|Maniototo Curling International, Naseby||1 - 9 November 2008|
Semi-Finals, Best of 5
|New Zealand (1-1)||3||5||-||Korea|
|Q: Qualified for Final / Semifinal|
Sunday, 9 Nov 2008 – China won both the Men's and Women's titles at the 2008 Pacific Curling Championships that concluded in Naseby, Central Otago on Sunday 9 November.
The Chinese men beat Japan 8-5 in their final, taking charge in the second half of the match after it was tied up at 3-3 with five of the scheduled ten ends completed. Pre-tournament favourites China had a slow start in the competition losing two of their first three games in pool play, but were formidable later in the week once they got into their stride.
Their female teammates also dominated the second half of their final against the Korean women, winning the last four ends for a 9-4 victory after trailing at the half-way mark. China led the Women's event all week, dropping just one pool game on their way to the title.
By virtue of making the final, both sets of finalists also qualified their countries for the Men's and Women's World Curling Championships in 2009. The Korean Women were already assured of one place as they are the host nation next year.
In the final act of the last day, the New Zealand Men's team took the bronze medal when they beat Korea 7-6, in a game which went to an extra end after being locked at 6-6 after the regulation ten ends. Japan had earlier won the bronze in the Women's competition, as the loser of the semi-final between the second and third-ranked qualifiers.
Saturday, 8 Nov 2008 – The NZ Men's team missed out on a place at next year's World Curling Championships when China won their best-of-five game semi-final 3-1 at the 2008 Pacific Championships in Naseby today. China will play Japan for Pacific gold in tomorrow's final while the Kiwis take on Korea for the bronze medal.
Japan – the 4th-ranked team after the qualifying round – will also go to the Men's World Championships after they beat top qualifiers Korea 3-2 in their semi-final series.
The Kiwis had every chance to take the Chinese to a deciding fifth game in their semi-finals when their fourth game was tied up at 5-5 after eight ends. However the Chinese stole the last two ends for an 8-5 victory, dashing the NZ hopes.
The Chinese women qualified directly for their final by winning the double round-robin pool play section. They will meet Korea who beat Japan 9-6 in the single semi-final between the second and third-ranked teams. Korea, as the host nation, qualified automatically for the 2009 Women's World Championships. The Koreans semi-final win had the effect of qualifying China as the other Pacific team as the Chinese became the other highest-ranked side.
Friday, 7 Nov 2008 – The last semi-finalists were found at the 2008 Pacific Curling Championships in Naseby during the final day of pool play today. Korea, China, hosts New Zealand and Japan will contest the Men's semi-finals, with Australia and Chinese Taipei missing out. China, Japan and Korea will fill the three Women's playoff spots but the tournament is over for the NZ and Australian women.
For the Aussie men in particular this is a hard blow, and may have dashed their hopes of 2010 Winter Olympic qualification. They cannot progress to the 2009 World Championships and so cannot gain any more ranking points to improve their tenuous 9th place on the Olympic ranking table - the top 10 will play in Vancouver in 2010.
The top three men's teams were all tied with 7 wins from 10 games after pool play, and were ranked according to the results of the games between the three of them. Top-ranked Korea will play Japan in one best-of-five semi-final series, and the Kiwis will play pre-tournament favourites China in the other. The two pool games that these teams have already played against each other in the double round robin count as the first two games of each series. This gives Japan a handy 2-0 lead over Korea and means they only need one more win. NZ and China start the third game of the series at 1-1.
Early on Friday the NZ women beat Korea to keep their semi-final hopes alive, but the Koreans won their afternoon match against Australia to shut the Kiwis out.
China advance direct to the final as winners of the 5-team pool play section, and Japan will play Korea in a single game semi-final for the right to meet them. All semi-finals take place on Saturday, with the finals contested from midday Sunday.
Thursday, 6 Nov 2008 – The last day of pool play at the 2008 Pacific Curling Championships in Naseby on Friday will see Australia strive to keep its Olympic dream alive in the Men's section, and the New Zealand women attempting to take the last playoff spot in their competition.
