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2021 World Mixed Doubles Championship
This will also be a Qualifying Event for the Beijing Olympics in February 2022. It will be played in the usual competition bubble, this time in Aberdeen, Scotland, from Monday 17 May to Sunday 23 May. In a greatly slimmed-down competition there will be only 20 teams playing this year. This is the discipline where one player plays two stones (1st and 5th) and the other plays three stones (2nd, 3rd and 4th). The players can alternate positions on each end if they wish and the rules usually mean that there are more stones in play each end.

Not only do Scotland have the chance to earn Olympic Qualification for GB, but England are also competing to reach the Olympics. Scotland will be represented by Jennifer Dodds, fresh from the Women's Worlds in Calgary, and Bruce Mouat, Silver Medallist in the Men's Worlds last month in Calgary. Bruce had Scotland's best result in 2016, finishing 4th with Gina Aitken. England's Double are sister and brother Anna and Ben Fowler, who finished in 8th place in 2016 and in 9th place in 2019. They were the first English curlers to join the British Curling Podium Potential programme in 2018.

Group A consists of Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Korea, RCF, Spain and Scotland.
Group B consists of China, England, Estonia, Finland, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden and United States.
The Qualification Games and Semi-finals are to be played on 22 May with the Medal Games on 23 May.

Starting the competition on 17 May, Scotland play Italy while England play Switzerland. On 18 May, Scotland play Australia and Spain while England play New Zealand and China.
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Scotland started their campaign with a well-controlled victory over Italy by 7 shots to 4. Nothing too dramatic, but highly efficient, clinical play by both Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat.

England had a tougher start to their campaign and traded shot for shot early on, but eventually lost 5-8 to Switzerland. They both scored 4 ends each and Switzerland's greater competition experience saw them through.
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Scotland continued their winning ways, despite losing the regulation 3 shots in one end, by beating Australia 9-5. Then they overwhelmed Spain 9-1, the Spaniards conceding with 2 ends to go.

England took New Zealand all the way to an extra end, eventually losing 6-7. They lost 4 shots in the 3rd end to make life difficult for themselves but battled hard. China were their next opponents and England found their true form to run out convincing 9-4 winners.

Tomorrow sees Scotland taking on RCF at 9am and Czech Republic at 4pm, with England's opponents being Finland at 12.30pm and Sweden at 7.30pm. On Thursday, Scotland play Germany at 12.30pm and then Canada at 7.30pm. England play Norway at 9am and United States at 4pm.

By the time these games are over the teams should be sorting themselves out and finding their level. Scotland should be near the top with England more likely to be mid-table, but still having a decent chance.
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Scotland suffered their first defeat this morning, losing 6-7 to RCF in the last end. Only one real mistake, but it was a vital one with Jennifer Dodds' last stone draw running slightly too far to allow RCF the 2 shots they required for the win. In the afternoon, the Scots got off to a flying start in their game against previously unbeaten Czech Republic, scoring 4 shots in the 2nd end and eventually winning 7-5 by controlling the game all the way through.

After 5 games played in Group A, Scotland still lie equal 1st with Canada and Italy on 4 wins. Czech Republic and Germany have 3 wins, followed by Hungary, Korea and RCF on 2 wins. Theoretically Australia should be out of it on 1 win, but as that victory handed Canada their only defeat, anything is still possible. Spain have yet to gain a victory.

England never really got going against Finland and lost 3-7. It was deja vu in their game against Sweden, this time by 2 shots to 9. After a tight start to the game the English duo lost 4 shots in the 5th end and then 2 shots in the 6th end, prompting the concession.

Sweden lead Group B with 5 wins, then comes Norway on 4 wins. Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and United States all have 3 wins, leaving China, England, Estonia and Finland propping up the table on 1 win each. Unfortunately the schedule sees England having 2 tough games tomorrow, with the possibility of the final 2 games on Friday being fairly meaningless.
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Hello, hello, it's good to be back. Maybe slightly in bad taste, but it is good to be back after 27 hours without t'internet. And a lot has happened in my absence.

Scotland have continued on their merry way by beating Germany 7-5, after both teams scored the regulation 3 shots durung the game. In the following session, Scotland beat Canada 8-5, again both teams scoring 3 shots. Then earlier today Scotland demolished Korea by 9-1, yet again 3 shots being scored twice, both by the Scots.

They will complete their round-robin games against Hungary at 7.30pm, although they are already guaranteed qualification with 7 wins and a direct route into the semi-finals. Canada and Italy have 6 wins and are guaranteed last 8 qualification. There will be a battle royal over the remaining place between Germany on 5 wins and Czech Republic and RCF on 4 wins. Germany play Czech Republic tonight and a win for Germany will seal their place. There is a potential complication, but more of that later.

