30 October 2018

Around The Rinks #3

The latest in the world of curling

Marvellous Masters for Hasselborg

Who can stop Team Anna Hasselborg right now? Two Grand Slam wins, a final appearance in Suzhou and a Stockholm Ladies’ Cup to boot - it has been a stellar start to the season for the Swedish rink.

The Swedes’ victory at the Canadian Beef Masters in Nova Scotia over the weekend put the team top of both the YTD and overall world rankings, and in the driving seat for the European Championships taking place in Tallinn, Estonia, next month.

Team Hasselborg gained revenge on Team Rachel Homan in the final after their defeat in Suzhou, taking three stones in the final end to seal a tremendous 8-7 victory and the first major of the 2018-2019 season.

“Winning two Slams is huge for us,” said the rink’s third, Sara McManus. “It was huge winning the last one, so this was amazing, especially because we did a great job bouncing back from the tiebreakers and just going straight up. That was so much fun.”

Swiss team set for second leg

It was confirmed following the Canadian Beef Masters that Team Yannick Schwaller will be representing Switzerland in Omaha as a result of Team Peter de Cruz sitting top of the YTD rankings.

Skip Yannick Schwaller is son of Christof Schwaller, who won an Olympic bronze medal in Salt Lake City, and nephew to Andi Schwaller, who skipped his rink to European gold in 2006.

Team De Cruz have been on the podium in the three previous years but are yet to claim gold at the European Championships. However, the Geneva-based rink will have their chance in Tallinn to achieve that.

Omaha draw revealed tomorrow

With seven weeks until the second leg of the Curling World Cup in Omaha, the draw is set to be announced on Wednesday and some mouthwatering match-ups are expected.

Many of the rinks have already been published – which you can see on this site, with some returning Curling World Cup teams from Suzhou, like Team Niklas Edin and Team Satsuki Fujisawa, and new rinks, such as Team Thomas Ulsrud and Team Jamie Sinclair.

Epping completes epic achievement

Elsewhere in Nova Scotia, it was another Suzhou winner who fell at the final hurdle. Team John Epping claimed a 7-4 victory over Team Kevin Koe in the men’s Canadian Beef Masters final, which marked an outstanding career highlight for the Ontario rink.

The Masters title meant Team Epping completed a career Grand Slam by winning all the four majors (Masters, The National, Canadian Open and Players’) and the skip was full of praise for his team.

“It feels awesome,” Epping told the Grand Slam of Curling website. “We played pretty solid all week and I finally really started to get a hot hand today. I was able to play pretty good. The boys have played great all week and it was my time to show up today.”

Strong showing from Japan and Korea

Team Yuta Matsumura’s strong preparation for Omaha continued at the Kamloops Crown of Curling at the weekend, when the Japanese rink for Omaha qualified through the ‘A’ event, before falling 8-7 in the semi-finals to Team Josh Barry.

It was the same story for Team Gim Un-Chi, who also qualified for the play-offs via the ‘A’ event. The Korean rink were unbeaten until losing in the final by a single stone (6-5) to Team Chelsea Brandwood.

And speaking of Korea...

Pacific-Asia Championships this week

This weekend South Korea will be hosting the 2018 Pacific-Asia Championships in Gangneung, where they will be defending both the men and women’s titles.

The top two countries from each event will qualify for the 2019 World Championships in Canada and Denmark respectively.

From British Columbia in Canada to Gangneung in South Korea – that’s the 7,528km commute facing Team Matsumura, who will be flying the flag for Japan and looking to claim their third title of the season.

Also representing Japan are Team Satsuki Fujisawa, who will aim to regain the trophy they won back in 2015 and go one better than the silver medal they collected at last year’s championship.

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