World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2015 Session 7

Russia are the first team to qualify for the play-offs Photo: WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik

Russia are the first team to qualify for the play-off stages of World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2015 being played at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.

Wins against China in the morning and Finland in the afternoon session secured their place in the play-offs, as they kept their unbeaten record intact.

In the afternoon session of play, Russia picked up their seventh successive win, against hosts Finland.

Russia took the lead in the second end after a missed takeout by Finland skip Markku Karjalainen let Russia skip Andrey Smirnov draw into the house for two points.

Russia then scored six points from the next three ends, including a score of four points in the fifth end.

Finland eventually conceded after seven ends of play with the final score 9-3, securing Russia’s place in the play-offs.

Afterwards, Russia coach Anton Batugin said: “It was our minimum plan to qualify for the play-offs. We already knew that we would qualify before the game and that helped. Our experience was a big psychological advantage over the Finnish team today.”

Looking towards the play-offs he said: “The play-offs are a new competition and we have to start again. We’ve won six tournaments this season - we participated in eight and won six, so I think we’re good enough, we can win.”

China maintained their position in second place with an 8-3 win against Germany, the highlight being a score of four points in the fourth end.

Canada also kept their play-off hopes alive as a series of steals, including three points in the fifth and seventh ends, forced Norway to concede to game after seven ends of play, giving Canada their fourth win of the week with the score 9-2.

Scotland and Slovakia went into their afternoon game both looking to escape the relegation battle, with the three bottom teams from this year’s Championship being relegated to the World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event.

It was the Eastern European team who took an early lead, with Slovakia up 4-0 after three ends.

Scotland then went ahead in the game after scoring two points in the fourth end before following that up with a steal of two points in the fifth end and a single point steal in the sixth end.

This wasn’t enough however as Slovakia took single points from the last two ends to win 6-5.

The only other session seven game saw Sweden put a dent in USA’s play-off hopes, as they picked up their second win of the Championship.

They needed an extra end to do so however, which came down to a measure.

To their delight they, a Swedish stone was declared as the counting stone, taking the one point needed for their 7-6 win.

After their loss, USA third Stephen Emt said: "I think we were beaten by two quality opponents but I think we can do better than we did today. The whole team percentages were down a little bit and we expect more from ourselves. But take nothing away from Finland and Sweden, they came out and they beat us. So we’ve just got to keep on going, keep on improving, keep on practicing and get the weights and the broom down and come back tomorrow."

RESULTS
Session 7:
Finland 3, Russia 9; Germany 3, China 8; Canada 9, Norway 2; Scotland 5, Slovakia 6; Sweden 7, USA 6.

Standings after 7 sessions of play (W-L):
1. Russia 7-0 (Qualified for play-offs)
2. China 5-2
3. Canada 4-3
3. Finland 4-3
3. USA 4-3
6. Slovakia 3-4
7. Germany 2-5
7. Norway 2-5
7. Scotland 2-5
7. Sweden 2-5

Note: Rankings are determined by rule C9 of the World Curling Federation's ‘The Rules of Curling and Rules of Competition’. Details can be obtained at http://www.worldcurling.org/rules-and-regulations

Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldWheelchairCurlingChampionships
Twitter: @worldcurling
Hashtags: #wwhcc2015 and #curling

Paralympic Winter Games 2018
This Championship will be the first opportunity for nations to gather qualification points for the Wheelchair Curling competition at the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Korea in 2018.
For more information about Pyeongchang 2018, visit:
http://pyeongchang2018.com
http://www.worldcurling.org/curling-at-the-paralympics

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