The foursome of third Shelly Bradley, second Sarah Fullerton and lead Leslie MacDougall scored deuces in the second, sixth and eighth ends to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial women’s curling championship. They doubled the Kim Dolan rink 6-3 to cap off the championship with a 5-0 (won-lost) record at the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
“It’s awesome,” Bradley said after the win. “We have a really, really tough pool of women here in P.E.I., so to finish off undefeated is really impressive. It really makes us feel great about all the work we’ve put in this year.”
Dolan scored singles in the third, fifth and seventh ends.
Up one with the hammer in the eighth, Birt took a timeout with a slew of rocks in the house. The teams matched each other shot for shot as the tension grew. Birt nailed a tap back for two with her last rock and didn’t look back.
“That was huge,” Bradley said. “We were in a lot of trouble in that end. We just luckily came up with a couple of good shots . . . I really think that was the turning point in that game.”
Birt agreed the end, which finished with nine rocks in the house, showed just how close the competition was at the five-team tournament.
“Every shot is just so close and has to be so precise. It really is a game of inches,” she said.
Birt went 4-0 and went straight to the final while Dolan beat Lisa Jackson 6-4 in a tiebreaker and Kathy O’Rourke 7-3 in the semifinal.
“Every shot is just so close and has to be so precise. It really is a game of inches.” - Skip Suzanne Birt
Sometimes teams get on a roll by continuing to play as the undefeated team waits for the final. Birt said they practised at lunchtime in order to keep fresh.
“We knew we were prepared for tonight (Sunday),” said Birt, who has won seven provincial Scotties championships.
The Birt rink, coached by Peter Gallant, will compete at the nationals in Kingston, Ont., from Feb. 16 to 24.
“Every time I get back there, it’s just like the first time,” said Bradley, who will be going to her sixth nationals.
“The people at a Scotties Tournament of Heart just treat you like royalty. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before. You feel so special and it’s such an honour to represent your province.”
Dolan was gracious in defeat.
“You are a great representative for P.E.I.,” she told the Birt rink. “You will do wonderful up in Kingston, and we will be cheering you on.”
She also had a message for others in the room in hopes of increasing the number of women in the sport.
“I just hope that as many young women get into this game because it truly is the best game for teammates and camaraderie.”
The next provincial championship is the men’s Tankard at the Crapaud Community Curling Club from Feb. 6 to 10.