Big ends galore at worlds

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- They are not the types of scores you would expect to see in Golden Gals zone playdowns, let alone at a world championship.

Twenty times so far at this women's world curling event, teams have scored at least 10 points in a game.

Four times, teams have posted 11 points, four more times they've put up 12 points and Canada, skipped by Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones, actually scored 13 on one occasion. Teams have scored nine points 11 times.

In yesterday's 11-4 win over Italy's Diana Gaspari, Canada recorded two five-enders -- one in the first and one in the seventh -- a feat that surprised even Jones, who normally pays little attention to scoreboards.

"It is kinda weird," she said. "I don't know if I ever have done that before. It's not something I usually think about. We actually had opportunities for big ends every end but (Gaspari) made some great ones."

It is certainly not surprising to see big ends here this week as players grapple with difficult ice conditions. But they've been occurring in almost every game.

There have been 18 ends where teams have scored four or more, including three five-enders and a six-ender through 13 draws.

"A lot of it is ice conditions," explained Jones. "The ice does not allow for consistently great shots to be made, so you are going to see misses out there.

"And the European teams play a lot more aggressive than a lot of the Canadian teams. There are definitely more rocks in play and you are going to get bigger scores."

GOING FOR GOLD: Sweden's Anette Norberg has a silver medal and three bronze medals in her six previous trips to the world championship and there's no question she has her sights set on gold this time around.

At 9-0 through yesterday's play, and with games against Switzerland and Denmark remaining, Norberg has a good chance of going undefeated in the round-robin and taking a big step closer to that first world title.

The team has already clinched a berth in Saturday's 1-vs-2 Page playoff game against the United States and is one win away from the world final.

"We are satisfied," Norberg said after yesterday's key 8-7 victory over Scotland. "We were battling the ice and the stones a bit early on but we are playing quite well for the moment.

"Our goal is to take the gold here in Scotland so we are going to try as hard as we can to get it. I just need one more colour to complete the collection."

Norberg's team of Eva Lund, Cathrine Lindahl and Anna Bergstrom has not yet been tapped to represent Sweden at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, but it's a mere formality.

"There is no question of which team will be picked," Norberg said.

SMILES RETURN: After days of looking like they were about go through root canal surgery, the Canadian team has finally started to let loose a little.

The Jones foursome had the evening draw off on Tuesday and went out for dinner and some time on the town.

They looked far more relaxed and comfortable than usual arriving at the arena yesterday morning and showed it in an 11-4 win over Italy. They also played well in a costly 10-7 loss to the United States.

"At the start of the week it was hard to almost believe it was the world championship because it was so different from playing in Canada," Jones said. "But we had a reality check and we know where we are and what we want to do."

"We were a little frustrated at the beginning of the week but we are having a lot of fun now and it's making everything a lot easier. We are at a world championship, representing our country and it doesn't get better than that."


Videos

Photos