Day 7 - Junior Women Playoffs

Scotland made it into the gold medal game after defeating Czech Republic Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Scotland’s women guaranteed themselves at least silver medals when they beat the Czech Republic by 6-5 in Friday evening’s Page Play-off in the World Junior Championships, to go directly to Sunday morning’s final.

After the Czech Republic stole single in the first end, Hannah Fleming and her team carved out a quick advantage, scoring three in the second end when they split the house early and the Czech fourth player Iveta Janatova wrecked with her last stone on the way in, leaving Fleming with a simple draw for three. After the Czechs blanked the third end, the Scots moved further ahead in the fourth, stealing a single shot when Janatova hit but rolled out of the house with her last. The Czechs closed up with two shots in the fifth to cut the Scottish lead to 4-3, but in a cagey second half, the Scots kept control.

The teams swapped singles in the sixth and seventh end, and Scotland scored another single in the eighth to move to a 6-4 lead. After this, the Czechs moved closer again, scoring another single in the ninth to cut the Scottish lead to 6-5. But the Scots had last stone advantage in the tenth, and a brilliant triple take-out and lie by Scottish second player Alice Spence cleared out the house, eventually allowing Fleming to hit and roll to blank the end and claim victory.

In the Page 3 v 4 Play-off, Sweden stole a single point in the tenth end for their 6-5 win when Russian skip Anna Sidorova’s last delicate draw came up just millimetres short.

Before that, Russia had enjoyed a lead of 4-1 at the halfway-mark, but Sweden’s Sara McManus and her team fought back strongly, scoring two in the sixth and stealing a single in the seventh to bring themselves right back into it.

The Russians could only score a single in the eighth and then a gentle tap-up by McManus in the ninth gave them two shots to level the game at 5-5. After this, the Swedes came out the better from a tense tenth end, and they now face the Czech Republic in the semi-final, with the winner of that game facing Scotland for gold medals, and the loser playing for bronze against Russia.

Afterwards, a delighted Fleming said, “that triple saved us I think, it was looking a wee bit messy. That was the biggest pressure game we’ve ever played together, and I couldn’t ask for more from my team. We wanted to be top five at least, but now, we won’t be happy with silver”.

Czech skip Zuzana Hajkova was gracious in defeat. “I don’t feel too disappointed because Scotland played some very nice shots. They played a take-out which won this game that was just perfect. We had a chance but they played amazing in the last end, and really good throughout the game. I would like to wish them good luck.”

She added, “of course we still have a chance of reaching the final and we are happy we are going to play against Sweden, because we won against them in the round robin. Against Sweden it was a much easier game than it was against Russia so we are glad we face them. I hope we are lucky and we know we can make it.”

After her game Swedish skip Sara McManus said, “what a game my girls played! I am impressed. We struggled in the beginning of the game but we are fighters and never give up. We took a time-out in the last end and dad Stuart (coach of the team) came down and told us that we should win with the first stone we put into the house. And we did”.

Junior Women’s Standings after Playoffs
1. Scotland 8-2 (play Gold medal Game)
2. Czech Republic 6-4 (play Semifinal)
2. Sweden 8-3 (play Semifinal)
4. Russia 7-4 (play Bronze medal game)
5. Japan 6-4
6. Canada 6-4
7. Norway 3-6
8. Switzerland 3-6
9. Italy 2-7 (relegated to 2013 EJCC)
10. USA 0-9

Women’s Semifinal at 18:00 CET – Saturday 10 March
Czech Republic v Sweden

Women’s Gold Game at 09:00 CET – Sunday 11 March
Scotland v winner of semifinal - Live Webcast on

Women’s Bronze Game at 09:00 CET – Sunday 11 March
Russia v loser of semifinal

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

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