Back to back for Frauenlob and Thurlow

2013 NZ Mixed Doubles winners

7 Aug 2013 – 2012 NZ Mixed Doubles Curling champions Natalie Thurlow and Hans Frauenlob had to battle all the way before before emerging from last weekend's 2013 Championship with back-to-back titles.

The pair lost two of their five pool games to tie for second with last year's bronze medalists Kelsi Heath and Kieran Ford, but Thurlow and Frauenlob qualified for the semi-finals by virtue of their first round win over Heath and Ford.

The new pairing of Kenny Thomson from the New Zealand Men's side and 19-year-old Aucklander Waverley Taylor topped the pool with a perfect five from five.

Semi-finalists from the other side of the draw were Eleanor Adviento and Brett Sargon with 4 wins, and Brydie Donald and Warren Dobson with the same 4-1 record.

Both semi-final matches were close. Thomson and Taylor were behind at the halfway point before recording an 8-6 win against Donald and Dobson, while Thurlow and Frauenlob also trailed throughout before finally getting their noses in front with a big 4 point end, and they hung to beat Adviento and Sargon 8-7.

Another slow start in the final saw Thurlow and Frauenlob trailing by 3 at the fourth end break, but from there they scored in every end to win 7-4. The bronze medal match was tied after the regulation 8 ends, with Donald and Dobson scoring the one point they needed in the extra to take a 9-8 victory

"We started slowly but continued to improve through the weekend," said Hans Frauenlob after the tournament. "We played two solid games in the medal round against really strong opponents, and I think the experience we gained at Worlds this year helped us at crunch time in the competition - even when we were behind in games, we didn't get fazed. We just focussed on what we wanted to do in the next end."

Reflecting on the weekend, he added "Doubles is a great format to have as a competitive event in New Zealand. Every team there this weekend had at least one win; that shows that the standard overall is lifting, and the competition is getting more even."

"And our young players are getting some great experience on how to read games and build strategy. The junior age teams did not look out of place in the tournament - it was really encouraging."

The national selectors will confirm the NZ team for next April's 2014 World Mixed Doubles Championship in a few weeks. This event will be held in conjunction with the World Senior Championships in Dumfries, Scotland.



Thanks to Murray Petherick for the photos