|Kenny Thomson and Warren Dobson are all concentration on Warren Kearneys' stone|
23 Nov 2010 – New Zealand will be coming home empty-handed from the 2010 Pacific Curling Championships in Korea.
Following their semifinal losses yesterday to dash hopes of 2011 World Championship qualification, both NZ teams lost their bronze medal matches today – the Men to Australia and the Women to Japan.
The Kiwi women held their own for much of the match against the favoured Japanese, but a triple to Japan in the 5th end did the damage to NZ and they went down 4-7.
The NZ Men had beaten High Millikin's Australians in both of their round robin matches, and would have favoured their chances to do it again. After the teams swapped twos in the opening ends though, the Aussies eased ahead throughout to take the match 9-4.
The Men's gold was won by China, who dominated their final against Korea just as they had dominated the rest of the tournament. They took the final 9-3 and went 14 games without defeat.
The Korean women shocked the previously unbeaten Chinese women to win their gold medal match 10-7.
- 12 Nov 2010 – NZ eyes Olympic qualification
- 18 Nov 2010 – Slow start for New Zealand
- 19 Nov 2010 – NZ hopeful of Pacific semis
- 21 Nov 2010 – High stakes in Pacific semifinals
- 23 Nov 2010 – Agonising semi loss for NZ Men
World Curling Federation
- 23 Nov 2010 – Chinese men and Korean women win Pacific Championships
|New Zealand Teams|
|Men||Sean Becker (Ranfurly Curling Club), Warren Kearney (Ranfurly), Kris Miller (Ranfurly), Warren Dobson (Mt Ida), Kenny Thomson (Auckland)|
|Women||Bridget Becker (Ranfurly), Brydie Donald (Dunedin), Marisa Jones (Dunedin), Natalie Campbell (Alexandra), Katie Bauer (Auckland)|
|NZ third Brydie Donald calls line for skip Bridget Becker's stone.
Rissy Jones and Natalie Campbell are the sweepers.
|Warren Kearney and Warren Dobson watching as Kenny Thomson delivers|
|All hands sweeping Skip Sean Becker's stone to the button vs China.
L to R: Kenny Thomson, Warren Dobson, Warren Kearney
NZ eyes Olympic qualification
12 Nov 2010 – New Zealand Curling's quest to compete at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics starts next week at the 2010 Pacific Curling Championships in Korea.
Olympic qualification points are earned over the three annual World Championships before each Olympics, and a top-2 finish at this year's Pacific Championship is the ticket NZ needs to compete at the 2011 World Championships.
The Kiwi men tasted international success in the early part of the decade, when Pacific gold medals in 2003 and 2004 qualified them for the following World Championships. Their results at the Worlds were good enough to secure the final qualifying spot at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
After Turin, the increased strength of New Zealand's Pacific rivals – principally China and Japan – has pushed the Kiwis out of the gold and silver medal positions, so the NZ Men have not qualified for a World Championship since. However, they are confident of an improved showing this year.
"There's no doubt that the guys are good enough", said NZ coach Peter Becker. "We just need to bring our 'A' game to the table every time."
That sentiment is echoed by skip Sean Becker. "Consistency is the key", he said. "If we miss shots against these teams they will make us pay for it."
Optimism in Women's squad
The NZ Women's team are also keen to improve on the 4th placing that has been their lot in recent years.
Peter Becker is also bullish about the prospects of the Kiwi women. "We have all the skills and the ability", he says. "It's all about self belief. Last year the girls had world-class wins against the Olympic teams of China and Japan, and there's no reason why we can't do that again."
Kenny Thomson and Katie Bauer are the newcomers to the NZ teams for these championships. Thomson says that the success of Sean and Bridget Becker at the World Mixed Doubles this year has brought a renewed optimism to the NZ squad.
He continues, "In terms of my integration into the Men's team, a couple of training sessions recently held in Naseby saw the team in pretty good spirits and so I don’t think any of us will have concerns about never having curled together in the past."
"As for the competition itself, Sean mentioned last week on the phone that 'you could pretty much throw a blanket over the 6 Pacific teams' so next week is going to be all about securing a semi-final berth and then I suppose each semi-final game will be considered as another final, until such time as the job is done. The way the draw works, each round robin game could potentially count as a result in the semi-final (depending on the opposition) so there will be no easy match-ups and we will need to maintain a high level of concentration for all 10 round robin games."
The teams fly out to Korea this weekend and the championships start next week, with the finals scheduled for Tuesday 23 November.
Slow start for New Zealand
18 Nov 2010 – New Zealand's Men's and Women's teams both had a disappointing start at the Pacific Curling Championships in Korea on Monday, with neither team registering a win against teams regarded as amongst the pre-tournament favourites.
However the Men won both of their games on the second day to bring some encouragement to the Kiwi camp.
The NZ Men were level with Japan after 6 ends of their opening match, but a steal in the 8th made the difference as Japan went on to win 8-6.
They lead at the same stage of their evening match against the strong Chinese. However they were unable to finish off the match and didn't win another end, going down 4-8.
