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2019 World Mixed Doubles Championships
After a few days' Easter holiday and a few days trying unsuccessfully to get onto this site to post various stuff, I've finally managed to put something together for the Mixed Doubles. As if that wasn't difficult enough, this tournament has 48 entrants to tell you about and then the World Seniors is also on at the same venue - the Sormarka Arena, Stavanger, Norway. I'll concentrate on the Mixed Doubles meanwhile and play catch-up on the Seniors whenever I can. Thankfully for me, next season's Mixed Doubles Championships will be restricted to 20 teams! Better late than never, I suppose.

2019 World Mixed Doubles
Group A: Belarus, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Romania, Sweden and Ukraine
Group B: Austria, Brazil, Guyana, Hungary, Netherlands, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and Turkey
Group C: Australia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Nigeria and Wales
Group D: Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Scotland and Slovakia
Group E: England, Finland, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and New Zealand
Group F: Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and United States
Each group plays a round robin and at the end of the round robin, there will be a ranking for first, second and third position in each group. The top two teams in each group qualify directly for the round of 16, as well as the four third-ranked teams with the best Draw Shot Challenge result.

For Kosovo, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine, this event will be their first time competing at a World Curling Federation event. With all these new teams with no experience at this level there is bound to be some extravagant scoring. Scores of more than 10 shots are commonplace with 20-0 and 18-0 being the biggest hammerings to date.

Wales are represented by Laura Beever and Garry Coombs and Scotland by Gina Aitken and Scott Andrews. In Group E, England have Anna Fowler and her brother, Ben, playing against Ireland's Louise Kerr and John Wilson.

Results so far for the Home Nations are Scotland 14 Belgium 1, Qatar 5 England 12, Ireland 5 Finland 8, Austria 5 Wales 6 (after an extra end), all on Saturday. Sunday's results were England 7 New Zealand 5, Kazakhstan 12 Ireland 4, Mexico 4 Scotland 15, Wales 8 France 4, Scotland 9 Lithuania 3. Today's games were Saudi Arabia 1 England 9, Ireland 2 Korea 13, Nigeria 4 Wales 10, Slovakia 2 Scotland 10, England 8 Ireland 2.

Generally so far so good, with Wales top of Group C with 3 wins out of 3, Scotland equal 1st in Group D, with Estonia, Germany and Norway, all on 4 wins out of 4 and England equal 1st in Group E with Korea on 4 wins out of 4. Only Ireland have to open their account, having played 4 games, also in Group E.
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Yesterday's results were Wales 3 Italy 12, Scotland 8 Germany 5, Saudi Arabia 2 Ireland 14 and England 9 Korea 4. In this morning's games, Scotland lost 6-8 to Estonia and Wales lost 2-9 to China.

Wales sit in 3rd equal place in Group C with Australia and Czech Republic on 3 wins out of 5, behind China and Italy on 4 wins. Scotland in Group D are 2nd equal on 5 wins out of 6 alongside Estonia, both behind Norway on 6 wins. England lead Group E with 5 wins out of 5, ahead of Kazakhstan and Korea on 4 wins. There are still no guaranteed qualifiers from the Groups, but these 3 Home Nations have put themselves in strong positions. Unfortunately Ireland have only 1 win in England's Group and need some divine intervention to help them out.

The crunch game later today will be Kazakhstan v England, with equally crunchy games tomorrow for Scotland against Norway followed by Wales against Czech Republic.
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At lunchtime Wales lost to China 2-9, followed this afternoon by Ireland losing to New Zealand by 4-8. In England's crunch game, they dominated the early stages to run out 11-5 winners over Kazakhstan and guarantee themselves a qualification place with 6 wins out of 6. Wales scored 5 shots in the 1st end to ease to a 9-5 win over Croatia a few minutes ago to give themselves a chance of also qualifying for the next stage.

Tomorrow England play Finland, a win giving them a 100% record in the round robin, but a defeat will help Finland through, and Ireland play Qatar in a bottom-of-table clash. Then Scotland play Norway in a game where the losers might miss out on the next stage with Estonia and Germany waiting on any slip-up, followed by Wales v Czech Republic in a must-win game for both teams, as they both share the same record of 4 wins with Australia and China.
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England lost their 1st game 6-7 against Finland this morning after an extra end, but still qualified in 1st place in their Group and being ranked 6th overall. Meantime Ireland beat newcomers Qatar 9-3, but still finished in 6th place in their Group. Scotland also needed an extra end in their game to win 7-6 against Norway for both teams to go through, with Scotland ranked 14th overall. For some unknown reason, Wales suffered a 2-15 hammering from Czech Republic and lost the chance to progress to the last 16.

The games to decide the Quarter-finalists are New Zealand v Sweden, Australia v Switzerland, Japan v Hungary, Czech Republic v Norway, Scotland v Estonia, Spain v Russia, England v USA and Canada v Finland.
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The Last-16 Games results were:- New Zealand 4 Sweden 9, Australia 8 Switzerland 1, Japan 9 Hungary 4, Czech Republic 5 Norway 4, Scotland 3 Estonia 8, Spain 5 Russia 8, England 4 USA 7 and Canada 7 Finland 2. In their game, Scotland lost 4 shots in the 1st end to leave themselves far too much to do and Estonia ran out comfortable winners. In England's case, they did well to come back to 3-4 down after 5 ends but immediately lost a 3 to end their chances.

The Quarter-finals saw Australia beat Japan 6-5, Sweden beat Czech Republic 8-3, Canada beat Russia 7-3 and USA beat Estonia 9-5.

Tomorrow morning's Semi-finals are Canada v USA and Sweden v Australia, with the Bronze Medal Game in the afternoon and the Gold Medal Game in the evening.
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Canada held off USA in the first Semi-final, winning by 9-5 to move into yet another Gold Medal game. In the second Semi-final, Sweden edged ahead in the second half of the game to beat Australia 7-5.

In a game of single shots, USA took Bronze with a 5-4 win over Australia after an extra end. Sweden won the Gold Medal to deny Canada a clean sweep in the combined Mixed Doubles/Seniors event. Sweden won 6-5 with a single shot drawn right onto the button in the last end.

It must be said that Sweden had a "loaded" team, with World Men's Champion Oskar Eriksson and World Women's Silver Medallist Anna Hasselborg representing them, contrary to most other countries, who send Mixed Doubles specialists. A lesson for others, perhaps?

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