Curling: Scots edge out USA to reach world semi-final

SCOTLAND'S medal hopes at this year's Capital One World Men's Curling Championship were still alive yesterday afternoon, as skip Warwick Smith led his men into a semi-final against Norway with a 5-4 extra end win over USA in the Page play-off game in Italy.

On Friday evening, Canada beat Norway by 11-5 in the Page game between the teams ranked first and second to go straight to today's final and to push Norway into the semi. The Norwegians were due to face the Scotland team of lead Ross Hepburn, second Craig Wilson, third David Smith and skip Warwick Smith in last night's semi-final.

The Scotland v USA play-off game was a cagey affair, with both Scotland and USA blanking ends. USA used their last-stone advantage to open the scoring with a single in the second. However, the Scots responded with a single of their own in the fourth.

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USA skip Pete Fenson was heavy with his last stone in the fifth and this gave the Scots a breakthrough steal of one, and a 2-1 lead. Good Scottish play forced USA to take a single in the sixth, but, after blanking the seventh, Scottish third David Smith was heavy with his first stone in the eighth, and this eventually led to Scottish skip Warwick Smith having to draw for one, instead of scoring the two they were working hard to achieve.

A tactical error by the Scots allowed USA to hit for two in the ninth and then Warwick Smith had another good draw in the tenth to level the game at 4-4 and force the extra end.

In the extra end, the Scots had a couple of counters in the four-foot ring behind cover, and eventually USA's Pete Fenson was heavy with his final shot to run through wide and long and give Scotland a steal of two and their place in the semi-final.

The USA will now contest for the bronze medal tomorrow morning against whichever of Norway or Scotland loses the semi-final.

After the game Warwick Smith said: "I was just wondering how many times we had to win it!

"We had total control and gave it back, total control and gave it back. It was just a nonsense, we had some slack shots we should never have had.

"But it was a gritty performance in the extra end and we played it well".

Speaking about the ninth, when they gave up a two, he said: "The guys were anxious to get my rock close, and we didn't need it close, we should have let it curl, then we would have forced the one."