Curling: Australian errors costly

Japan's Yusuke Morozumi (right) watches his stone as Australia's Sean Hall looks on during Asia and Pacific curling championships at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink yesterday. Japan won 7-6. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Japan's Yusuke Morozumi (right) watches his stone as Australia's Sean Hall looks on during Asia and Pacific curling championships at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink yesterday. Japan won 7-6. Photo by Craig Baxter.
One mistake was enough. Japan capitalised on an Australian error to move closer to a men's semifinal spot yesterday.

Japan beat Australia 7-6 in a closely fought game at the Asia and Pacific curling championships at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink.

The scores were locked at 4-all when Japan made a steal to gain two shots on the seventh end and take a decisive grip on the game.

That end was crucial.

"We got the shots because of their mistakes," Japanese skip Yusuke Morozumi said.

"I'm confident we will make the semifinals now."

Australian skip Hugh Millikin admitted the error was costly.

"We had control of the game until we let them steal that two," he said.

"When that happened we were chasing them."

Australia and Japan both scored singles on the next two ends and Australia was still chasing two shots on the final end to tie the game.

Japan displayed an aggressive defence and hammered Australian scoring stones out of the house.

Australia had one shot when Ian Palangio played the last stone of the game.

"We had our chance but the stone hit the wrong rock and we lost it on the measure," Millikin said.

China and Korea remain unbeaten at the top of the men's competition with two wins. Japan is next with two wins and a loss and Australia and New Zealand both have two wins and a loss.

Chinese Taipei has one win and two losses and Kazakhstan has yet to win a game.

Korea beat Taipei 7-6 by scoring a shot on the final end.

New Zealand had its first win of the championship when it beat newcomer Kazakhstan 8-3. The decisive act came on the fifth end when New Zealand scored four shots to lead 8-2.

Skip Peter de Boer said New Zealand was at its best when the team was relaxed.

"We have got a bit of a roll but we have to keep it going," he said.

"We can beat anybody when we play well and we still have a chance to make the top four."

It was New Zealand's most consistent display at the championships.

"We executed our shots really well," de Boer said.

"We played shots with a high degree of difficulty but we still had to execute them.

"We played a simple game today and capitalised on their mistakes. But it's nice to get a win after a couple of disappointing results. Hopefully we can take it up another level. It was quite a straightforward game out there this morning."

The New Zealand women also had their first win when Kazakhstan was beaten 11-3.

New Zealand consolidated its grip on the game by scoring nine shots from the fourth to the seventh ends with a two, two, four and one.

"We decided after our horrible game last night that we just had to improve and needed to make a fresh start," the New Zealand skip Bridget Becker said. "Our tournament started today. We just relaxed and played one shot at a time. And if we make our shots, we'll just let the results take care of themselves."

China remains unbeaten after five games, followed by Korea four wins, Japan three wins, Australia two, and New Zealand one. Kazakhstan has lost its five games.

In yesterday's games China easily beat Japan 8-2 and Korea scored a four on the third end to beat Australia 8-4.

The championships continue at Naseby today.