© Heather Taweel
Shirley Berry throws a stone during the opening draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Charlottetown Curling Complex on Thursday afternoon.
Provincial women's curling championship continues through Sunday in Charlottetown
It took an extra end and a big shot in the ninth for Kathy O’Rourke to score a pair of wins on the opening day of action at the P.E.I. Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
The O’Rourke rink is tied atop the standings at the five-team event with Shirley Berry at 2-0. She knocked off the defending champs, the Suzanne Birt rink, 8-6 in an extra end and Kim Dolan 8-4 with a triple in the ninth and final end.
“We expect that at this level,” O’Rourke said. “All the teams are pretty equal out here and it’s probably going coming to come down to a last rock or even an extra end.”
O’Rourke won the night contest with Dolan after leading 5-4 going to the ninth.
“We were just kind of scrambling to get out of that end,” O’Rourke explained. “Kim has us in a bit of trouble that whole end, so we were lucky to come out of it with three.”
Dolan’s last shot was a bit heavy providing Robyn Green, who throws skip stones for the O’Rourke rink, to throw a hit for the triple.
“If her draw is a little lighter and freezes onto us it’s kind of a different end,” O’Rourke said.
The two victories come against the provincial champions the past three years.
“We knew coming into the tournament, when we saw the draw, it was going to be a tough Day 1 for us, and it will be a tough Day 2,” O’Rourke said.
Berry improved to 2-0 by opening with a 7-6 extra end victory against Dolan in the afternoon and an 8-5 nine-end victory in the nightcap.
After Jackson scored a deuce in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead, Berry replied with a triple in the sixth, a deuce in the seventh and a single in the eighth.
Berry’s rink curls out of the Cornwall Curling Club and Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club. The other four teams are from the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
Birt said it good to have a close game against a good team to begin the championship.
“It’s a long weekend and we learned a lot,” she said. “We played well, but just a few little adjustments and we’ll be good to go tomorrow.”
The defending champs play the Dolan rink at 2 p.m. in an important game.
“It’s a very short round robin and you can’t afford too many loses, but just reel off a couple of wins and you should be OK.”
O’Rourke said the weather does play a factor in the ice conditions inside the complex.
“Once the cold creeps in it starts to straighten the ice out a bit,” she said.
“There’s enough curl to make it interesting and the speed is good so were happy with that. It’s like anytime you go out to play, ice conditions are always a factor and you just have to manage them.”
The first-place team gets a bye to the Sunday’s final with the second- and third-place team meeting in Saturday’s semifinal unless tiebreakers push the semifinal to Sunday.
The champion will represent P.E.I. at the nationals from Feb. 1 to 9 in Montreal.
Berry 2 0
O’Rourke 2 0
Birt 0 1
Jackson 0 1
Dolan 0 2
O’Rourke vs. Jackson
Dolan vs. Birt
Berry vs. O’Rourke
Birt vs. Jackson
*Extra end required