12 March 2018
GB defeat reigning champions Canada 8-1
A good day at the office
Aileen Neilson is not the kind of skip to get carried away.
Day three at PyeongChang 2018 saw Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers start with a seven-end 6-1 victory over Sweden before thrashing reigning champions Canada 8-1.
But when the British skip summarised Britain’s emphatic victories she did so in typically understated fashion.
“A good day at the office,” said Neilson. “Any team, if they go out there and play at their best, is going to win the match – we did that against Canada, we played good shots at crucial times and it got us the win.
“You can look at the margin of victory and see it as a lot but it’s not something we focus on too much, this competition is just about getting the wins and making sure we’re taking the performances forward.”
Neilson plots GB's next move
We’ve beaten the biggest curling nation in the world
While Neilson, Gregor Ewan, Hugh Nibloe, Bob McPherson and Angie Malone might not be looking at the margin of victory the rest of us certainly are.
To put Great Britain’s day at the office into context, in the history of wheelchair curling at the Paralympic Winter Games Canada are the only team to ever claim the gold medal.
Add to that the opening victory over World Champions Norway and it’s fair to say Great Britain have made a strong start to the competition.
Did you know?
Canada have won Wheelchair Curling gold in every Paralympics since it was introduced in 2006
“We’re now at 4-1 which is a really good position to be in,” added Neilson. “We’re really pleased to move on from where we’ve already been.
“We’re just getting the feel for it more and more, each day we’re reading the ice better, playing the shot better and things are working out, we just want to keep making sure we build on that.”
It was clear from the start of the day that it would prove fruitful for Team Neilson as they sprinted to a 6-0 lead over Sweden after five ends – the rest proving nothing more than a formality.
However, Canada were supposed to be a different proposition altogether and, at first, it seemed that the two would engage in a back and forth war of attrition with a blank first end and a single score in the second edging Britain ahead.
But from that point on the Brits didn’t flinch and slowly forced the Canadians into submission.
“That is what we have been working on all year,” said Hugh Nibloe. “We know we’ve got these performances and it was good back the win over Sweden up with one against Canada.
“We’ve gone two for two today and that’s important. Canada are a big name and it feels really good to get that one out of the way.
“We’ve beaten the biggest curling nation in the world. But there are another five teams out there who have all won medals so we’ve got tough games coming up.”
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