14 March 2018
True grit from Britain's curlers despite USA defeat
Victory and defeat
If ever there was an example of Team Neilson’s grit then it came at the start of the seventh end of their clash with the USA on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
At the time Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers trailed 9-2 with the USA playing some exceptional curling. Meanwhile, on the sheet next to Aileen Neilson and co, an identical result was playing out.
Hosts Korea were 9-2 down to Norway and, as soon as the last stone was thrown in the sixth end, the teams shook hands and called it a day.
Meanwhile, Neilson, Gregor Ewan, Angie Malone and Bob McPherson went back to work on the improbable task of clawing back a seven-point deficit.
“No disrespect to the USA but we just thought if we could score some shots, you just never know, you can score a big end,” said the skip.
“In the past we have been well down and have come back. At the break that was what our coach said and she told us it’s not over and it is never over until the last stone is thrown.
“We played another end to try and get another score on the board because what else can you do?”
Aileen Neilson and co take on Korea and China in their final matches
Two round robin matches to go
After two defeats on day four at the Gangneung Curling Centre Britain needed to hit the ground running against Germany.
And they delivered and then some with a convincing 8-3 victory over the Germans sending them into their clash with the USA with refreshed confidence.
But three points in the third end and two in the fourth for the USA put them almost out of sight at the break.
Neilson responded with one in the fifth but, as soon as they were back in it, a three from the USA put the nail in the coffin.
Britain did respond with one in the seventh but, at 9-3, the game was over leaving the team with the daunting prospect of matches against South Korea and China to decide their fate.
“You just have to be mentally strong in these moments,” Neilson added. “We came out after yesterday’s two disappointments and played really well in our first game.
“That was what we planned to do this afternoon but unfortunately it didn’t work out. The USA played better. I missed crucial draws which, if you don’t make these draws, you lose the game.
“But they were just on fire and made everything. We’re disappointed obviously but we’ll have to come out all guns blazing.
“Everyone can beat everyone else here. We can’t worry on who we are playing or how they are playing. We can only focus on how we play so we need to come out and be firing at our best.”
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