Neepawa’s Viterra Championship host committee was a winner before the second berth game began today in Minnedosa. Either Kelly Marnoch would be bringing Carberry fans to Neepawa OR Jeff Stewart would be bringing Gladstone fans – a definite win to have a “local” team in the field so early, opening up possibilities of one extra local team later on.
And it was Kelly Marnoch (fourth Bart Witherspoon, Branden Jorgenson, Dean Smith) who earned the berth, joining Jordon McDonald’s Deer Lodge team who had beaten Marnoch earlier in the day to win the first available berth.
The interesting play was almost all at the away end of the rink!
With a string of stones in play up the centre line, and three biting the button, Marnoch played the last stones of the fifth end as if he had two counters. When Stewart’s team was unable to move them, the measuring stick came out and Marnoch was proven correct.
However, the game was won on the seventh end – a completely different end from the fifth. Facing four Stewart counters, Marnoch’s fourth shooter Bart Witherspoon made a triple kill and rolled to count a single point. Up 4-2 at that point, the lead help up. Marnoch led 5-3 coming home.
But – proving he could also throw the delicate shot, Witherspoon broke the Gladstone team’s hearts with an angle tap from the front of the eight foot to the button, nestled against Stewart’s shot stone – leaving Stewart nothing but an unlikely double-angle, double-raise backward through a port. Final score, Marnoch over Stewart 6-3.
In the Scotties Berth event, Beth Peterson’s Assiniboine Memorial team (Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen, Melissa Gordon, alternate Robyn Njegovan) won the invitation to compete in the provincial Scotties at East St. Paul in late January.
As top seed, the team had a first round bye in the 7-team ‘spiel and needed to win only three games to earn their provincial entry.
The final, against Abby Ackland’s AMCC team was tied at two after three ends but a Peterson hit through a port scored a three on the fourth end and Team Peterson clogged the centre of the rings on the fifth, scoring another big end and concession.
Earlier in the day, Peterson had beaten Ackland to advance to the final while Ackland had to win over Grace Beaudry to move on to their third game of the day.
Team Peterson joins the defending champion Mackenzie Zacharias team (with Jennifer Jones added to the line-up) as the first two teams in the 12 team provincial Scotties field.