Champs knock out Quigley at Masters
Curling rink: Okotoks rink makes it to tiebreaker at national championship
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014 06:00 am
It took the best to knock off an Okotoks rink at a national curling championship.
The Jean Quigley rink, representing Alberta, was knocked out of the Canadian Master Women’s championship when it was narrowly beaten 6-5 by Saskatchewan’s Merle Kopach in a tiebreaker to determine which team would advance to the semifinals.
“We knew it was going to be tough curling,” Quigley said on Sunday. “We tied for fourth in round-robin and lost to Saskatchewan in the tiebreaker and they just won gold. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Quigley gave the eventual national champions all they could handle in the tiebreaker.
Kopach got up 5-2 after four ends, but the Quigley crew was able to close the gap to 6-4 coming home with the hammer in the eighth and final end.
They had a chance to tie when Lois Fast, who throws last rocks for Quigley, stepped into the hack for the final throw of the end.
“We just about had the tie in the last end,” Quigley said. “We needed to sweep Lois’ last rock to get it by a guard and just that little bit of sweeping caused it to roll too far.
“She had to bite the button to get the tie and we just missed it.”
The team took solace in knowing the eventual champions knocked them out.
“We were so close to winning that game and for them to go on to win gold, well it felt good,” Quigley said.
The Quigley rink was in danger of not getting into the playoff after getting off to a 3-3 start. Their prospects looked colder than a Winnipeg winter when they come up against Manitoba’s Pat Malanchuk in both teams’ seventh game on April 3.
“That was a great win for us because at that point they were in third place,” Quigley said. “It was a game that went back and forth.”
Including the victory over Manitoba, Quigley won three of her last four games to get into the tiebreaker at 5-4.
Fast said she was just heavy with her final rock in the loss to the tiebreaker.
“That’s what happens, it’s a game of inches,” Fast said. “We battled to get back into the game but we just couldn’t quite get it.”
Second Debbie Miller said stepping on the ice at a national championship was a thrill.
“Just being at a national event was a big highlight and the fan support was amazing,” Miller said. “To be there with all the other provinces and I was so proud to represent Alberta.”
She added it was thrilling to see curlers from other provinces wearing the heart crests given to those curlers competing in a national championship.
“Some of the teams had three or four of them and it was our first year,” Miller said.
Lead Mary Holland was the first member of the team to throw a rock in the Masters when she stepped into the hack on March 31 against New Brunswick.
“The very first rock was a little nerve-wracking for me,” Holland said. “You are looking at being one of the top 10 teams in all of Canada and that is a goal in itself.”
Make that top five as Quigley’s 5-5 record put them in the upper half.
The Quigley rink had the distinction of scoring the most points in one end when, no fooling, it opened with six rocks in the house in the first end of its victory over the Yukon on April 1.
The Quigley rink curls out of the Okotoks and Inglewood Curling clubs.
For more information on the Master Women’s championships go to saca.ca