China and Japan are guaranteed two of the three Women's playoff spots. New Zealand must beat Korea to have any hope of progressing further.
China and NZ are level with 7 wins each at the top of the Men's draw, and Japan are also definite semi-finallists with 6 wins. The fourth spot will go to either Japan (4 wins) or Australia with 3. However Japan have the tougher game in the last round - they play leaders China while the Aussies take on the winless Chinese Taipei team. Australia must make the final to play at the 2009 World Curling Championships and earn the qualifying points they need for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
If playoffs are needed to settle the post-section qualifiers these will take place on Friday afternoon. The top four Men's and top three Women's teams will qualify for the weekend's semi-finals and finals.
Wednesday, 5 Nov 2008 – The NZ women came from 0-5 and then 3-7 behind to pip arch-rivals Australia in pool play at the Pacific Curling Championships in Naseby, Central Otago on Wednesday evening. The Kiwis looked down and out at the start of the final end, still down by one and with Australia having the vital last rock advantage. However, they stole the tenth end to force an extra, then stole that as well for a thrilling 8-7 win.
The other Women's match was also notable, with Japan downing the previously unbeaten Chinese to leave both teams level at the top of the table with a 5 win / 1 loss record.
Earlier the NZ men suffered their second loss of the tournament, 7-9 to China. Japan and Korea both went with the form book to win their late games. This leaves NZ, China, and Korea almost certain to make up three of the four Men's semi-finalists, with Japan and Australia likely to be vying for the other spot.
Tuesday, 4 Nov 2008 – The leaderboard is starting to take shape after the first full round of the double round-robin pool section was completed on Tuesday at the Pacific Curling Championships in Naseby, Central Otago. New Zealand and Korea lead the Men's section with four wins from five games, while China has a perfect four-from-four record in the Women's draw.
In the feature game on Tuesday afternoon, Korea beat the previously unbeaten Kiwis with the last stone of the match for a 6-4 win. China headed Japan 8-4 to record their third win, while the Australians joined Japan on two wins when they comfortably beat Chinese Taipei 10-3.
The Chinese women had the bye on Tuesday evening, watching on as Japan (3 wins) and Korea (2 wins) had comfortable victories over New Zealand and Australia respectively.
Monday, 3 Nov 2008 – The New Zealand Men's team continued their good form in the early stages of the Pacific Curling Championships in Naseby, Central Otago on Tuesday. They came from behind for a narrow 9-8 win over neighbours Australia and then beat Chinese Taipei to remain the only unbeaten team after four games.
On Wednesday the Kiwis will meet Korea, who have dropped just one game, to complete the first half of the double round-robin pool play section. Japan and pre-tournament favourites China will also meet, both teams having a two-from-four record, while Autralia will play Chinese Taipei who were unlucky to lose an extra-end game against the Japanese.
Two further rounds in the Women's draw on Wednesday will also complete the first half of their double round robin pool. China and Japan, both ranked in the world top ten, have emerged as the form teams but the local NZ side can be assured of good local support as they strive to improve their 50% record after two games.
Sunday, 2 Nov 2008 – The New Zealand and Korean teams had the best of the first day at the Men's half of the 2008 Pacific Curling Championships at the Maniototo Curling International rink in Naseby, Central Otago. Both had two wins from their two games, with the Kiwis upsetting the fancied Chinese team.
Australia and China recorded a win and a loss each, while Japan and Chinese Taipei have yet to register a win.
NZ started well against the highly-ranked Chinese, leaping out to a 6-2 lead after five ends. However the visitors dominated the second half of the game and the Kiwis started the last end, with hammer, down 7-8. Sean Becker's final stone set them up with a deuce for the narrowest of wins.
Only two games were played in the Women's draw on the first day, with China and Japan scoring wins. The Kiwi women will play their first games on Monday.
A double round robin of pool play will run from Sunday 2nd through to Friday 7th November, followed by semi-finals and finals on the weekend of 8th and 9th. Teams from Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and New Zealand are competing for the Men’s and Women’s titles.
The gold and silver medalists will also win entry to next year’s World Curling Championships where they will earn crucial Olympic qualifying points.