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2018 Women's World Championships
#1
Yesterday saw the start of these Championships in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. There are 13 teams competing - Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and USA. The round-robin games will be completed on Friday 23 March and, apparently to accommodate the unusual number of entries, there will be 2 additional games before the Semi-finals. The first 2 will automatically qualify for the Semi-finals, but 3rd place will play 6th place and 4th place will play 5th place to decide the other 2 Semi-finalists. (I don't really know why the organisers have to make things complicated, but they obviously feel the need to justify their existence - and huge expense accounts!) The Medal matches will take place on Sunday 25 March.

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Scotland are represented by Alternate Sophie Jackson, Lead Vicky Wright (Vice-skip), Second Alice Spence, Third Jennifer Dodds and Skip Hannah Fleming, who are coached by Nancy Smith. They are a fairly inexperienced team at the top level who defeated Eve Muirhead's team in a play-off to determine Scotland's representatives, although Fleming was Junior World Champion in 2012.

Their inexperience showed in their first 3 games - losing to Russia 4-8, to Italy 6-7 after an extra end and to USA 6-8. Tomorrow they play Czech Republic and Switzerland, then Germany and Canada on Tuesday.
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#2
What!!!! No Eve Muirhead??? I would like to officially protest this scandal!!!
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#3
Is Eve looking to a tv punditry career now after her stint on C4 Paralympics coverage?
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#4
Scotland were never in the hunt against Czech Republic, eventually losing by 4-11 after only 7 ends. More of the same followed against Switzerland, losing this time by 2-10 also after 7 ends. Losing ends of 3s and 4s in each game contributed to a dismal day's curling for the Scots.

A new day dawned today though with a spring in the step for the first day of Spring. Germany were the target and the Scottish Women found their form with an 8-5 victory to record their first win. Their evening game against unbeaten Canada has just started and every grain of confidence and ability will be tested.

Tomorrow's games are against Japan and China and are now in the must-win category.

Poor Eve. She was dumped out of the Scottish Qualification Play-offs a week after returning from Pyeongchang. Some would blame jetlag, but the truth is that Eve and her team have not been at their best recently. In the 2 Play-off games played, Eve was 1-7 down and 1-5 down after the first 3 ends, making life extremely difficult for herself. She'll get over it and it will do her no harm to realise that she has to do more than just turn up.
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#5
Canada remained unbeaten after Scotland lost 6-8 to them in a tight game. The Scots played well and actually led 6-4 after 6 ends. They then lost 3 shots in the following end but were always in with a chance, just failing to draw the shot with the last stone to force an extra end.

Scotland then dominated Japan in this morning's session, running out 10-7 winners with 1 end to play to record their 2nd win. They are playing China just now and are currently 2-0 up after 2 ends. Scotland have only 1 game tomorrow - against Denmark - and play leaders Sweden and 3rd placed Korea on Friday. There is a very slim chance for progression as the teams above them have a difficult finish as well, but it would totally depend on Scotland winning all their remaining games - highly unlikely in my opinion.
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#6
Scotland survived the game against China, winning 8-7 after an absolutely perfect last-stone draw from Hannah Fleming with China lying 3 shots. However Scotland lost by the same score to Denmark, this time to a last-stone draw from Denmark. Scotland now can't finish in the top half of the table, rendering tomorrow's games against Sweden and Korea meaningless as far as they are concerned.

Korea still have a vested interest in getting as many wins as possible as they are close to automatic qualification for the Play-off games. Canada and Sweden have already qualified, probably in 1st and 2nd places as they have a big advantage over the chasing pack.
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#7
Just done a bit of channel hopping and found this live on Eurosport. Sweden v Russia in the semis.
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#8
It'll come as no great surprise to learn that a so-far below-par Scottish team managed to beat Olympic Champions Sweden by 8-5, leading all the way through the game. Again the Scots rose to the occasion in their second Friday game by defeating Olympic Silver Medallists Korea 6-5 with an inch-perfect last stone draw in the extra end. Far too late of course, but I'm sure these two wins would have been immensely satisfying.

Frustratingly, and probably annoyingly, a win during the week against USA would have seen the Scots qualify for the later stages. They finished with 5 wins, with USA and Czech Republic qualifying on 6 wins. In the Qualifying Games, USA defeated Korea by 10-3 after scoring 7 shots (YES, SEVEN!!!) in the 9th end. I'm not exactly sure how the Koreans allowed that to happen, but obviously there were big mistakes made during the end. In the other game, Russia beat Czech Republic 7-3, losing only one end.

The Semi-finals are now Sweden v Russia and Canada v USA. The Bronze Medal game is at 10.00 tomorrow and the Gold Medal match is at 15.00.
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#9
After the Semi-finals, the 2 losing teams played for the Bronze Medal, the game being won by Russia who beat USA by 6 shots to 5 in a game where the lead changed hands 6 times.

The 2 winning teams, Canada and Sweden, played for the Gold Medal with the Canadians coming out on top 7-6 after an extra end.

Scotland's report card reads "tried hard but could do better" as they finished 9th out of 13 - a reasonable attempt for a new team at the very top level.
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#10
Have Canada got their mojo back then or was this a different team to those that lost in the Olympics?
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