November 09, 2008

On the other side of the world

The Pacific Championships were played last week in Naseby, New Zealand, to decide the nations which will go forward from the Pacifics Zone to the World Championships. The organisation of the event was somewhat testing to follow!

The five countries involved in the women's event played a double round robin to begin with. The World Women's Championship will be held in Korea (in Gangneung, March 21-29) so that country has an automatic qualification, and only one other qualification place was available. Here's how it was all explained before the event:

"The Women (5 teams) will play a double round robin. At the end of the round robin series there must be a ranking from 1 to 3 for the playoffs, and the final rankings established for the 4th and 5th teams. This ranking will be done in accordance with the WCF Rules of Competition (C9 - Page 32). The team ranked #1 will go directly to the final game.

a) if Korea is directly into the final, the semi-final (2 v 3) will be a 'best-of-five' series of games. The results (W or L) of the two games in the double round robin will be considered as the first 2 games of this 'best-of-five' series. The final will be a single game.
b) if any other team is directly into the final, the semifinal (2 v 3) will be a single game, and
(i) the final, if Korea is in that game, will be a single game
(ii) the final, if Korea is not in that game, will be a 'best-of-five' series of games. The results (W or L) of the two games in the double round robin will be considered as the first 2 games of these 'best-of-five' series.
The Gold medal winner (or Silver medal winner if Korea wins the Gold) will qualify their Association for the 2009 World Women’s Curling Championship."

Right, I hope you've got all that! (I'm definitely getting too old.) So how did it pan out?

After the round robin games China was top with seven wins and got a bye to the final. Japan had six wins and Korea four, so both of these were in the semifinal. New Zealand finished with three wins and Australia was winless. So it was a single game semifinal, and Korea beat Japan 9-6. It will be China and Korea at the Worlds. For the record though, in the single game final, Bingyu Wang's Chinese side beat Korea to win the Pacific Gold.

So Japan's Moe Meguro does not get back to the Worlds where she finished fourth last season, just being pipped by Canada in the semifinal at Vernon.

Now, let's take the Men's Championship. There were six countries involved, looking for two places at the Ford World Men's Championship in April. The teams played a double round robin to find a ranking. The top four teams progressed to 'semifinals'. 1 played 4 and 2 played 3 in best-of-five series, the round robin games being considered as the first two results of the best-of-five. The winners of these two series of matches progressed to a final game, both gaining their places at the Worlds.

Three countries were tied on seven wins after the double round robin. Ranking based on who had beaten who showed Korea (1st), China (2nd) and New Zealand (3rd) with Japan in 4th place on five wins.

Hugh Milliken's Australians did not qualify for the playoffs, winning four games, and Milliken, a fixture at the last four world events, won't be celebrating the fifty years of world curling in Moncton, New Brunswick, April 4-12.

In the semifinal games then, Korea played Japan, the latter starting the best of five series with a two game advantage. The Koreans won the next two games, and so it all came down to a single decider. Japan won that, and qualified for the Worlds.

In the other semifinal, China came through by three games to one against New Zealand to reach the final and qualify for the Worlds, and indeed the Chinese team beat Japan in the Gold Medal game. You can find the results and linescores here. The team lineups are here.

The regulations on how the Pacific Championships are run can be found in the WCF Rulebook (here). However, to make it even more difficult for those of us watching from the sidelines, these regulations were not followed. In the men's event, rather than playing a single round robin according to the WCF rulebook, a double round robin was played. One has to ask why. Is the new 2008 WCF Rulebook wrong?

It does not seem logical (to me) to have one regulation in the Rulebook, then to play an event using different rules. Mind you it is not the first time that I've accused those in the World Federation of being strangers to logic. Remember this post?

I expect someone will tell me if there was a reason why the Pacific Men's Championship was run the way it was.

Added later. I was correct. Keith Wendorf sends this response:

"The PCF controls the playing system, etc. for their Championship. There was lots of discussion with their Member Associations about the playing system to be used at the 2008 event. They decided that having the weaker teams travel all the way to NZL for only 4 games (women) and 5 games (men) was not reasonable. I as Chief Umpire agreed with their decision and everyone was well aware of this playing format before traveling to NZL.

They voted at their AGA to have in the future a double round robin and then the Page playoff system. So the WCF rule book will have to be amended on the next printing."

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