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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lessons from Latvia

I'm going to attack recent curling finals non-chronologically in honour of Quentin Tarantino.  "How could Vincent Vega get shot, then show up later in the movie?  That made no sense" my linear thinking friends said.  "Why would Tarantino hire Travolta and resurrect his career?" To this question, I have no answer.

When I first heard the Womens World Curling Championship would be held in Latvia, I immediately thought "why would they go to the homeland of Dr. Doom?"  Then I realized I was mistaken and Latvia doesn't exist in the Marvel Universe, and barely exists in the WCF.  The host team did manage one victory over Switzerland on the final day of competition.  

Part II of Brier Final Weekend will be coming soon.  Honest.

Gold Medal Game - Sigfridsson - Sweden vs. Muirhead - Scotland

The dominant young Rachel Homan rink was unable to carry on their performance from the Scotties to the Worlds, though they were very close.  If not for a fraction of an inch, it could have been Canada in this game.  An 8-3 record and Bronze Medal was perhaps disappointing for this team but a fine showing given their age and their experience.  They will know what to expect next time and everyone, fans and players, all are betting on the Homan squad to showcase at the International stage again very soon.

Sweden was held to a repeat Silver, unable to better their performance from last year.  Scotland and their skip, the previously young phenom Eve Muirhead came away with Gold.  Thank you to for having them at +450 at the beginning of the week.  

1st End
Scotand draws into rings.  Sweden hits.  Blank.  Yawn.  Maybe teams should just play 9 ends?

Back from commercial: Is that the best wide cityscape shot of Riga they could get?  Reminds me of Fort McMurray.  

2nd End
Following a miss by Scotland third Anna Sloan, Sweden third Christina Bertrup draws around a corner guard to sit two on her first shot (green line).  Scotland chooses to play a freeze rather than a runback on their tight guard (blue line):

Sweden is Yellow

The danger of the runback is, if missed or even if made but the promoted red stone leaves the rings, Sweden can draw around the corner again and set up a possible three with center of the house open.  

Eventually, Eve faces this with her last shot:

They are in danger of Sweden taking an early lead with two, three or even four if this shot isn't made correctly.  They could chose to guard and leave Sweden a draw for two.  Danger if the guard isn't made correctly that they might be able to pick out the red with an out-turn, but looked very difficult and would likely not gain additional point(s).  They instead chose to play a hit on the top yellow, in an attempt to sit two and hope the top yellow spins out and perhaps doubles the other yellow currently behind the corner.  This is poor decision and much more dangerous call that could result in leaving a double for three points.  As it turned out, the yellow jammed on the far yellow, leaving it second shot and Sweden had a hit for two.  2-0

3rd end.                       
Scotland has a difficult shot for two (which may not have been makeable) and is held to one.  2-1 Sweden with hammer. 

4th end.
Sweden stays aggressive, choosing to come around for second shot behidn a center guard on second Maria Wennerstroem's first and they look to be in good shape.  Scotland then misses a run back, and Sweden is licking their chops. Unfortunately they make a foolish call and chose to draw to the open side, actually ending up fourth shot:

Sweden is Yellow

There was very little room for error with this shot as anything above the tee leaves a hit and roll and a foot past the tee and they sit fourth rather than third.  I would have preferred they hit the open rock if this is their call, but frankly a draw around centre, either with the inturn or a tap on their own with the out turn, will put the most pressue on Scotland and leave less chance for them to escape.  Eventually, Sweden has a chance at a difficult double to score three or possibly four, but Maria Prytz rubs the guard and surrenders a steal of two.  Huge swing of possibly 6 points.

5th end.
Sweden could have chosen to come around on skips (sorry, fourth's) first but instead chose a difficult double peel (green line), trying to catch their top yellow AND push it back into the shot stone AND keep it in the rings (all looked unlikely and very difficult).  Sweden would have had a better chance to score two by drawing (blue line). 

Sweden is Yellow

Scotland then chooses to draw open side (green line) rather than around the centre (blue line) on their last stone, leaving Sweden an open shot to the four foot for one point.  An opportunity missed by Scotland I believe that had little risk (ok, maybe leaving a raise double, plus roll into the rings for two, but really?). They now have hammer and are tied at the break.


6th end.  Scotland held to one.

7th end. Sweden held to one after missing a difficult hit for two.

8th end. Sweden keeps hitting (and trying a long roll) on Scotland's second shot in wings when they could have chosen to come around their centre guard, including on (fourth) Maria's first.  She actually makes a great roll but Eve is able to hit and stick to sit two.  Sweden attempts a freeze but comes short and leaves Scotland this:

Scotland is Red

They could chose a draw for two (83% odds) or a delicate hit for possible 3 (93% odds). Vic asks and both Russ and Linda suggest they would play the shot for 3.  They would be playing a difficult shot that could result in a steal or single to gain only a 10% advantage.  Doesn't appear to be a smart risk to me, but Eve in fact misses the draw and their odds drop to roughly 63%.                                      

9th end.  No real trouble for Scotland and Sweden is forced to one.  Tied coming home.

10th end.  Sweden has a chance but Maria is heavy and her final shot doesn't curl up enough, leaving enough of shot stone open for a hit by Eve to win her first and Scotland's second World Womens Championship.


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