St. John's teams wins fifth straight curling title; off to nationals next month
Cathy Cunningham, third on Heather Strong's provincial curling championship team, shouts orders during the final Sunday. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Heather Strong left no doubt she's queen of the rings in Newfoundland and Labrador women's curling Sunday.
Strong and her Re/Max Centre St. John's curling rink of third Cathy Cunningham second Peg Goss and lead Laura Strong defeated clubmate Michelle Jewer 8-6 to win the Scotties provincial ladies' curling championship at Bally Haly Golf and Curling Club for the fifth straight time.
"It was a tight game and came down to the last end," said Strong, who won seven straight games to earn the right to represent the province at the Canadian championships Feb. 21-March 1 in Victoria, B.C.
"We were ahead throughout the game," said Strong, "but I don't know if you could ever say we were in control at any point. "It was a well-played game by both teams. We missed a couple of opportunities to get some padding points and they missed a couple of opportunities to tie the game."
Strong led 4-2 after four ends and could have put the game out of reach in the fifth with a shot at scoring five. Strong attempted a runback for the nickel, but ticked the guard and Jewer stole one.
"It was a hard shot for five, but it was certainly available to us," Strong noted.
In the sixth end, Strong had an open hit and stick for a deuce. Jewer got one back in the seventh when she drew against two. Strong got that one back in the eighth. Jewer and her rink of Kellie Turpin, Jill Waite and Leslie Ann Walsh stayed alive with a runback for two in the ninth end.
Strong won the game and the championship with a draw to the four-foot in the 10th end.
"We were really pleased with how we played throughout the week," said Strong. "We felt we were in control for the most part (during the round-robin) and played well.
"We were able to finish off the close games that could have gone either way," said Strong, who beat Jewer 9-4 earlier in a round-robin match.
Strong said the team will "stay in practice mode" and try to get some competitive games here before they head out west for the nationals.
Jewer beat Barb Pinsent of Re/Max Centre 9-3 in the semifinal. After finishing undefeated in the round-robin, Strong had to be beaten twice for the championship.
Heather Strong 6 0
Michelle Jewer 4 2
Barb Pinsent 3 3
Susan Hannan 2 4
Stacie Devereaux 2 4
Shelley Nichols 2 4
Cindy Miller 2 4