The Wales Mixed Curling team are looking towards their second match of the 2016 World Mixed championships with some confidence; that’s despite losing out 7-3 to the German team in their opening match.
Germany started well by “touching the button” twice with their Last Stone Draw, giving Wales a tough challenge – and with the extremely fast ice at Kazan it proved too difficult to beat, meaning Germany took the hammer advantage in the first end.
However, the match got off to a good start when in end 1 Wales managed to restrict Germany to scoring just a single shot. Unfortunately, the second end was a struggle especially with some stones hung wider than expected, and Germany ended up extending their lead to 3 shots.
Looking for a score of 2 in the third end, Wales got off to a good start with some very good guards, and when Laura Beever played her second shot, a draw behind a centre guard, it seemed like the end was set up. However, Germany played a perfect freeze onto the Welsh shot stone and other than Wales guarding against any possible raise by Germany it proved impossible for either team to improve on that situation.
At the half-time break, Germany led 4-1, and end five took a similar route to end 4, both teams playing well enough to force just a single shot.
Wales decided they had to make a move in the sixth end, as they were beginning to run out of ends to catch Germany. Wales initially laid the standard initial guards and Germany drew into the house rather than attempting the tick-shot while the Free Guard Zone still applied. After that, Germany attempted to clear them, and at one point Wales debated whether to remove the German shot stones from the house or to replace the centre guard. The decision was made in favour of the guard, but Wales fell victim to the speed of the ice and the stone sailed through the house, setting Germany up well for a critical score of 3.
Wales could only take a single shot from end 7, and as it was unlikely they would steal 4 in the eighth end the teams shook hands with the score Germany 7-3 Wales, a scoreline that was a fair reflection of where most of the control of the match lay.
Germany were always going to be tough opponents – like Wales they have previously won the (now defunct) European Mixed championships, and the team were slightly disappointed but not surprised to be beaten. There was a good mixture of positives and items to work on for the next match, which is on Sunday morning (10:00 BST, 12:00 local time) against Croatia. The team hope that play at a similar level will give them a fighting chance in that match.