World Men's Curling Championship 2012 - Draw 8

Switzerland recorded their first win of the championship Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Canada and Sweden still share top spot, with an unbeaten five wins each, after they both won in Monday evening’s eighth round-robin session at the World Men’s Curling Championship, in Basel Switzerland.

With every game that passes, Canada look more and more like the favourites that they are, and they eventually cruised to their fifth victory of the week, beating the Czech Republic by 9-3. Canadian skip Glenn Howard scored four points in the ninth end, with a double take-out for a 9-3 score-line to seal the win, at which point the Czechs conceded defeat.

Afterwards, Howard was gracious in his praise of his opponents. “I was very impressed by the Czech team. For a country that’s only been curling for less than ten years, they’re very impressive. I like the way they throw the rocks and I like the way they called the game.”

Turning to his own team, Howard added: “That was really a well-played game. Our confidence is getting better, I felt really comfortable out there tonight and my guys are making everything underneath me. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Like Canada, Sweden were unbeaten when they started this session and it looked like they would add another win when they scored five points in the third end, with skip Sebastian Kraupp tapping up a fifth stone into a collection of his own stones already in the house for a 6-2 lead.

However, their French opponents fought hard, and the highlight of their fight-back was in the seventh end when fourth player Tony Angiboust hit for four points to narrow the Swedish lead to 8-7. However it was too little too late, as Sweden ran out 10-8 winners to remain unbeaten on top alongside Canada, on five wins.

After the game, Kraupp said: “We had a really bad end in the seventh but apart from that, the whole team had a really good game.” On scoring the five he said: “It was actually France missing a couple of shots that let us have a good end. They played really aggressive and that made it possible for us to score big. It is hard to when you go up early on. You have to stay focused for the whole game.”

China won their second game of the day to share third spot with Scotland, who sat the session out, when they beat USA by 7-4. They scored two points in the ninth end when skip Liu Rui hit for two points to put the game beyond USA, who could only score one in the tenth end. Speaking through an interpreter, skip Rui said: “We played well tonight - we are honoured to play the game in front of so many people here, it helps motivate us and play better.”

Switzerland came onto the ice for this session in front of a 2,000-strong home crowd, still looking for their first win of the event. Their new line-up again featured 20-year-old Benoit Schwarz playing fourth and the change finally paid off against Germany.

Schwarz produced a triple take-out to score two points in the second end and set his team on their way. He followed that up in the fifth end, this time with a double take-out to score three points for a 7-2 lead as his team went on to win 9-4. Afterwards skip Jan Hauser said: “We’ve had four tough losses. We’ve played strong all the time but finally they stones came like we wanted and we won.” Speaking about the home-crowd he added: “The stadium has been alive not just from tonight, but since Saturday, and it’s fantastic. We lost our first four games, but we’ve tried to give something back and finally we’ve won, so we hope the people will come again tomorrow.”

China 7, USA 5; Switzerland 9, Germany 4; Czech Republic 3, Canada 9; Sweden 10, France 8.

Standings after 8 sessions:
Canada 5-0
Sweden 5-0
China 4-1
Scotland 4-1
Denmark 2-3
France 2-3
Norway 2-3
New Zealand 2-3
Czech Republic 1-4
Germany 1-4
Switzerland 1-4
USA 1-4

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