans Frauenlob, Dan Mustapic, Lorne DePape, Allan Langille and Pat Cooney have won the silver medal at the 2013 tournament in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

2013 WMDCC logo

NZ Results Summary

After finishing top of their pool they had a surprisingly comfortable 10-2 semi-final win against Sweden, controlling the game from the time Frauenlob made a double takeout to score 5 in the first end.

They were unable to repeat that effort in the final, falling 4-6 to a strong and efficient Canadian side. NZ blanked the first end after earlier falling short attempting a draw to split the house, and were forced to take their single in the next. Canada opened their account with a well-taken double in the next before stealing one after Frauenlob's final draw was fractionally overswept, to lead 3-1 by the fourth end break.

The real game-breaker came in the sixth when Canadian skip Rob Armitage made a perfect hit-and-roll with his first rock to set up a draw for 3. New Zealand faced the impossible task of stealing three in the last end to level the scores, and held those three as Canada lined up their hammer stone. Armitage made no mistake, cutting the Kiwi score to one and securing the gold medal for his team.

"Of course we'd have preferred a different result," said New Zealand skip Hans Frauenlob after the final. "But we're just tremendously proud to have played in the gold medal match representing our country. We had a few half chances today that we didn't take, and the Canadians didn't miss much at all - if anything. They played tremendously well and thoroughly deserved their win."

He added, "I'd also like to express our thanks to the organisers and the people of Fredericton - everyone's been wonderful, and the tournament has been superb. All the New Zealand teams have really enjoyed it and just had a so much fun."

Asked if he'd be keen to come back and try and go one better next year Frauenlob replied, "Well, I've played 20 games this week [playing in Mixed Doubles as well] so right now I'm just looking forward to a good night's sleep. I might think about that in a while."

Mixed Doubles

Frauenlob teamed up with Natalie Thurlow in the World Mixed Doubles Championship, held concurrently at the same venue. They played strongly to finish at the top of their pool and faced the Czech Republic in their quarter-final, the only side to beat them earlier in the week.

New Zealand took singles in the first two ends, but after that the immaculate draw weight they had all week deserted them. From the third end the Czechs were normally first to freeze to the stone on the button, and they held New Zealand scoreless for the rest of the game. The 2-9 loss eliminated the Kiwis from the tournament.

After their victory, Czech Republic’s Tomas Paul said: “It’s great that we could play the game earlier (the Quarter-final Qualification Game against Russia) because it gave us confidence. We played great against Russia and we hoped it would be the same here tonight. The first half there was not so good but the second half was great.” The Czechs went on to win the bronze medal.

Senior Women

The New Zealand Senior Women's side finished in the middle of their pool with a 3 win - 3 loss record.

Their tournament got off to a horror start when Carolyn Cooney collapsed during the team warm-up immediately before their first game. She was rushed to hospital and was found to have suffered a stroke. However Carolyn's prognosis is good and improvement marked through the week of the tournament, and she was temporarily released for the Men's final and was able to watch husband Pat's team win their silver medal.

At the closing banquet Pat thanked and was full of praise for the wide range of medical and practical support offered to Carolyn, Pat and the New Zealand teams from all involved – the medical staff at the event and hospital, the organising committee, WCF and the curling community. Carolyn and Pat will remain in Fredericton for a few weeks until she is well enough to travel home.


Earlier Articles

Mixed Doubles and Senior Men top qualifiers

Hans Frauenlob and Dan Mustapic
Hans Frauenlob and Dan Mustapic. Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

18 Apr 2013 – Thursday was a red-letter day for New Zealand Curling, with the national Mixed Doubles and Senior Men's sides both topping their pools at their respective World Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

The Mixed Doubles side of Natalie Thurlow and Hans Frauenlob finished on the same 7 win - 1 loss record as Austria, but had earlier beaten the Austrians so secured the top ranking. They will play the Czech Republic, Russia or Netherlands in a quarter-final at 6 pm Friday local time (9 am Saturday NZT).

Natalie Thurlow was naturally delighted with their performance to date. "It feels great," she said after they beat Australia 7-4 in their last pool game. "We won't be doing anything different from here, just try to make our shots. Weight is so important in this game; if we can get your draw weight early then we're in with a good chance."

Earlier in the day Frauenlob and Thurlow scraped past USA 6-5.

