Wales top of World Mixed Group A after 2 wins from 2 matches

The Palladium in Champéry. Taken during the 2014 European Curling Championships

The Palladium in Champéry. Taken during the 2014 European Curling Championships

Team Wales (Adrian Meikle, Dawn Watson, Andrew Tanner & Laura Beever) are currently top of the Group A table at the World Mixed Curling Championships in Champéry, Switzerland.

The team started well at the Palladium by beating Croatia 6-4 straight after Friday’s Opening Ceremony. Having put in a good Last Stone Draw to take the hammer in the first end, Wales could only keep Croatia to a steal of 1 shot, but the second end was blanked. The main control in the game came from Wales’ score of 3 with the hammer in the third end, putting them 2 points ahead of the opposition. Despite narrowing the gap in the fourth end, Wales kept in the lead throughout the rest of the match.

Wales then won a close match against Hungary 7-5 on Saturday’s early evening session Despite winning the hammer, they could only take a single shot in the first end, and with Hungary taking 2 in the second it was clear Wales would have to come from behind if they were to deny Hungary victory. Wales responded well, taking 3 shots in the third end, then stealing 1 in the fourth to lead 5-2 at the half-time break. When play resumed, the two teams traded scores of 2, leaving Wales 7-4 ahead after the sixth end – and when Hungary could only take a single shot in the seventh it seemed unlikely they could overhaul Wales in the final end. Eventually, Wales ran the Hungarians out of stone, took victory and joined Finland and Israel as the undefeated teams in the session.

Wales play again at 7pm on Sunday 8th October (UK time) when they face Estonia. The Estonians and defending champions Russia are the only teams in Group A who have yet to play a second match.

Wales Skip Adrian Meikle told the WCF’s reporter after their win over Hungary that “the first half was a bit shaky at times” but that they were “very happy” to see Wales at the top of the table.

Wales beat Hungary but need another win

Five men in semi-profile wearing red and green outfits

Team Pougher.
Pictured (l-r): Simon Pougher (alternate), Garry Coombs (lead), Rhys Phillips (second), Jamie Fletcher (third/vice-skip), James Pougher (skip)

With any thought of promotion to the A-Division long gone, it’s now a battle to avoid relegation for Wales’ men at the European Curling Championships 2015, and they gave themselves a much better chance by beating Hungary this morning. The 10-8 victory was only secured in the 10th end, and the lead switched between the teams throughout – with the scores levelled three times after the first end.

Wales now lie joint fifth in the group table, and need a win in their final Group Round Robin match against Lithuania if they are to have the best chance of staying in the B-Division.

The fact that Wales have beaten Hungary should help them out if Hungary beat Belgium in their final match, but ideally Wales would want either Belgium to win or Turkey to beat Poland – either of those results would ensure Wales’ safety as long as James Pougher’s team win their own game.

If things go differently, Wales may need to go through a tie-breaker or directly into a relegation play-off match, which is best avoided.

Group A standings after 6 matches

# Team P W L
1 Denmark 6 6 0
2 Lithuania 6 4 2
2 Slovenia 6 4 2
4 Turkey 6 3 3
5 Hungary 6 2 4
5 Poland 6 2 4
5 Wales 6 2 4
8 Belgium 6 1 5

Wales’ final Group match (Wednesday, 3pm GMT) is against Lithuania.

Must-win situation for Team Meikle

Hungary and Wales both needed a timeout to analyse this situation

Hungary and Wales both needed a timeout to analyse this situation

Wales have an uphill battle ahead of them if they want to qualify for the knock-out stage of this year’s European Curling Championships. Adrian Meikle’s team lost their second match of the B-Division contest today as Hungary found form exactly when they needed it. Continue reading