World Men's Curling Championship 2012 - Draw 1

Germany had to fight their way back to victory over the USA Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

In Saturday afternoon’s opening session of play at the World Men’s Curling Championship 2012 in Basel, Switzerland, Germany gave themselves a mountain to climb when their fourth player Felix Schulze missed an attempted raise shot in the fourth end to give his USA opponents – who were making their debut at this level - a steal of four for a 5-1 lead.

However, they started their fight-back straight away, scoring two in the fifth end with a draw shot for two points before adding another two points in the seventh end. They continued to improve, stealing singles in both the eighth and ninth ends for a 7-6 lead. The Germans stole again in the tenth end for what had, for a long time, looked like an unlikely 8-6 victory, as USA skip Heath McCormick wrecked on the way into the house with his final effort.

Afterwards, German skip, John Jahr, said: “First game, first win. We’re very happy after losing the four. It was a hard game, but we didn’t struggle. We calmed down and said ‘we need two and we’ll let them have one’, before taking two again. That was the game plan. We had to fight our way back into it.”

After what he later described as a slow start, Scottish skip Tom Brewster eventually got into the game against New Zealand in the third end, with a nice angled promote of one of his own stones to score one point for a 1-1 score-line. Although the Scots were mostly in control, scoring a further two points in the sixth end when Brewster drew for a 4-2 lead, New Zealand were a handful throughout. Their skip Peter de Boer made a nice draw for one point in the seventh end to bring the score to just 4-3 in Scotland’s favour. But the Scots eventually won by 5-3.

Expatriates Peter de Boer and his lead Kenny Thompson are former well-known Scottish players now living in New Zealand. This thought was in Brewster’s mind as he reflected on his opening win. “This was the one game I wasn’t looking forward to. I know Peter and Kenny well and, because it’s a derby game between us, form goes out the window. I thought we were pretty solid, we were just a wee bit slow to get going.”

The match-up between Norway and Denmark opened with four blank ends before Denmark first registered, with one point in the fifth end. Norway skip, Thomas Ulsrud then drew for one point to level at 1-1. The game stayed tight from then on and eventually went into an extra end, with Denmark having last stone advantage. However when he came to play for the win, Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne was heavy with his final draw, letting Norway steal three from the end for a 6-3 win.

Afterwards Ulsrud said: “That was a close one. We were struggling the whole game to get the speed right, and when the speed was right, we didn’t put the broom in the right place, so I guess a normal start for us – the only abnormality was that we won! They played a good game and didn’t give us many chances. That was a lucky win for Norway.”

France battled hard against former World Champion Glenn Howard, establishing a 4-3 lead after six ends. But the tide finally turned in the seventh end when Canadian skip Howard was able to draw for three points and a 6-4 lead, which they extended to 7-5 after ten ends.

Afterwards, Howard said: “I’m just pleased to get the first game out of the way. We got down early and we didn’t panic, we hung on in there and got more shots than them. A win’s a win today. We knew they were a very good team and they played well.”

Session 1:
USA 6, Germany 8; New Zealand 3, Scotland 5; Norway 6, Denmark 3; Canada 7, France 5.

Standings after session 1*:
Canada 1-0
Germany 1-0
Norway 1-0
Scotland 1-0
China 0-0
Czech Republic 0-0
Sweden 0-0
Switzerland 0-0
Denmark 0-1
France 0-1
New Zealand 0-1
USA 0-1

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