Scotland women to play for gold medal, Russia to face Japan in Semi-final

Scotland lead, Abi Brown, helped Scotland reach the gold medal game Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

For the second year in a row, skip Hannah Fleming and her Scottish team will play for gold medals at the World Junior Curling Championships.

Scotland defeated Japan in the junior women’s 1 v 2 Page play-off game in a tight 4-3 battle, where no more than one point was scored in an end.

Japan had an opportunity to score a possible three points in the seventh end but Scotland skip, Hannah Fleming, corner froze onto Japan’s shot stone in the four-foot. Japanese skip Sayaka Yoshimura made an open draw to the button for her team’s single point and tie the game at 2-2.

Japan made sure it was not an easy task for Scotland to make the final. While they did not ever take the lead in the game, Japan was always tied or trailing by a point.

In the tenth end, Yoshimura delivered Japan’s last stone to the side of the button and had one stone in the twelve foot for insurance. Fleming made a hit for one point and the victory.

On her last shot, Scottish skip, Hannah Fleming, said: “The ice was pretty straight so I was thinking 'don't put it out, don't put it out'. It came up well, so I'm really chuffed.” Summing up the game, Fleming added: “Japan played outstandingly in the whole game. We just managed to keep with them the whole way. We managed to put them under a lot of pressure in some ends, and we always seemed to draw for our ones - they forced our one but we always forced them too.”

Scotland, the defending champions, will once again head to the gold medal game. Fleming hopes the experience of being in the final before will give them the upper hand. She said: “We've been there before so we know what it's going to be like, the pressure etc, so hopefully it's going to give us an advantage. We won't be thinking about the pressure. We've done so well this week that, no matter what happens now, we'll go home happy with our performance, but we definitely want that gold.”

In the junior women’s 3 v 4 Page play-off game, hosts Russia defeated the Czech Republic 4-2 and will now play against Japan in the sole semi-final.

Russia took control of the game in the fourth end when fourth, Yulia Portunova, made a tap back around a tight centre guard to sit three points and put pressure on the Czech fourth, Iveta Janatova. The Czech attempted to hit and roll into the button to sit shot, but Russia stole two points in the fourth end to make the score 3-1.

After the Czech Republic blanked the next three ends, Russia stole another point in the eighth end to make the score 4-1. Janatova attempted to come around a guard with hack weight for a tap for two points but she was outside and tapped her own stone out of the house to give Russia one point. After another blank in the ninth end, Russia ran the Czech Republic out of stones to take the 4-2 victory.

Russia coach Anders Kraupp was happy with the win, but felt the girls have played better games. He said: "This is curling so it's not that easy to be perfect all the time and now they were playing not that good at all and made some technical mistakes as well. But there is always things we have to improve and we can't expect them to be perfect all the time. They were just perfect enough."

Kraupp, who is from Sweden, said the Russian team is thrilled to be playing in their home nation: "For the girls, for sure, this is very special. They love to have the home audience watching them. Some of them have their parents and boyfriends and so on here. I think it means a lot for them actually."

Russia will now play Japan in the only women’s semi-final game which will determine who will play Scotland in the gold medal game. The loser will play the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game, both on Sunday at 13:00 (MSK).

On the men’s side, Canada will play Russia in the semi-final game with the winner going on to play Scotland in the gold medal game. The loser will play Sweden in the bronze medal game.

Both semi-final games will be played on March 9 at 19:00 (MSK).

RESULTS

Women’s Play-offs: Czech Republic 2, Russia 4; Japan 3, Scotland 4.

Standings after Women’s Play-offs:
Scotland won 9, lost 1
Russia 7-4
Japan 6-4
Czech Republic 6-5
5. Sweden 5-5
6. Denmark 5-5
7. USA 4-5
8. Switzerland 3-6
9. Canada 3-6
10. Norway 1-8

Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of the event on the event website http://wjcc2013.worldcurling.net and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV.

The live coverage schedule is available along with news, live scores, shot by shot and galleries on the event website: http://wjcc2013.worldcurling.net

World Junior Curling Championships Facebook Page: Hit ‘like’ to keep updated: http://www.facebook.com/WorldJuniorCurlingChampionships

Twitter hashtag for the event: #wjcc2013

The World Junior Curling Championships 2014 will take place in Flims, Switzerland, from 26 February to 5 March 2014 in the Waldhaus Curling Arena.

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