Netherlands Men, Finland Women grab final Worlds berths

Naseby, New Zealand - Netherlands men and Finland women became the last two Member Associations to qualify for this season's World Curling Championships. They had wins in Wednesday's second play-offs session of the inaugural World Qualification Event, staged in Naseby, New Zealand.

They joined China women and Korea men - who had qualified in Wednesday's earlier play-offs - in the 13-team strong fields for the 2019 World Curling Championships.

The World Qualification Event 2019 is a new pathway to this season's world events, which put places up for grabs for two women's and two men's teams to join the nations who had already qualified directly.
LGT World Women's Curling Championship 2019: Silkeborg, Denmark - 16-24 March

Denmark (hosts), Korea, Japan (Pacific-Asia), Canada, United States (Americas), Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, Latvia, Scotland (Europe) China and Finland (world qualification)

Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men's Curling Championship 2019: Lethbridge, Canada - 30 March-7 April

Canada (hosts), Japan, China (Pacific-Asia), United States (Americas), Sweden, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Russia (Europe) Korea and Netherlands (world qualification)

For each gender, only three places were available in Wednesday's play-offs, at the World Qualification Event 2019, from the fields of eight teams that had been contesting the round robins.

Netherlands breakthrough at right moment

England had lost the first play-off game to Korea earlier (3-7), but had a second qualification chance when they faced third placed Netherlands.

The teams traded single points for the first three ends and then the Dutch made the first break-through with a score of three points in the fourth end. This gave them a 4-2 lead. Netherlands then stole a single point in the fifth end to take a 5-2 lead into the break. Eventually, an England attempt to spin three stones into the house with the last stone of the tenth end to tie up the game did not come off. This gave Netherlands the 8-5 win that qualified them for the men's world championship.

This is a third successive world championship for this Netherlands team. The team were fourth player Wouter Goesgens, skip and third player Jaap Van Dorp, second player Laurens Hoekman and lead Carlo Glasbergen. They were supported by alternate Alexander Magan and coach Shari Leibbrandt.

After the game skip Van Dorp said: "We took a little trip to this event to qualify. It wasn't in our plan, but it still feels amazing to get there. We felt like we were in control in that game, but we still had to be on our toes. We've been growing in the tournament. It's amazing to get to the Worlds, we're going to show that we can compete there too. It'll be good to show how good we're becoming. We're absolutely looking forward to it."

For his part, England's losing skip Andrew Reed, said: "That was a step too far for us. Korea were clinical this morning, and Netherlands were up for it. We tried to compete, but we missed too many shots. It's a long way to come, but we've given it a go. If we hadn't come here, we'd never know."

Dream realised for Finland

Finland had lost earlier to China (3-4) but took full advantage of their second qualification opportunity by taking control in their game against third-placed Hungary. They scored one point in the opening end and then had single point steals in each of the next three ends for a 4-0 lead. They dominated the second half of the game too, with a score of two points in the sixth end, followed by two more single point steals.

Hungary conceded after eight ends with the score at 8-1 to the Finns. Finland were skip Oona Kauste, third player Eszter Juhasz, second player Maija Salmiovirta and lead Lotta Immonen.

After this win, Kauste said: "It was a really good game against China this morning. We just had a little bit of bad luck, but they played well and deserved to win. After that game, I knew we could make it with our second chance.

"That was a good game for us against Hungary, we played really well. Now it feels amazing, I don't have words. This was a big dream to qualify. After the Europeans I was really sad and crying for three hours. I couldn't find anything good about the week - it felt horrible and was a huge disappointment."

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