Scotland opened their campaign at the 2014 World Men’s Curling Championship in Beijing, China with a game against Oskar Eriksson’s young Swedish team on Saturday – their only game on the first day of play.
That’s Scotland skip Ewan MacDonald above with Euan Byers and David Reid the sweepers.
The game against Sweden did not start well for the Scots as Eriksson and his team took a three with the hammer in the first end putting Scotland on the back foot from the off.
A single in the second should have been a two when Ewan’s final draw came up short and when the Swedes took their two in the third for a 5-1 lead things were already looking ominous.
6-2 down at the break had become 8-3 going into the eighth and when Scotland could again only score a single in nine they decided to call it a day.
Ewan later talked about struggling to get used to the ice conditions, something that several of the teams have cited as an issue so far.
Switzerland 7-8 Russia
USA 7-9 Czech Republic
Germany 11-5 China
Scotland 4-8 Sweden
Denmark 3-6 Canada
Russia 5-9 Germany
Sweden 8-6 USA
Norway 9-5 Japan
Standings after Day 1 (W-L)
2-0 Germany, Sweden
1-0 Canada, Czech Republic, Norway
0-1 China, Denmark, Japan, Scotland, Switzerland
Not the best of starts for Scotland but they were up against tough opposition on Saturday in the form of Eriksson’s Sweden.
Big end of the day went to Norway who scored a four against Japan.
Sunday was the second day of play at the World Men’s and saw Scotland face the two Pacific-Asia teams in the tournament – first up was Rui Liu and China on home ice.
That’s Scotland’s third player Duncan Fernie and skip Ewan MacDonald above.
This game saw a great comeback from the Scots, battling back from four down to twice level the game and force an extra end, but it wasn’t enough and they suffered defeat number two.
After a close first half that saw China 3-2 up at the break, the game then stepped up a gear. Duncan played a spectacular quadruple clearout in the sixth end (take a look here and scroll to 1:35:00 to see it) but the Chinese still managed to score a three and lead 6-2.
The game swung again in the eighth when a real guddle of stones in the house made life difficult for China – when Liu failed to remove some Scottish counters it was a steal of three after a measure and game on.
Twos were traded in the ninth and tenth but China picked up a three in the extra end when Liu hit out Ewan’s last stone which had finished slightly too open.
Sunday’s early results:
China 11-8 Scotland (EE)
Switzerland 9-4 Czech Republic
Sweden 5-7 Germany
Japan 9-6 Canada
Denmark 3-8 Norway
USA 6-5 Russia (EE)
Scotland’s second game on Sunday came against Japan skipped by Yusuke Morozumi.
With two defeats from two, Scotland were keen to not finish the opening weekend without a win but Morozumi and Japan had other ideas.
The Japanese took a two with the hammer in the first end and never really looked back from that initial advantage – Scotland were not able to even draw level at any point.
The sixth end was the real killer when Japan stole a two to take a 6-2 lead and although Scotland did keep in touch with a two of their own in eight, it was a three in nine that handed Scotland their third-straight loss.
Sunday’s late results:
Czech Republic 5-9 Norway
Denmark 5-6 Switzerland (EE)
Japan 9-4 Scotland
China 6-9 Canada
Standings after Day 2 (W-L)
3-0 Germany, Norway
2-1 Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden
1-2 China, Czech Republic, Russia, USA
0-3 Denmark, Scotland
Well, it goes without saying that the table does not make happy reading for Scotland as they are currently propping up the field with Denmark – not a situation many will have predicted.
Germany are the surprise package so far and Canada have already tasted an early defeat – we could be in for a really close week as teams fight for the playoffs.
Calling games on the third day of play ‘must-wins’ may seem a bit premature but if Scotland don’t pick up at least one win on Monday then you have to feel that their playoff hopes are already in serious jeopardy.
Switzerland (0700 UK time) and Denmark (1200) await for Ewan and his team on Day 3 – let’s hope it’s third day lucky for the Scots.
Sunday’s big end went to Norway again who scored another four, this time against the Czech Republic. In fact, Norway are the only team to have scored over a three in one end so far.
Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2014