Wales fourth after defeating Netherlands

Wales now sit fourth in the Group E table at the World Mixed Curling Championships, after playing another consistent match against the Netherlands. For the second match of the day, it was another brilliant Last Stone Draw which gave Wales the hammer, something which could prove crucial later on.

The first end didn’t go entirely to plan, and at one stage Wales were concerned they might be giving away a steal, but the team played very well for the last few stones to remove the Dutch granite from the house and lie two.

End two again had its difficulties, but the Netherlands were left with nothing but a draw to take a single shot with their last stone.

In the third end, Wales started a period of very consistent play, and the good shot-making led to a score of three.

End four took an interesting turn, as the Netherlands tried to play an aggressive end by placing lots of stones in the house. However, Wales’ hitting game was by this point well-honed and they not only hit the Dutch shot stones but hung around too, meaning when Danny van den Berg came to play his final stone of the end it was a draw against five. While the Netherlands kept themselves in contention with the score of 1, there was no doubt which team was in control at the half-time break.

The fifth and sixth ends continued in a similar vein, Wales taking a score of two in the fifth and forcing a one in the sixth. By this stage, Wales were starting to throw through with their Lead stones, in an attempt to not leave the Netherlands anything to draw behind or freeze up to.

End seven started with Wales once again throwing through and the Dutch placing guards. The Seconds again began a battle of clearance and replacement, and this continued initially with guards and then with shot stones right up until the Skips came to play their shots. Despite Wales’ stones not always running out of play or into the house, come the last stones of the end there was no doubt that Wales were in control. With a single Netherlands stone lying in the back of the house, the plan was to hit and roll out to blank the end and have hammer in the eighth end, but the stone over-curled and Wales ended up taking one. Despite this minor mistake, as Wales now led 8-3 the Dutch did not want to continue and they shook hands.

Wales now have one more match in the Group E, against Estonia on Thursday (10:00 BST, 12:00 local). If they win, they keep themselves in contention for a place in the knock-out stages, dependent on the overall Draw Shot Challenge figures.

Wales beat Slovenia, face Dutch later

Wales play two matches at the World Mixed Curling Championships today (Wednesday), and went into the day aiming to take a win from both. The team know that they can no longer secure a spot in the knock-out stages unless other match results go in their favour, but without winning the remainder of their games that will almost certainly not matter. Both of today’s matches are ones that the team knew they should have a reasonable chance at, against the Netherlands (on the late afternoon session) and Slovenia in the early morning draw.

Wales started well against Slovenia, with their best overall Last Stone Draw of the championships to give them last stone advantage, which was put to good effect when despite not starting the end exactly as planned Wales threw some good stones to take a score of three.

Wales played well throughout the match, forcing a score of one in the second end, then scoring two more in the third before consistently stealing until the sixth end.

There were some moments in several ends when it seemed Slovenia might have a chance of taking a shot or two, but they never worked out. This was not least in the fifth end, when several well-guarded red Slovenian stones were clustered around the button. A couple of attempts by Wales to draw or freeze one of their own in there were heavy, and the last one took a slight bounce, leaving Slovenia a shot to remove the yellow stone and lie three, but it over-curled and actually removed their own stones from the shot position.

Speaking after the 8-1 victory, Wales skip Andrew Tanner said, “the team did very well. It’s a great victory, it gets us back on track. We’ve got a couple of games left to go so hopefully we can keep producing this for the last two games.”

On the subject of making the play-offs, he added, “We need two wins definitely with our last two games, we hope to get through to the play-offs, but we need to concentrate in our next game which is against the Netherlands this afternoon.”