Saturday, 15 Jan 2011 – The Chinese men and Japanese women won the gold medals at the 2011 Pacific Junior Curling Championships in Naseby this weekend. In doing so they also secured the Pacific Region spots at March's World Junior Curling Championships.
Korea claimed both silver medals, while bronze went to the New Zealand women and the Japanese men.
The last day of the Championships started at 9:00 am, with the semi-finals between the second and third qualifiers.
The NZ Women grabbed the last playoff spot in a nail-biting tiebreaker against China the previous evening, and were the equal of Japan through much of their game. However five unanswered points to Japan in the 8th and 9th ends ended the Kiwi challenge, and the teams shook hands at 10-6.
The Korean men took an early lead in their match against Japan and were always ahead, winning 7-5.
The semi-final winners played the top qualifiers in the final, and both were close matches.
The Women's Final was a game of singles throughout until Japan made the perfect finish – a double with hammer in the 10th end for a 4-3 victory over Korea.
The Chinese men had a narrow 4-3 lead over Korea after eight ends, but put the match beyond doubt with a resounding 4-pointer in the ninth to win 8-3.
NZ qualify for 2012 Winter Youth Olympics
As well as being a qualifying competition for this year's World Junior Championships, the tournament also decided the Oceania curling team for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria in January 2012. New Zealand claimed this spot by finishing with a better result than Australia in Naseby. A mixed NZ team will be selected later this year for Austria.
Champions China (men) and Japan (women). Photo WCF
Finals Day Gallery
Playoff fields confirmed after tiebreaker
Friday, 14 Jan 2011 – New Zealand's Junior Women's curlers guaranteed themselves a medal at the 2011 Pacific Junior Curling Championships in Naseby on Friday night.
In their third match of the day Chelsea Farley, Thivya Jeyaranjan, Tessa Farley, Emily Whelan and Katie Bauer won a nail-biting tiebreaker against defending champions China 7-5 for the last qualifying spot.
After just one win in their first five games, they beat Australia for the second time on Thursday afternoon and then followed it up with a good win against China on Friday morning. This left the Kiwis and the Chinese tied on a 3 win - 5 loss record for the last semi-final position, forcing the tiebreaker.
Korea and Japan topped the Women's double round robin with identical 7-1 win-loss records.
The curse of the extra end for NZ Men
In November the NZ Men's (open) team played 3 extra-end games at the Pacific Curling Championships, all against Korea. Korea won all three to take the best-of-five semi-final series 3-1.
New Zealand's Junior Men also played three extra end games this week, and also came away with a 0-from-3 record. The first two, against Japan, were crucial. If the results had gone the other way it would have been NZ, not Japan, playing off for the podium.
The Kiwi men (Sam Miller, Michael Smith, Willie Miller, Liam Dowling, and Tim McMillan) had to settle for a 2 win - 6 loss record and 4th place.
China, Korea, and Japan will contest the medals in the Men's competition. The defending champions China have improved throughout the tournament, and as top qualifiers earned a direct route to the final.
Work to do for NZ Under-21 teams
Tuesday, 11 Jan 2011 – New Zealand's young curlers are in with a chance of a top-three finish at the Pacific Junior Curling Championships in Naseby this week, but they have some work ahead of them.
Both the NZ Men and Women have a 1 win - 2 loss record, and will need to win at least two or three of their remaining 5 pool games to make the play-off rounds.
The Men's competition is already proving tight. All teams have dropped at least one game so far and there have been some very close results. NZ stole the last end of their match against Japan to force an extra end, but were unable to steal again for the win and went down 4-5.
Korea is unbeaten in the Women's section, while China and Japan have one loss each. New Zealand came out on top of their "must-win" match yesterday against Australia yesterday morning, but were well beaten by China in their afternoon game.
Line-ups confirmed for Pacific Junior Champs
Friday, 7 Jan 2011 – Team line-ups have been confirmed for the 2011 Pacific Junior Curling Championships that get under way at Naseby's Maniototo Curling International rink next week.
Under-21 curlers from Australia, China, Korea, Japan, and New Zealand will be competing for the Pacific entry to the World Junior Championships later in the year.
The Korean Junior Men's team come from the Gyeonggi curling club with nearly 30 years curling experience between them. The Junior Women's team are from the same city and placed 2nd in the 2010 Pacific Junior Championship.
From Japan, the Junior Women are all from Hokkaido Curling Club and the Men are from Karuizawa, Miyota and Kitami clubs. All of them are students except for one professional fisherman!
Both the Men's and Women's teams from China (including coaches) herald from Harbin Curling Club. As the 2010 champions, both teams will start as favourites in their respective competitions.
All of the Australian competitors are from the Queensland Curling Club, with one player currently curling in the USA. New Zealand is represented by the current Under-21 Men's and Women's national champion sides. Chelsea Farley's women were also runners-up in the competitive Auckland Premier League this year, while for the men from Ranfurly, Wedderburn, Alexandra, and Otago Central clubs this is their "home" rink and they will undoubtedly have plenty of local support.
All teams will have two official 1-hour training sessions this Sunday (9th) and the double round-robin competition will start at 10:00 am the following day. Spectators are most welcome to watch all of the action from the warm lounge above the rink, with just a gold coin donation entry.
The top Men's and Women's sides after the preliminary rounds will qualify directly for their respective finals. They will play the winner of the semi-final between the second and third-placed teams for the gold medal, and the right to compete at March's World Junior Championships in Scotland.