GB WHEELCHAIR CURLERS MISS OUT ON PLAY-OFF SPOT

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The Paralympics GB wheelchair curlers missed out on a play-off spot at the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang after they finished seventh in the final round robin standings. World Champions Norway - who the British quartet had beaten in their opening match - claimed the last qualifying place to join reigning Paralympic champions Canada, hosts Korea and China, who had already qualified for the semi finals.

On the final day of the round robin competition, the highest of stakes were settled by the narrowest of margins in the team’s last two must win matches. However, the British rink narrowly missed out to Korea 5-4 and found themselves reliant on Norway losing to Slovakia to keep a tie breaker option open to them. Hopes were dashed when that match went to an extra end and Norway prevailed, while the British side were trailing 4-3 to China after the fifth end break and gave up a costly 5 at the sixth which saw the sides shake hands. .

After a roller coaster week which saw the British team claim wins over the reigning world and Paralympic Champions, skip Aileen Neilson, who won bronze in Sochi four years ago, conceded that it was far from the outcome they had hoped for.

“We’re obviously extremely disappointed, we looked to be on that podium at the end of the week and we’re not, we didn’t win the matches that we set out to win.”

“The games should have been won before today, we wanted to be okay heading into the last round of round-robin so it’s games earlier in the week that we should have been getting wins from.

“We’re all gutted but we have to learn from it. We’ll go and have a bit of time off and then we’ll look at the competition, look at how we played and the schedule, we’ll look at our tactics and the dynamics and absolutely everything will be analysed.

“Our story is one of ups and downs, we’ve been in this position before and we’ve bounced back, we’re very resilient so we’ll learn from this and hopefully we’ll come back stronger.”

Hugh Nibloe added: “It’s disappointing but we’ll learn from it. We’ve played some really good stuff and now we want to build on that, we want to make sure those few good performances are more consistent.

“Until the very last stone we had the belief, I tend to be a pessimistic person but I feel like I’m more of an optimist now

“Surrounded by these guys, with their experience, I’m constantly learning both on and off the ice.

“My hope is to stay healthy enough for the next four years so I can come back for Beijing, just across the water, that’s the ultimate aim for me.”

Team:

Aileen Neilson (Strathaven) - 45
Gregor Ewan (Elgin) - 46
Hugh Nibloe (Stranraer) - 35
Robert McPherson (Bellshill) - 49
Angie Malone MBE (Glasgow) – 52

Schedule (GMT) and results:

Saturday 10 March
5.35am GB v Norway 5-2

Sunday 11 March
12.35am GB v Switzerland 4-7
10.35am GB v Finland 9-2

Monday 12 March
5.35am GB v Sweden 6-1
10.35am GB v Canada 8-1

Tuesday 13 March
5.35am GB v Slovakia 5-6
10.35am GB v Neutral Paralympic Athletes 2-8

Wednesday 14 March
12.35am GB v Germany 8-3
5.35am GB v USA 3-9

Thursday 15 March
12.35am GB v Korea 5-4
10.35am GB v China 9-3

Friday 16 March
12.35am Tie breaker (if required)
6.35am Semi finals

Saturday 17 March
12.35am Bronze medal game
5.35am Gold medal game

Results

Photos: WCF – Celine Stucki

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