SUMMERSIDE – The Suzanne Birt rink is the 2015 P.E.I. Scotties Tournament of Hearts champions.
Birt defeated the Kathy O’Rourke team 10-4 in a battle of Charlottetown Curling Complex rinks to win the provincial women’s curling championship at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in Summerside.
It’s Birt’s eighth P.E.I. women’s title. Her teammates are third stone Shelly Bradley, second stone Michelle McQuaid and lead Susan McInnis. Peter Gallant coaches Team Birt.
The runner-up O’Rourke team includes Robyn Green, who throws fourth stones; Meaghan Hughes, who tosses third; lead Tricia Affleck; alternate Stefanie Clark, and coach Al Ledgerwood. O’Rourke, who was also runner-up last year, throws second stones and calls the game.
Both skips are Summerside natives.
The Birt foursome will now advance to the national 2015 Scotties national Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., from Feb. 14 to 22.
O’Rourke won the A event in the modified triple-knockout round, and Birt took the B and C sections, eliminating defending-champion and clubmate Kim Dolan in the latter. The fourth team in the event, skipped by Lisa Jackson out of the Cornwall Curling Club, didn’t manage to pick up a win.
As Birt won two of the three knockout-round sections, O’Rourke needed to win Monday afternoon’s game to force a winner-take-all final that evening.
In the deciding game, Birt got on the board early, using last-rock advantage to draw for a deuce in the opening end.
Green tied it with a draw for two in the second end, but Birt responded by drawing for a triple in the third. Green was facing three Birt counters in the fourth end, but made a draw for a single to narrow the score to 5-3.
However, Birt drew for a triple in the next end to make it 8-3 going to the fifth-end break.
In the sixth end, Green attempted to hit her own rock onto a Birt counter to stay for two, but missed and gave up a steal of one. Green drew for a single in the seventh to make it 9-4.
In the eighth, Birt attempted to put the game out of reach with a hit and stick for two, but she rolled out and had to settle for one. However, one turned out to be enough as Team O’Rourke, facing a six-point deficit, decided it was handshake time.