Day 1 Review - Junior Men

Swedish Skip, Rasmus Wrana, led his team to victory over Norway Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Sweden, hosts and the defending champion nation, were among the opening day winners as men’s round-robin action got underway at the World Junior Curling Championships 2012 in Östersund, Sweden on Saturday.

The Swedes, skipped by Rasmus Wranå, carved out what appeared to be a surprisingly easy 9-2 win over Norway’s Markus Høiberg in just six ends. Afterwards, Wranå said, “I feel great that we won. We were playing good and they didn’t play so well. You always want your opponent’s skip to be forced into playing hard shots and he made a few mistakes. We stole a lot of points, but we played well and I think that is what made their skip make some mistakes.”

Making their debut appearance in Europe together as a team, Canada, skipped by Brendan Bottcher also opened with a strong win, beating China’s Xiuyue Ma by 8-4, thanks largely to a successful hit and stay to score five in the sixth end of their game. Also making his debut in Europe, Stephen Dropkin led USA to a 9-4 victory over the Czech Republic. As he came off the ice, USA skip Dropkin simply said, “that’s a great way to start the tournament”.

Other opening session winners were Scotland’s Kyle Smith, who led his team to a 7-3 win over Finland’s Iiro Sipola in a game that saw the Scots move into a clear lead with scores in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth ends; and Switzerland’s Dominik Märki, who beat the Czech Republic by 9-4 scoring three point in each of the fifth and seventh ends.

After his win, Scottish skip Smith said, “that’s my first game for Scotland and we weren’t really sure what to expect. It was a bit of a shaky start but we played it well enough”, while Switzerland’s Märki said, “we normally play a very offensive game, so we are very aggressive with our stones. Here we were always a little too long, so perhaps we have to judge the ice a little better against other teams”.

While all five winning skips were pleased with their victories, it was clear afterwards that their main reaction was relief. USA’s Dropkin spoke for them all when he said, “everyone is just nervous coming into this tournament and it’s just nice to follow through with what we’ve been trying to do. Having our first game under our belt is really relieving”, while Canada’s Bottcher added, “it was nice to come out the first game and play well”.

The men now play their next two round-robin sessions on Sunday.

Men’s Standings
Canada 1-0
Scotland 1-0
Sweden 1-0
Switzerland 1-0
USA 1-0
China 0-1
Czech Republic 0-1
Finland 0-1
Italy 0-1
Norway 0-1
*During the round robin teams with the same W-L record will be ranked alphabetically

Curling fans around the world can follow live coverage of the event on http://www.wjcc2012.worldcurling.net and on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV In a new venture for this event, the action is being streamed globally through YouTube.

The live coverage and schedule is available along with news, live scores, galleries and video highlights on the event website: http://www.wjcc2012.worldcurling.net

Read additional comments from the players here: http://wjcc2012.worldcurling.net/news

Event Facebook Page: Hit ‘like’ to keep updated: http://www.facebook.com/wjcc2012sweden

Twitter hashtag for the event: #wjcc2012

The World Junior Curling Championships 2013 will take place in Sochi, Russia, from 28 February-10 March.

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