Okotoks rink reigns supreme at home bonspiel
Curling: Debbie Miller wins A-event, prepares for 55-plus Games
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013 06:00 am
There was a familiar feel to the A-final of the Okotoks Ladies Bonspiel and nearly an identical result.
In a rematch of last year’s final, the Debbie Miller rink out of Okotoks exacted a measure of revenge and edged 2012 champion Tamsyn McLean 11-7 to win the A-event of the 2013 Okotoks Ladies Bonspiel.
“For quite a while there it was tight. We got five in the first end and then they got three right back,” Miller said. “I thought we just had to keep our wits about us and still make our shots.”
McLean, who last year skipped Dianne Young’s rink to a first-place finish in Okotoks as well as to the Triple Crown title, did not panic after giving up a five-spot on the opening end.
After Miller picked up a single with last rock in the third end to take a 6-3 lead, McLean again showed her resilience and picked up another three-points with the hammer in the fourth to tie it at 6-6.
Miller answered right back in the seesaw tilt with a three-ender of her own in the fifth end to take a commanding 9-6 lead — an advantage the Okotoks team would not relinquish.
“I threw my first (rock) badly and then I thought I threw my second one the same way, but it came back,” said Miller, who also won the 2011 Okotoks bonspiel. “The ice is kind of funny in spots, luckily with my second one I got to that spot and got the three.”
Team Miller, featuring Gail Giroux at third, Kerry Imler at second and Susan Lypkie at lead, gave up one in the sixth end and then closed out the match in the seventh by nicking a yellow guard to pick up two points for the 11-7 win.
Elsewhere, in the B-final Hannah Coskey defeated Laurie McCreary-Burke. The C-event saw Diana Martin edge Ingrid Warnock and in the D-final Heather Kuntz dispatched Team Riley.
The bonspiel’s A-title for Miller was a nice surprise for Miller after she suffered cracked ribs after taking a nasty spill on the sheets on Jan. 2.
“We were moving the rocks off and an older fellow kicked the rock and I don’t think he was thinking and it took my feet out from behind and when I came down I fell on the handle of the rock,” Miller said. “My doctor told me eight weeks, but once it started to feel not to bad I could start throwing. I waited five weeks and started throwing last week.”
The return to the ice was prompted by a desire to be sharp for an event the skip has circled on her calendar.
Miller, Giroux, Imler and spare Marg Cox will be entering the 55-Plus Alberta Winter Games this week in Calgary on a considerable high. Lypkie won’t be competing as her relative youth has her ineligible for the event.
The 55-Plus Games are old hat for the veteran skip as Miller won a gold medal at the 2011 Games in St. Albert in mixed curling. She said she expects a different experience with her usual teammates by her side.
“Going in with my own team I’m ecstatic,” she said. “When I was in St. Albert and saw the Ladies teams I thought (my team) is going to be old enough soon and I’d love to go with my team. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Alberta 55-plus Winter Games curling will be held at the Calgary Winter Club with the opening draws at 8 a.m. on Feb. 14.
The men have their turn on the ice at the Okotoks Curling Club next month. The annual Okotoks Men’s Bonspiel goes March 21-24.