PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Barb Spencer, left, and her daughter Katie survey the action during their 9–1 victory over Thompson's Charlene Norquay on Thursday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Stonewall. The Spencer team, from Winnipeg, is off to a 4–0 start.
STONEWALL — The Red Group is still wide open through the first two days at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but Stacey Fordyce already feels like she’s out of contention.
The Brandonite and her team of Kelsey Russill, Janelle Schwindt and Roslynn Ripley dropped to 1-3 on Thursday at the provincial women’s curling championship after losing 9-6 to Darcy Robertson and 8-1 to Jill Thurston. While Fordyce is still mathematically alive, she’s changed her focus from looking at the playoff picture to leaving the event on a positive note.
"We’re still able to finish with more wins than losses, so that’s our new goal — to go 4-3," she said.
"We’re still having a good time. We didn’t really put a lot of pressure on us. We put a team together and it’s our first year here, so we’re still enjoying the experience and will go hard tomorrow and on Saturday."
Fordyce earned her first-ever win as a skip at the Scotties late Wednesday night when she upset Cathy Overton-Clapham 7-6. Both teams are 1-3 in the pool.
Dauphin’s Lisa Menard, who pushed Chelsea Carey in her morning draw before falling 7-6 to the two-time runner-up, is 0-4.
The battle for the group’s two playoff spots is still wide open with Colleen Kilgallen leading the hunt at 4-0. Robertson and Carey are right behind at 3-1, while Thurston, whose team features Brandonite Kristen Phillips at third and Elkhorn’s Brittany Cousins at lead, has a 2-2 record as does Karen Fallis.
Meanwhile, Brandon’s other team, skipped by Liza Park, was officially knocked out playoff contention in the Black Pool. Park lost both of her games on Thursday, falling 7-5 to Janet Harvey in a tight game in the morning before dropping a 10-3 decision against Michelle Montford in five ends.
The game turned in the fifth end when Park went hard for a steal but was heavy with her last rock on an attempted tap-back.
She barely moved her rock and left Montford with a draw to the eight-foot for five.
Park — who curls with Darla Hayward, Pam Robins and Kortney Teale —took that loss and getting eliminated from the playoff picture in stride.
"That’s fine," she said.
"We have not curled nearly as many games as these teams here. Our expectations were to have fun. We have the late changeover and some time to have fun tonight and we will do that and enjoy just being here. … We’ll see what happens tomorrow and hopefully not skunk it out of here and get a win somewhere along the way."
The race for playoff spots in the Black Pool is heating up. Jennifer Jones and Barb Spencer are tied at 4-0, followed closely by Montford and Janet Harvey at 3-1.
The round robin continues today and wraps up on Saturday.
EXTRA ENDS: Fordyce’s game versus Overton-Clapham on Wednesday was the first time Ripley had played Ashley Howard, who plays second for Overton-Clapham, since the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. Ripley’s silver-medal winning Manitoba squad won that game 10-6 over Howard’s New Brunswick foursome.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 25, 2013