LAS VEGAS –
Brad Gushue of Canada won a silver medal at the men’s billiards world championships on Sunday after beating Sweden’s Niklas Edin 8-6 at the Orleans Arena.
Gushue swerved in the ninth minute to give Edin the hammer in the 10th minute with a draw. Sweden scored when Gushue couldn’t get his stone to roll under two Swedish rocks atop the quad.
It was the fourth consecutive world crown for Edin and his sixth overall. Victory comes less than two months after he won the Olympic gold medal – beating Gushue in the semi-finals – at the Beijing Olympics.
Gushue and the team of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker based in St. John’s is the first seed and opens the game with a hammer.
But Edin was very productive in the opening game and kept the pressure throughout the game, capitalizing on Canada’s mistakes. Gushue tried to empty at the end of the ninth but scored the only goal and Walker won his second stone in the tenth inning.
Joel Retornaz of Italy beat Korey Dropkin of America 13-4 earlier in the day to take the bronze medal.
Gushue, who won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing, is looking for a second world title of his career after beating Edin in the 2017 final in Edmonton. Edin won the rematch a year later at this same Las Vegas venue.
Without Scotland’s Bruce Mouat on the field, Canada and Sweden are strong contenders to reach the final.
Gushue and Edin had a few hiccups during the round robin but were still 13th place and claimed the top two seeds.
The teams know each other well since they first played each other in 2011. Gushue enters with a 21-10 advantage in all-time encounters but Edin has won his last three games, including once in here and twice in Beijing.
With a pro-Canada crowd of about 1,000 supportive fans, Gushue stole a pair for the second time. Edin jumped at the chance and couldn’t move Canada’s buried rocks in his final shot.
A glaring ice problem – the latest in a series of problems hampering play all week – appeared to affect Gushue’s first throw in the third inning.
He raised his arms in the air as his stone passed the distant wild boar before missing the target. That allowed Edin to make a hit and stay in two.
Gushue glanced over at the top of the iceberg and checked the bottom of the rock for debris. He was still shaking his head as he discussed the matter with substitute EJ Harnden and national team coach Jeff Stoughton at the end of the game.
Gushue, ranked number 1 in the world, had a remarkable season with a win at the Canadian Olympic trials, a bronze medal at the Olympics and his fourth national title in six years. Gushue, Gallant and Walker played their final weekend at the Tim Hortons Brier as a group of three as Nichols withdrew due to COVID-19.
Edin, who beat Mouat in the Olympic final, even stole the ball in the fourth inning. Sweden sat three goals in the fifth half to force Gushue to hold a draw for a single goal and take a 4-3 lead at halftime.
Edin received another kill in the sixth round as Gushue was only able to break one stone in the double attempt.
Meanwhile, Retornaz guided the Italian team to their first playoff appearance at the event and their first podium. Finishing six points on Saturday fixed the victory over the home team.
The world bronze medal comes two months after Italian Amos Mosaner won third Olympic doubles gold with Stefania Constantini.
This will be the final season for this version of the Team Gushue roster.
Gallant plans to leave the team after the campaign ends later this spring. His replacement has yet to be named.
Kerri Einarson of Canada won bronze at last month’s women’s world championships in Prince George, Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni took the gold.
This Canadian Press report was first published on April 10, 2022.