Mission accomplished at Pan Continentals


Celebrations from NZ

10 Nov 2023 – The New Zealand Men's and Women's teams both achieved their primary aim of a top-five finish and World Championship qualification at last week's Pan Continental Championships in Canada.

The Men's side of Anton Hood, Ben Smith, Brett Sargon and Hunter Walker, with coach (and alternate) Peter de Boer and assistant coach Warren Dobson, effectively met the goal after just four of their seven games. By then they had locked away wins against Australia, Chinese Taipei and Guyana.

Following their win against Chinese Taipei, skip Anton Hood commented "Plan 'A' is just to play as well as we can. We're always searching for consistency, that's the number one goal. We're getting closer, and as a team I think we're growing."

"We're just thinking play-offs – and if we make the playoffs, we make the Worlds."

The team got a step closer when they played their best game of the week to steal the last end and beat Korea 8-5. The last place in the playoffs came down to their final-round game against the USA. The Americans won the match to draw level with the Kiwis on 4 wins, and claimed that playoff spot by virtue of the head-to-head result.

The NZ Women's side comprised Jess Smith, Courtney Smith, Bridget Becker, Natalie Thurlow and Holly Thompson. They were coached by Sean Becker and Nelson Ede.

The Kiwi women secured good wins against Chinese Taipei and newly promoted Mexico, but had a setback when they went down 7-9 to Australia. NZ finished the pool round with the same 2 win-5 loss result as the Mexicans but took the vital fifth place in the field with their head-to-head win against them.

"We have a change of lineup for this season and are still working through some of the dynamics, but I think we are definitely starting to grow as a team," said Jess Smith. We look forward to giving the Worlds another go and hopefully get some Olympic points!"

"We're definitely determined! I think we can beat any of these teams if we just make our shots and play well as a team. After being at the [2023] Worlds we're stronger now. That was a big learning experience for us. So, it's onwards and upwards."

"We really thank NZCA, Balance Plus and Devold for their continued support of our team, as well as our communities and especially our families who all continue to support our dreams."

"Also, a big thanks to our coaches Sean and Nelson – we really couldn't do this without them!"

The Women's title was won by Korea, who beat Japan in the gold medal match. The USA headed Canada for the bronze. Men's honours went to Canada, ahead of Korea, USA and Japan.

The NZ Women will play at their second World Women's Championship in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada in mid-March. Most of the Kiwi Men will continue their season in Canada until the World Men's Championship in Schaffhausen, Switzerland at the end of March.


NZ Results


Results Round Robin W  L Qual
NZ4-9Japan  1 Korea61SF,WC
NZ2-15Korea 2Japan61SF,WC
NZ11-7Chinese Taipei 3USA61SF,WC
NZ1-10Canada 4Canada43SF,WC
NZ12-4Mexico 5New Zealand25WC
NZ7-9Australia 6Chinese Taipei25 
NZ3-8USA 7Mexico16 


Results Round Robin W  L Qual
NZ8-6Australia 1Canada61SF,WC
NZ2-8Canada 2Japan61SF,WC
NZ11-1Guyana 3Korea52SF,WC
NZ10-3Chinese Taipei 4USA43SF,WC
NZ4-6Japan 5New Zealand43WC
NZ8-5Korea 6Australia25 
NZ2-7USA 7Chinese Taipei16 

Qual: SF=Semifinals, WC=World Championship, >B=relegated to PCCC-B


Team NZ Women L-R: Courtney Smith, Bridget Becker, Holly Thompson, Natalie Thurlow, Jess Smith


Ben Smith and Hunter Walker, NZ v Japan. Photo WCF / Rebecca Villagracia


Team NZ Men L-R: Hunter Walker, Brett Sargon, Anton Hood, Peter de Boer, Ben Smith. Photo WCF / Stephen Fisher


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