Sunday, April 01, 2012

Basel - edition1

In spite of the gorgeous spring weather I was drawn into the arena to watch this afternoon's games at the St.Jakobshalle and what a treat we had - unless you were Scottish.The first thing to notice was that, for a World Championships in Europe and without Canada on the ice, it was actually quite busy and noisy. We had Scottish and Swiss fans in full voice as well as the Musketeers from Edinburgh supporting Peter de Boer and the New Zealand team.

Scotland got off to a bad start when they lost the last stone draw to decide the hammer, and then a couple of great shots from the Danish skip, Rasmus Stjerne, won them a 3 at the first end. After 3 ends it was 5-1 to Denmark and it looked that the game could be over early, but all credit to Tom Brewster and team, they took the game to the last end, although by that time they were looking for a 3 to tie it all up.

But the performance of the session came from New Zealand. Against Thomas Ulsrud's European Champions from Norway they played superb stuff with Peter de Boer shooting 93% as the Kiwis won 7-4. In their last game Peter had played 53% and so it was a sterling comeback to produce a series of great shots and have Norway struggling all through the game to hang on to the New Zealanders coat-tails. Elsewhere the Czechs shocked the home team and Sweden held on to win against a Chinese team who were coming back from being 0-6 down.

Of course this was only a snapshot of the games played so far as by the end of today all the teams will have played 3 games. Of the 4 teams that have already played 3 games none are undefeated with Scotland and Denmark on 2-1 and New Zealand and Norway on 1-2. Tonight Canada and Sweden will try and go clear at the top of the table as they have both so far played 2 and won 2. Canada play the winless USA and Sweden play the Czech Republic.

Elsewhere there have been comments about the sterility of tactics in the modern game with it being too predictable. That was reflected at the start of today's session when all 4 first stones were top of the 4 foot and all the next stones were corner guards, but each game then took on a character of its own and all developed along different lines.

One little incident showed that even top players can get it wrong. It was Czech Republic against Switzerland and it was all tied at 2-2. Both sides had a stone in the 12 foot and it appeared that the Czechs were possibly lying shot as the Swiss appeared to call for a split on their own stone to make a 2 out of it rather than assuming they were lying shot and drawing for what might after all just be 1. The shot was played a bit heavy and the split was missed at which point the Czech third kicked his own stone away - but this was while the Swiss third was still looking at his own stone to see if it was shot or not and had not conceded the shot to the Czechs!! So it was one to the Swiss and a 3-2 lead but that was in fact the last shot they scored!!!

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