Spectators at the Winter Games NZ curling tournament have been enthralled by the tight results during the past couple of days.
A number of games have been decided only on the final stone.
In Sunday's mixed doubles round, the New Zealand and New Zealand A sides had identical 6-5 victories over their Australian counterparts, both with steals in the last end.
China impressed with their 12-5 victory over Japan in the other match.
"That was tight all the way through," said New Zealand's Natalie Campbell. "They played really well, and we played better in that game than our first. There was really good curl, and that helped. Hopefully we can build on that result."
Yesterday's mixed doubles round saw a top performance from New Zealand A as they headed England 12-2, and Australia picked up their second win beating Japan 8-4. Natalie Campbell and Hans Frauenlob faced their second consecutive tough trans-Tasman battle, taken to an extra end by Australia A before squeaking home 8-7.
The New Zealand men's team started well in the feature match of the morning session.
Some impressive shot-making saw them out to a 7-2 lead at the fifth end break against fellow Olympic contenders Japan. However, an error-free second half fightback by Japan tied the game at 8-8 after the regulation 10 ends. In a thrilling finish, NZ skip Peter de Boer found just enough room with his last stone to secure the single he needed for the win.
Korea beat Australia 9-8 in another last-stone thriller, and China were too strong for New Zealand A, winning 8-4. While he was pleased with the win, the Chinese skip felt his side were not yet on top of their game.
"We are not very satisfied with our overall performance," said Zou Dejia. "This is a very young team though, so this international competition is a great opportunity for us to gain experience."
Korea and New Zealand are unbeaten after three rounds of the men's competition.
China have two wins, Japan one, while Australia and New Zealand A have yet to register a win.
Curling at the Audi Quattro Winter Games continued at Naseby's MCI rink last night, with round-robin matches continuing in the men's fours and mixed doubles through until Thursday. Semifinals and finals will be played on Friday.
Meanwhile Slovakian brothers Adam and Andreas Zampa dominated the podium at the Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) giant slalom at Coronet Peak yesterday, winning the gold and bronze medals respectively, while American Mark Engel claimed the silver in a high calibre field.
- The Southland Times