Senior Men and Women

Frauenlob also skips the Senior Men's side, playing with Dan Mustapic, Lorne DePape, Allan Langille and Pat Cooney. The were level at the top of the table with Switzerland before beating them 7-3 in the penultimate pool round, and in doing so guaranteed themselves the top spot with their last match against Japan still to play. This was their second win of the day after a morning 11-4 win over France.

Mustapic - who skips the side when Frauenlob is on Mixed Doubles duty - agrees that this is uncharted territory for the team. "But I think we had reasonably high expectations coming here," he said, "and we think we've been fairly competitive. The guys played incredibly well last year; they were 5th in the world then and we're hoping that we can improve on that this year and so far we have."

Their semi-final against either Sweden or Canada will start at 8 am Saturday local time (11 pm Saturday NZT).

The Senior Women's side fell just short of achieving a clean sweep for the Kiwi teams, falling 6-5 in an extra-end match against the USA.

Round robin games in both competitions continue through until Friday, with the playoff rounds on Saturday.


Playoff prospects for NZ teams

Hans Frauenlob
Hans Frauenlob. Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

17 Apr 2013 – The destiny of New Zealand's Mixed Doubles and Senior Men's teams are in their own hands at their World Championships in Canada this week.

Both have kept their winning runs going through the fourth and fifth days of round robin play, and with just one loss each they are real contenders for playoff spots.

The Senior Women have an outside chance of s semi-final, but would need other results to go their way.

Mixed Doubles

Hans Frauenlob and Natalie Thurlow started their must-win game against the Japanese with a strong 3-point first end, and kept control throughout to win 7-4. They are now one of three teams in their pool with just one loss to date.

Asked afterward what their general strategy was, Frauenlob said, "Well for us it's really about the first stone placement. When we started playing together we looked at a lot of teams, they throw more hits and we decided that stone position and getting in front of the tee-line works better for us and so we just like to get to the four-foot."

Natalie Thurlow commented on playing coming to play out of season rom the Southern Hemisphere. "You get a bit used to it coming from down south. we just play all of our events slightly out of our season, but we are lucky that Naseby is open all summer so we can use that for our training."

Frauenlob responded to a question on playing in both the Mixed Doubles and Senior Men's events simulateously. "It's a bunch of fun and it doesn't leave much time for getting in trouble, so that's probably a good thing," he replied with a smile. "I know when I go over there and play Seniors I went into a game mid-game the other day and started piling a bunch of stones into the four-foot and the guys were panicking, they thought I was playing a doubles game."

"But the ice is actually pretty similar between the two surfaces, and it's great. It's a lot of fun and a real unique opportunity to have the chance to play two things at the same time."

Natalie Thurlow was upbeat after their earlier 9-1 win over France. "We both played really well in that game," she said. "It was one of our best here so we're really happy."

"We both just got our weight. That's so important, that it us up really well and so we had easier shots. Weight is so important in doubles, so we just need to keep our weight and then we'll be in the game."

Senior Women and Men

Liz Matthews' Senior Women have continued their up-and-down tournament. They followed their thumping defeat to favourites Canada on Day 4 with an emphatic win against the Irish on Day 5.

Their male conterparts kept New Zealand's playoff hopes alive with wins against Norway and Latvia to extend their record to 5 wins and 1 loss. Friday's games against the USA and unbeaten Switzerland will be crucial.

Round robin games in both competitions continue through until Friday, with the playoff rounds on Saturday.


NZ sides bounce back

NZ Senior men
NZ Senior Men in action in Fredericton. Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

15 Apr 2013 – All of the New Zealand sides were in action on Day 3 of the World Mixed Doubles and World Senior Curling Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and they all recorded wins to bounce back from disappointing losses.

The Mixed Doubles side of Natalie Thurlow and Hans Frauenlob could not find draw weight when they were well beaten 8-1 by the Czech Republic on Sunday, but came back to head off Austria 8-6.

Senior Women and Men

Liz Matthews' Senior Women overcame the disappointment of their opening loss to overwhelm Austria 13-0 in their second match.

Matthews, in her 11th successive WSCC tournament, said after the game, "We certainly hope to carry on momentum and continue playing to the best of our ability. We're proud to be from New Zealand and we’ve got to keep up with last year’s tradition." NZ had a best-ever 4th place last year.

The Senior Men beat Scotland on Sunday morning but then suffered a one point loss to Ireland in the afternoon. However they were much happier after 9-2 vistory over the Czech Republic, built around a 3 point end in the third end and a steal of 3 in the next.

