|Korea's Yujin Seong. Photo © WinterGames NZ / Iain McGregor|
31 Aug 2019 – Australia 1 and Korea will play for the gold medal this afternoon at the QRC Winter Games NZ Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament fuelled by Forsyth Barr.
After Australia took a single in the first end of their semi-final, Sweden's Therese Westman laid down the challenge with one of the shots of the week - a 3-metre angled raise of her own stone to knock an opposition stone out and score 4. A Swedish steal then had Australia staring down the barrel of a 5-1 deficit.
Over the next two ends the Aussies levelled the scores, and followed it up with precision shotmaking to score 3 of their own in the seventh end.
They then stole the final end for a 9-7 win and a place in the final.
The Australian pair were on a high after the game. "I'm still a bit shaky, it hasn't really sunk in yet," said Tahli Gill. "But Dean played amazing!"
Her teammate Dean Hewitt returned the compliment. "Tahli made some real clutch shots in there too," he said. "That seventh end, I knew that was where we could really put our foot down and play quite aggressively to get 2 or 3 there. We worked really hard to make a multiple, and thankfully we made the shots."
Undefeated Korea faced the USA in the second semi-final, and made an immediate impact in the first end. With the penultimate stone, an American stone clipped a guard and left Hyeji Jang with a takeout to put a score of 4 on the board.
The USA fought back, and a couple of Korean half-shots when the USA took their powerplay saw the Americans hit for 4 points and take a one-point lead in the fifth end. In a see-saw second half, the USA scored 2 in the eighth end to level the scores and force an extra end.
An attempted run-back with the Americans' final shot of the game was just wide, and Korea secured a 9-8 win without needing to throw their last stone.
Hyeji Jang spoke on behalf of her teammate Yujin Seong as they looked forward to the final. "This will be our first time in the final," she said, "so we are a little nervous, but very excited too. We will be doing our best!"
The Korea - Australia gold medal game and the bronze match between Sweden and USA get under way at 3:30pm at Naseby's Maniototo Curling International rink. The final will be shown live on Sky Sport 9.