Teams skipped by Suzanne Birt and Kathy O’Rourke are atop the leaderboard after Day 1 of the P.E.I. Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial women’s curling championship.
Birt scored singles in the first three ends, added a deuce in the fourth and never looked back Thursday night handing Lisa Jackson her first loss in the five-team tournament. Jackson conceded in the seventh end trailing 8-2 at the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
“It’s always nice to have a good start,” Birt said after the game. “It’s a short round robin, so every game is really, really important.”
Birt added a single in the fifth, gave up two in the sixth, before responding with a deuce of her own in the seventh to seal the victory. The deuce in the fourth provided some breathing room for the former world junior champion and six-time provincial Scotties winner.
“You never want to get to far ahead of yourself because it’s so easy to come back in a game these days, but definitely we felt a little (more) comfortable after that,” Birt said.
Birt and O’Rourke are 1-0 while defending champion Kim Dolan and Lisa Jackson are 1-1 and Tammy Dewar is 0-2. All teams play out of the host club except Dewar’s Montague Curling Club rink.
“When the field is small and it’s a single round robin, it’s nice to get that first win under your belt,” O’Rourke said. “You can’t really lose two, so if you lose one early, it’s just tough.”
O'Rourke scored singles in the ninth and 10th ends to beat Dolan 7-4 in an afternoon contest.
O'Rourke scored deuces in the second and sixth and a single in the seventh while Dolan replied with singles in the fourth and fifth ends and two in the eighth.
Dolan evened her record by defeating Dewar in the evening draw 9-2 in eight ends.
Dolan scored deuces in first and third ends, singles in the fourth and fifth and a triple in the eighth.
Dewar had singles in the sixth and seventh ends.
Jackson scored an extra-end 7-6 victory over Dewar Thursday afternoon. Jackson led 5-0 after four ends before giving up points in four of the next five ends to set up the extra end.
O’Rourke and Birt play in both of today’s draws and will be looking to keep the momentum going.
When the field is small and it’s a single round robin, it’s nice to get that first win under your belt - Kathy O'Rourke, skip
“You have to get on a roll. As long as you feel good, you’ll play well, so we’ll just try to have another good day tomorrow,” Birt said Thursday.
O’Rourke said all of this week’s games will be tough, so remaining in the moment is important.
“We’ll just try to focus on the first game and the first end of the first game,” she said. “Everyone just (has to) keep focused on the shots that they’re throwing in that end and not think too much ahead and too far ahead.”
The cold weather that has struck the Island this week was playing a factor with the ice conditions. Both O’Rourke and Birt said the ice was straighter than normal and it’s colder on the ice surface than the players are used to.
“It’s really tough conditions to get the ice to where they’d like to see it,” O’Rourke said. “This cold weather isn’t making their job easier.”
There are two draws today at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with the banquet tonight.
The semifinal is slated for Sunday at 2 p.m. with the final at 7 p.m.
The winner advances to the nationals in Kingston, Ont. from Feb. 16 to 24.
Team W L
Kathy O'Rourke 1 0
Suzanne Birt 1 0
Kim Dolan 1 1
Lisa Jackson 1 1
Tammy Dewar 0 2
O'Rourke 7 Dolan 4
Jackson 7 Dewar 6*
Dolan 9 Dewar 2
Birt 8 Jackson 2
O'Rourke vs. Jackson
Dewar vs. Birt
Birt vs. Dolan
O'Rourke vs. Dewar
* Denotes extra end