VIRDEN — The shot of the 2014 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts may have been made in just its second draw, and it helped a rookie skip earn her first win.
Down by one in the last end, Pam Robins — who throws last stones for Brandon’s Kortney Teale — was facing two rocks corner frozen to each other in the four-foot that were covered by three guards, leaving Robins to angle raise her lone guard onto the shot stones to spring them out of the house. She did just that and held her shooter to score three and beat Winnipeg’s Joelle Brown 7-5 in their first game at the provincial women’s curling championship on Wednesday.
The dramatic finish at Tundra Oil and Gas Place was not how Teale pictured her first game going, and it left her searching for words.
"I’m still speechless," said Teale, who calls the game but throws third stones. "It’s good for us going forward to know that yes, we do belong here and yes, we can make those shots if we need to."
Teale’s foursome, which also includes Kristen McLellan and Jolene Cumming, didn’t come into the event with high expectations. They were a team that few in the field knew about and, despite qualifying for the Scotties through the A-event at the Westman playdowns, were seeded 15th of the 16 teams.
Teale, however, kept up with Brown, who qualified by winning the Manitoba Curling Tour championship, and stayed within at least two points all game.
While the Teale team was happy to open the event with a win, Robins hopes future contests aren’t decided in nearly as dramatic a fashion.
"It’s great," she said, "but you don’t want to be forced into making too many exceptionally tricky shots because you’re kind of playing with fire a little bit. But it’s awesome for our team because we all make every shot together."
Meanwhile, Brandon’s other team, skipped by Kelsey Russill, didn’t find as much success in their opening contest against Winnipeg’s Michelle Montford.
Montford made a great shot for two in the seventh end when Russill thought she was set up well for a steal, and then Russill was heavy with her draw in the eighth to give up a steal of three and lose 10-3.
Despite the loss, Russill was glad her team was able to stay close for most of the game, but she admitted she is still trying to figure out the ice and that nerves also played a factor in the game.
"Little nervous still," she said after coming off the ice. "I think everyone is. Everyone on our team is saying they’re still a little more nervous, so hopefully in the next game we’ll be a little more comfortable and be on our game a little bit more."
Dauphin’s Lisa Menard also lost her opening game, falling 6-2 to Barb Spencer, who lost last year’s final to Jennifer Jones. Janet Harvey topped Shannon Birchard 11-6 in the other Red Group game.
All three Westman teams were playing again in last night’s late draw, which was in progress at press time.
In the Black Group, Chelsea Carey, Darcy Robertson, Kerri Einarson and Kate Cameron are all 2-0. Deb McCreanor’s team, skipped by former Brandonite Robin Campbell, lost 3-2 to Robertson and 8-7 in an extra end to Carey.
The round robin continues today. The draws at 4 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. will be shown live on WCG-TV.
EXTRA END: The ceremonial first rock was thrown by Virden’s Lynda Draper, Ethel Karwandy, Karen Forster and Megan Kyle.