The Kiwi women were right in the match against China in their only game of the day until the Chinese took a 3 on the 7th, on their way to a 9-5 victory.
Bridget Becker's Women's side had a morning bye and then faced Japan in the afternoon. The lead changed several times through the match and NZ led by one coming home. The Japanese needed a multiple with hammer and made no mistake, scoring 3 to take the match 9-7.
The Men found themselves in trouble against Hugh Millikin's Australia, down 2-6 after 6 ends. They came back into the game but were still one down coming home without hammer. A steal of 2 on the last saw them squeak home 8-7.
A 4-pointer on the seventh end allowed NZ to control the end game against Chinese Taipei. Despite conceding steals on the last two ends, Sean Becker's side hung on for a 9-8 win.
NZ hopeful of Pacific semis
19 Nov 2010 – Both New Zealand's Men's and Women's teams are in with a semi-final chance at the Pacific Curling Championships in Korea this week.
At the halfway stage of the preliminary double round robin, the Kiwi men are in second equal place after 3 wins and 2 losses. The NZ Women sit fourth with a 3-1 record.
In their first game of the day, Bridget Becker's women's side were beaten convincingly 3-10 by Korea. They redeemed themselves in the evening round with a couple of 4-point ends on their way to a 10-4 win over their Australian neighbours.
Sean Becker's men had just one game, but they made it count. They jumped out to an early commanding lead against Korea, and maintained it throughout for an 8-2 victory.
The top 4 Men's and Women's teams will qualify for the semi-finals. Making the playoffs is the first consideration, but both sides will be looking for a higher standing as the fourth qualifier will play the top side, likely to be the strong Chinese in both competitions.
High stakes in Pacific semifinals
22 Nov 2010 – The New Zealand Men's and Women's curling teams are playing for high stakes in today's best-of-five semi-finals at the 2010 Pacific Curling Championships in Korea. As well as a place in the championship final, the semi-final winners will qualify their country for next year's World Championship.
The NZ women face a tough assignment, needing to win three consecutive games against the unbeaten Chinese if they are to make the final and their first trip to a World Championship. They start today at 0-2 down, as their 2 pool games against China count as the first two games in the best-of-five series. Korea also start at 2-0 up against Japan in the other semifinal.
The Kiwi Men start at 1-1 with Korea, the two teams having shared their pool games. China will start 2-0 against Australia, needing just one more win to qualify.
Preliminary Matches – Second Round
There were two full round robin draws to fine the top four teams for the semi-finals.
In the Women's section, the results were a carbon copy of the first round. China finished undefeated, followed by Korea and Japan. New Zealand were fourth, but their most critical of their eight pool games was the last where they confirmed their semi-final berth in beating Australia 11-4. Their only 2 wins were against the Australians and so they did enough to qualify, but will be disappponted not to have claimed any other scalps along the way.
The NZ Men repeated their wins over Australia and Chinese Taipei in the second round of matches, but lost again to China and Japan. The Japanese team, second in this event last year, finished at the bottom of the standings with their only 2 wins coming against the Kiwis.
NZ beat Korea in the first round, but in the second round they went down 8-10 in an extra end.
The semi-finals will be completed today, with the gold medal final and bronze medal play-off scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).
Agonising semi loss for NZ Men
23 Nov 2010 – New Zealand Men's and Women's curling teams will both play off for a bronze medal at the 2010 Pacific Curling Championships in Korea today, after losing their respective best-of-five semifinal series yesterday.
It was an agonising loss for the Kiwi men, going down to Korea by three matches to one. All three of Korea's wins were in an extra end as each match finished with scores level after the regulation 10 ends.
The semifinal losses mean neither NZ side will play in next year's World Championship, and so they miss the chance to gain qualifying points for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Sean Becker's NZ Men started the day against Korea at one win each, the teams sharing the honours in their pool matches.
They were even at 4-4 after seven ends of the third game before Korea took a triple and appeared to have control. The Kiwis fought back though to square the match after 10 ends, but the Koreans had hammer in the extra end and made no mistake to win 8-7.
NZ needed to win the fourth match to stay alive and had a narrow 4-2 lead after six ends. Another triple to Korea gave them a one point lead. The Kiwis blanked the next two to retain last stone advantage. Needing two in the last to take the match, NZ could only manage one – and again Korea took the extra end with hammer to win the game 5-4, win the semifinal and dash the NZ dream.
The New Zealand Women always faced an uphill battle, starting the day two matches down against an unbeaten Chinese side. Bridget Becker's team needed to win an unlikely three in a row for an upset semifinal win, but China were rampant in scoring eight consecutive singles. They shut out the Kiwis 8-0 to comfortably win the semifinal series.
The defending Chinese champions will play their Korean hosts in both the Men's and Women's gold medal matches.
The NZ Men will play Australia in their bronze medal game, and will be hoping their good run against their Aussie neighbours continues so they can secure a consolation medal. Japan will play New Zealand for the Women's bronze.
All medal matches start at 12 noon local time (4pm NZT).