Scotland Keep Olympic Qualification Hopes Alive At World Champs
Scotland bounced back impressively from the disappointment of being knocked out of title contention at the World Mixed Doubles in Lethbridge, to register a 9-2 win over Sweden that has put Team GB back on course for Olympic qualification.
Earning Britain the right to field a full complement of teams in the curling events at Pyeongchang next year became the team’s principal target after defeat by hosts Canada in the opening round of the play-offs and Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat, who had come through the round-robin matches unbeaten, put in a professional performance that drew praise from coach David Aitken.
“I was really proud of the way they played having had a loss, which was a bit of a setback,” he said.
“To come back and produce a level of play that’s going to help us progress in terms of the qualification points was really positive.”
What particularly pleased him was that at no stage have the pair let their standards drop.
“We knew we had played a good game against Canada, in spite of the result going against us, so we just wanted to pick up on that level of play and we knew that if we did it would give us a strong position and they came out right at the start with the same level of accuracy and shot-making,” Aitken observed.
“That got us a couple of steals in the first two ends and then we settled down into our game, made a good force of one, then capitalised on a couple of loose shots they played at the fourth which let us score a four and put us six up at halfway. We were then pretty clinical when we had to defend a powerplay then took one of our own and we finished the game in the seventh end with a two.”
The Scots now face Russia in the next of their play-off matches.
Scotland v Norway 6-3
Scotland v Bulgaria 10-3
Scotland v Ireland 8-5
Scotland v Wales 11-2
Scotland v Serbia 11-0
Scotland v Denmark 8-2
Scotland v Italy 8-4
Scotland v Canada 3-8
Scotland v Sweden 9-2
Groups at Lethbridge:
Group A: Belarus, Brazil, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Japan, and Latvia
Group B: Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Serbia, and Wales
Group C: Australia, Austria, China, Israel, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden
Group D: hosts Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Turkey and USA
Group E: New Zealand, Romania, defending champions Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland
16 teams will proceed to the knock out stage and the medal games take place on Saturday 29 April.
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PHOTOS: WCF – Richard Gray