Curling: Scots eye gold after edging Canada

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SCOTLAND’S men booked their place in tomorrow’s gold medal final of the World Junior Championships in Sochi, Russia, with an extra end 8-6 win over Canada in the ‘Page 1 v 2 play-off’.

Scotland took the early lead and went into the fifth-end break 2-1 up, but Canada made a major breakthrough when their skip, Matt Dunstone, executed a nice hit and stay to score three and take a 4-2 lead.

The Scots responded when their skip, Kyle Smith, had his own hit and stay, to score two in the seventh end, and level the game again. The Scots then nudged ahead in the eighth when Dunstone wrecked on a front guard, handing the Scots a steal of one point and a 5-4 lead.

Canada drew for two points in the ninth to re-take the lead, at 6-5, and, in the tenth the Scots looked set to win when Smith only had to produce a full hit on a Canadian stone to score two or more for his win. But, rather than hit the Canadian stone full-on, because of its protection, Smith could only nudge it to score one, level the score at 6-6 and force the extra end.

With his last stone of this end, Smith played a very tricky double take-out, leaving two of his own stones in the house, and when Dunstone was heavy and wide with his final draw, the Scots scored two points and booked their place in the final. This was the second time the Scots had beaten Canada by stealing in the extra end, having done the same in their round-robin 7-6 win.

Canada now go on to face Russia in today’s semi-final after they beat Sweden by 6-4 in the ‘Page 3 v 4 play-off game’.

Smith said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It was close all the way. We just over-swept my last otherwise we would have won it in ten.”

The attention now turns to the Scottish women and Hannah Fleming takes the next step in the defence of her title when she plays Japan in this morning’s ‘Page 1 v 2 game’, while Russia and the Czech Republic face each other in the ‘Page 3 v 4 game’.