O’LEARY – A pressure-cooker seventh end helped propel the Jamie Newson rink from the Charlottetown Curling Complex to the Curl P.E.I. provincial mixed curling championship here Tuesday night.
Trailing Mark MacDonald’s Cornwall rink 3-2 after six ends, Newson and his rink of Vanessa Hamming, Andrew Robinson and Michelle MacIntyre played a patient seventh end, content to sit in front of the Cornwall rocks that lined up on the four-foot across the t-line. As the end progressed they advanced their rocks and moved the MacDonald stones further back. When the end was over Newson was holding a 5-3 lead.
“Andrew and I talked and said we’d go hard for this end and try to get a couple and the lead coming home,” the skip said of the seventh-end strategy. “That’s what we did, and it paid off.”
MacDonald tried a difficult in-off with his last stone in the final eighth end in an attempt to count two for the tie, but his rock was inside. He did manage to move Newson’s shot stone but only counted one, giving Newson a 5-4 victory and a trip to the Canadian mixed championship at the North Bay Granite Curling Club in November 2014.
“The seventh was the turning point, for sure,“ Newson acknowledged. “We were kind of struggling a little bit with a few shots here and there.
“We set up with a bunch on the four-foot. My first one was ‘miss her and we’re in trouble,’ but we made it and it put us in a good spot.”
The Newson rink was heavily regarded as the team to beat in the seven-team single round-robin championship as the skip and his second stone were runners-up in the provincial Tankard the previous week.
But getting to the championship final was not easy. Newson scored a point in the extra end of his final round-robin game just to make it to a tiebreaker. He had to win the tiebreaker and a semifinal game just to face the round-robin champion MacDonald in the final.
MacDonald had defeated Newson in the first game of the round-robin, so Newson wasn’t taking the final lightly.
“We watched them play all weekend,” he said. “They played unbelievably.
“Shirley (Berry, who called the game and threw third stones) and Mark were making everything.”
This will be Newson’s first trip to the Canadian mixed after finishing runner-up provincially three times.
His lead and his second have each been to the Canadian mixed once, and Newson said they will have experience on their side in North Bay.
Newson made it to the final with a 6-3 semifinal win over Tammy Dewar on Tuesday afternoon.