North Americans inching ahead

Team North America skip Jennifer Jones delivers a stone in the World Financial Group Continental Cup at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. - Mark Brett/Black Press Sports
Team North America skip Jennifer Jones delivers a stone in the World Financial Group Continental Cup at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Black Press Sports

Team North America took control at the World Financial Group Continental Cup Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

There were 12 points available in the Ryder Cup-style curling competition, featuring 12 of the best men’s and women’s teams in the world, and North America captured nine of them to take a 13-8 lead over Team World in the overall points race through two days.

The first team to 30.5 points will claim the Cup.

The North Americans capped their day by winning two men’s team games on Friday night and tying another.

“Boy, what a day,” said Canadian skip Kevin Martin (Edmonton) after his team rolled to a 6-3 win over Team World’s Niklas Edin (Karlstad, Sweden). “Well, two days. Everybody’s been playing really, really well. We’ve got the momentum, and hopefully we can keep it going, but it’s a long way to the finish line yet.”

Martin’s team took control with a first-end deuce, and then scored three in the fourth end to cruise home with the victory on the centre sheet, where he was able to watch the two other North American men’s teams playing on either side of him put up positive results.

“It takes a lot of pressure off of you, and it adds so much pressure to the other team that we’re playing with the scoreboards the way they were,” he said.

In other action, Heath McCormick (St. Paul, Minn.) picked up his first win of the week, taking advantage of a short-handed Team World squad skipped by Thomas Ulsrud (Oslo, Norway) for an 8-3 win. Ulsrud lost second Christoffer Svae early in the game with a stomach issue.

Brewster was able to salvage half a point Friday when he drew for a deuce in the eighth end to pull out a 5-5 tie with Team North America’s Glenn Howard (Coldwater, Ont.).

There are six skins games (two mixed, two women’s and two men’s) on tap today in Penticton, with five points available per game. The first six ends are worth half a point each, while the seventh and eighth ends are worth a full point. In skins, a count of at least two with last rock, or a steal, is required in order to win an end. Otherwise, the points carry over.

The winning side receives $52,000 ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000. As well, the side that generates the highest points total from the final three skins games will receive an additional $13,000.

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