Smith's Scots make life hard

Reuters - Thu, 08 Apr 22:52:00 2010

Warwick Smith booked his place in the World Championship play-offs but Scotland will go for gold the hard way after slumping to defeat to Switzerland in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Scotland's lead Ross Hepburn (L-R), second Craig Wilson, third David Smith and skip Warwick Smith look on during their game against Japan at the World Men's Curling Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo - 0

The Scottish skip confirmed his place in the top four of the knock-out stages with an extra end 7-6 victory over Japan in his penultimate match but went down 9-7 to Switzerland in his final round robin clash.

Smith and his rink, which against Switzerland featured David Murdoch, who skipped Great Britain at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February, will now face the USA in the third versus fourth play-off.

Should Smith and co exact revenge on the USA, skipped by Pete Fenson, after going down 7-5 in their group match on Wednesday, the loser of the page one versus two clash between Canada and Norway would await.

Against Japan, Scotland were in the early ascendancy after a cagey opening and led 3-2 at the half-time break, only for a double from skip Makoto Tsuruga to hand the impetus to Japan.

Smith bounced back with a single in the eighth end and a double in the ninth but Tsuruga was not to be outdone and a replied with a double of his own to force an extra end, only for the Scots to narrowly prevail.

In a topsy-turvy clash with Switzerland, Smith and Stefan Karnusian exchanged two doubles apiece in the first four ends and Scotland did have a narrow one-shot lead with two ends remaining.

Smith was safe in the knowledge that victory over Switzerland, as well as a Canadian victory over Norway in their final match would be good enough for second place.

But a double in the ninth and a single in the tenth from Karnusian ensured Scotland finished with eight wins and three losses and in fourth place.

It proved to be academic as a single in the final end for Norwegian skip Torger Nergard handed him a 9-8 victory over Canadian rival Kevin Koe and the momentum ahead of their page one clash.

Men's World Championships:

Playoff – Saturday 10.45am LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) & Eurosport Player

Semi-Final – Saturday 4.45pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) & Eurosport Player

Bronze Medal Match - Sunday 10am LIVE on Eurosport Player

Final – Sunday 4.15pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) & Eurosport Player

More than the Games / Reuters

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