MONCTON, N.B. — Canada kept pace with first-place Norway at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship on Monday, but for the first time Kevin Martin actually had to work for a win.
Canada’s first four games were abbreviated affairs, but 2007 world silver medallist Andy Kapp of Germany was able to keep the game close and took Martin to the 10th end before falling 6-4.
The teams were tied 3-3 after four ends, but Martin scored one in the fifth and stole another in the sixth to take the lead for good, with the Germans running out of stones in the final end.
“We’ve played Andy I don’t know how many times over the years but it’s lots,” said Martin. “He should have beaten us a couple of times over the years – he hasn’t yet but it’s been close a couple of times.”
With a 5-0 record, Canada is tied with Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud for first place.
Martin said he has his work cut out for him today with games against Switzerland’s Ralph Stoeckli in the morning and the Norwegians in the evening.
“We’re where we hoped to be but we come out tomorrow morning and we have a tough game against Switzerland and I know they want us bad,” he chuckled.
Stoeckli acknowledged his team is in tough after dropping to 2-4 in a 6-5 evening loss to Thomas Dufour of France.
“We are in deep trouble,” sighed Stoeckli. “We have lost two games in the last end that we should have won and we are running out of time. I am struggling and can’t seem to find my draw weight.”
Ulsrud, who beat Fengchun Wang of China 7-6 in the afternoon draw didn’t expect things to go this well.
“Not at 5-0 but when we looked at the games we thought if we get a really good start it could be but I wouldn’t have dreamed of it,” said Ulsrud, who defeated the United States 7-5 earlier in the day.
The Norwegian skip was looking forward to a night off before meeting both Switzerland and Canada Tuesday.
“We need a rest because we need to pick up the game,” he said. “Tomorrow is a tough day for us.”
David Murdoch of Scotland moved alone into second place – one game behind Canada and Norway with a 4-1 record after outlasting Japan 7-5.
“We’re pretty happy. The week’s going well,” said Murdoch, the 2006 world champion.
“We’re better finishers than starters and the fact that we’re 4-1 means we’re doing something right. The last couple of championships we would have lost a couple by this stage,” he added.
The United States and France sit at 3-2 after three days of competition.
John Shuster of the U.S. stole a single point in the extra end to beat China 9-8 when Rui Liu, who throws fourth stones, was heavy on a draw attempt.
China, which finished fourth at last year’s world championship is 0-5.