Mixed Doubles reaction

Speaking after their win against Austria, Hans Frauenlob said, "We got up early. Nat made a fantastic shot, we scored a five and that put us in control, we had a great first half of the game. They came back in the second half, put up a bunch of consecutive steals on us and we were tied up coming home – the eighth end was just a party in the four-foot. It was tight but a good win to get."

Natalie Thurlow added, "I'm really happy that we played better, we had a horrible game last night [against Czech Republic], it was really nice to come out and have a good game together today."

Frauenlob agreed. "Last night we were just slightly heavy, we were putting a lot of stones at the back of the four-foot so our weight control today was a lot better."


Frauenlob pleased with opening win

Natalie Thurlow
Natalie Thurlow, NZ v Slovenia. Photo © WCF / Richard Gray 

13 Apr 2013 – Hans Frauenlob and Natalie Thurlow had the perfect start to their World Mixed Doubles Championship in Canada today. They stole the first three ends of their opening match aganst tournament newcomers Slovenia, and ended up with a 7-3 win.

Frauenlob was pleased with the solid start. "It was a good game," he said afterwards. "We had a really strong start and although we let them back into the game a wee bit there, the ice is playing great, we had a good start and we're really pleased."

When asked what their aims were coming into the tournament he replied, "Nat played Doubles last year with her Dad, and this is my first experience of it. There are lots of countries here, so we know it's going to be a dogfight to get to the playoffs but we just want to play well, and try to put ourselves in a position to do something at the end of the week."

WCF Media Officer Danny Parker asked how he planned to manage the balancing act of playing in the concurrent Seniors tournament. He responded, "We've got 5 players along and there are going to be some unavoidable clashes between the draws, but the guys are well aware and very supportive. I'll jump in whenever and wherever I can and support them as best as I can."

Although this was Slovenia's first appearance at the tournament Frauenlob said he was impressed. "They throw the rock very nicely, they hit a lot so I think once they discover setting up stones and so on they'll be very good players."

Frauenlob's teammates in the Senior Men's competion were on the ice at the same time as the opening Mixed Doubles match, and they delivered with a solid first-up 9-4 win over Italy. The Kiwi women were unable to deliver a perfect opening day for the Kiwi teams though, going down 10-2 to a more consistent Japan.


Kiwis ready to go in Fredericton

2013 WMDCC logo12 Apr 2013 – New Zealand Mixed Doubles and Senior Men's and Women's Curling teams will take on the best at their respective World Championships in Canada from this Saturday.

The dual event will be run on adjoining ice rinks in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

This will be the first international tournament together for the NZ Mixed Doubles team of Natalie Thurlow and Hans Frauenlob, but both have plenty of experience to call on. Thurlow first played in the national Women's side 15 years ago as a high school student, and Frauenlob has four Pacific gold medals and the 2006 Winter Olympics in his CV.

They won the national Mixed Doubles Championship last year in their in their first tournament together.

Thurlow teamed up with her father at the 2012 World Championship. "Having played the doubles in Turkey last year gives me confidence that we can do well if we go over and play at our best," she said. "I think this year will be quite a different atmosphere with the seniors competing at the same venue and hopefully a few more spectators as well."

"Hans and I have only played 2 competitions together, however we have gelled well. He's a very consistent player and a great strategist, having quickly shifted his game over from traditional fours to doubles, which is much more focused around draws and taps."

Frauenlob will have a busy week as he also skips the NZ Senior Men's side in Fredericton. "Playing in two events is definitely a challenge," he said, "but also a really unique opportunity that I'm looking forward to. Clashes in the schedule are unavoidable unfortunately. Doubles obviously gets priority, as we don't have an alternate player there! The seniors guys understand, and we're really fortunate to have [alternate] Dan Mustapic along. Dan is a quality skip and the guys won't miss a beat with him skipping the team when I can't."

"As I play more doubles I enjoy it more and more. The 'draw around everything' nature of the game really suits my style. A game can really change quickly - it's really hard to defend a lead, so it's usually all-out attack! We get along well and we have a pretty similar view on how to play the game, so that works well for us."

"We're looking forward to representing NZ in Fredericton. The competition will be tough with 27 countries but we're going to give it our best."

The Senior Men's team consists of Frauenlob, Dan Mustapic, Lorne DePape, Allan Langille and Pat Cooney. Liz Matthews will play in her 11th straight World Senior Championship as she skips the NZ Senior Women. Her teammates are Helen Greer, Christine Diack, Carolyn Cooney, and Glenys Taylor.