England took another beating, this time from Norway by 1-11, but made a late charge in the tournament by beating United States 11-9 after an extra end. In a high-scoring, free-flowing game the Fowlers came back from 7-9 down with 1 end to go. They again triumphed by 7-6 against Japan this morning, this time from 1 down with 1 end to go. England sit in 6th position with 3 wins and are currently playing Estonia in their final game but once again have made a bad start, losing 3 shots in the 1st end.

Sweden with 8 wins, Norway with 7 wins and Switzerland with 5 wins have already qualified. New Zealand and United States are on 4 wins, plus China, England and Japan can all reach 4 wins with victories in this session. New Zealand are playing China at the moment and if there's one thing you can't do is play for a tied game. The complication arises when you consider that China ,as hosts, are guaranteed an Olympic place, along with 7 other qualifiers. If China finish in the top 8, all 8 teams qualify. If China don't, then only the top 7 will qualify. So the Kiwis might be in an impossible position, out if they win or out if they lose. Confused
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Sadly England lost 5-11 to Estonia. Their bad start was accentuated by the fact that every time they scored, Estonia scored more than them to increase their advantage, culminating in 4 shots in the 7th end to close out the game.

Scotland played out a composed game, beating Hungary 7-4 with Jennifer Dodds playing a 100% perfect game. The Scots finished top of Group A with 8 wins, followed by Canada and Italy, both on 7 wins. Czech Republic edged out Germany with the last stone of the game in the race for 4th, both finishing on 5 wins.

In Group B, China managed to beat New Zealand 7-4, but United States beat Finland 9-7 despite being 0-5 down after 2 ends and therefore finished 4th. At the top Sweden finished unbeaten and are directly promoted to the Semi-final. Norway were 2nd on 8 wins and Switzerland 3rd on 5 wins.

The other two Semi-finalists will be the winners of Canada v Switzerland and Italy v Norway at 10am tomorrow. At the same time there are Relegation Games involving Hungary v Finland and Korea v Japan. The 2 bottom teams, Estonia and Spain, have already been relegated.

The first Semi-final will take place at 4pm tomorrow along with the Play-off for the 7th Olympic Qualification place between and Czech Republic and United States. The second Semi-final is at 7.30pm tomorrow night.
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In the two Qualification Games for Semi-final places, Canada beat Switzerland 7-6 after an extra end, when the Swiss second player came up a couple of inches short with her last stone, and also Norway beat Italy by 7-5 in another tight game. Therefore the Semi-finals are Norway v Sweden late this afternoon and Scotland v Canada tonight.

The Relegation Places were decided too, as Hungary beat Finland 10-4, courtesy of 5 shots in the 7th end, and Japan beat Korea 7-5. The four teams relegated to the B Division are Estonia, Finland, Korea and Spain.

Now off to watch some cooncil TV. Be back later.

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At least my team is winning at the curling.

But first, the Olympic Qualification Game saw Czech Republic win 8-6 over United States to claim the last available place. The Czechs roared into a 5-0 lead after 2 ends, but lost the next 3 ends to bring the score to 5-4, but the game settled down and the game was tied after 7 ends. In the last end United States played poorly to leave the Czechs 2 shots for the win.

The first Semi-final was an excellent game with Norway squeezing through against Switzerland by 7-6. Again the teams were tied after 7 ends and again the Swedish last player played her attempted draw a few inches too far, allowing the Norwegians to win.

Scotland had an easier time in the second Semi-final, beating Canada by 7-4. After taking a 4-1 lead with 3 shots in the 3rd end, Scotland kept the game tight to record a well-controlled win.

The Bronze Medal Match between Sweden and Canada will take place at 10am tomorrow morning, followed by the Gold/Silver Match between Norway and Scotland at 3pm.
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And my team continued winning in a sport that Scotland have always had a good record.

The Bronze Medal Match saw Sweden take control with 4 shots in the 1st end against Canada and kept a lead all the way to the end. The final score was 7-4 to Sweden, with the Canadians conceding in the 8th end. With probably the best shot of the whole tournament, the Swedish skip moved 4 Canadian stones to restrict them to 1 shot in the 7th end, to seal the victory.

The Gold/ Silver Medal Match turned out to be much more entertaining and exciting, with Scotland scoring 2 shots in the 1st end, then losing 3 shots in the next. Scotland and Norway traded shots in alternate ends up to the 7th end, where the Scots got their 3 shots back to take a 1 shot lead into the last end. In a tight end, Scotland forced the Norwegian skip into a spectacular attempt to clear out the Scottish stones, but one stuck around and Scotland scored 1 shot after a measure to win 9-7.

Just to accentuate the final results, they were

GOLD - Scotland
SILVER - Norway
BRONZE - Sweden

ADDITIONAL OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS - Canada, Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland

And to complete my ideal tournament, United States were denied an automatic Olympic Qualification Place and Canada were denied a Medal. It won't happen very often, so make the most of it. In fact, in the 3 World Championships, United States gained a Bronze and Canada got nul point. The rest were won by Europeans plus RCF.
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