13 March 2018
Wheelchair curlers ready to fight another day
Whenever Bob McPherson needs a reminder of what’s at stake at PyeongChang 2018 he takes out his phone and sneaks a peak of the picture he keeps of his Sochi 2014 bronze medal.
That picture helps McPherson through the toughest days of competition and day four at the Gangneung Curling Centre was certainly one of those.
When Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers started their fourth day at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games they were riding high.
Emphatic wins over Sweden and reigning champions Canada meant Aileen Neilson’s team of McPherson, Hugh Nibloe, and Gregor Ewan were sitting pretty in the round-robin standings.
Aileen Neilson's team lost their first game of the day to Slovakia
A bump in the road
But, as can often be the case in sport, things can change in the blink of an eye and defeats to Slovakia and the Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) meant day four was one to forget for Team Neilson.
“I was tempted to bring the Sochi medal with me but it’s at home,” said McPherson. “I’ve got a photo of it on my phone so every now and then I have a wee peak at that to remind myself what it’s all about.
“But it’s about what goes on now, I’m confident we can still be up there come the end of the week.
“The target is a medal, we’ve known that and we’re confident that’s possible, we started the week really well and we’ve had a blip but I feel we can turn that around.
“It’s a blip, we showed how we could play in both games tomorrow and I’m confident we can be back.”
For Neilson and co things started to go awry in the third end of their afternoon clash with Slovakia with the Brits conceding three and fighting an uphill battle from that point on.
“It’s a blip, we showed how we can play and I’m confident we can be back.”
Despite the setback Britain did fight back and it came down to the last stone – Slovakia eventually holding their nerve for a 6-5 victory.
A victory against NPA would have been the perfect tonic for the defeat but from the outset they were up against it with NPA in fine form and forcing the Brits to make tough shots.
And it was in those moments that Team Neilson came up short. Where they were so ruthless just 24 hours earlier, they struggled and eventually succumbed to an 8-2 defeat.
“It’s been a disappointing day,” said Hugh Nibloe. “We didn’t bring out best out there today but we’ll be back tomorrow for two games and fingers crossed we’ll bring our A game.
“The good thing is that we are straight back on the ice tomorrow morning so there will be no time to sit and dwell on the results and wonder what if?
“We’ll go back and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be raring to go again. I don’t want to be sat dwelling on things so it’s good that we’ll be back here in no time to put things right.”
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