Crestwood rinks battle in bonspiel final

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Jennifer Scott defeats Diana Backer in the St. Albert Centre Ladies Bonspiel final

The big winner of the St. Albert Centre Ladies Bonspiel was the Crestwood Curling Club.

The top two rinks in the Wednesday night league at the Crestwood squared-off in Sunday’s final and Jennifer Scott emerged victorious with a 7-5 decision over Diana Backer at the St. Albert Curling Club.

“It was a great time playing against them. They’re club mates so we play against them a lot in our league,” said Scott.

Her lineup of third Gwyneth Turner, second Diane McNiven and lead Diane Greening had two more wins over the second-place Backer in the Wednesday standings before the bonspiel.

“It was a lot of fun,” Backer said of the Crestwood showdown. “We’ve played them a few times this year and so far I think we’re tied. They won two and we’ve won two.”

A challenging sheet three surface left both rinks scrambling to figure the ice out.

“Both of us found the ice very challenging because we’re used to curly ice and this was not,” Scott said. “Both teams had chances. There were lots of shots made and lots of misses so lots of opportunities. It was an exciting game.”

“It’s one of the toughest sheets of ice that we had the whole weekend,” Backer added. “We played on it twice. Our first game against Karen Stephen (of St. Albert) we played really well once we figured it out a little bit. You couldn’t play a come around game on the ice. You had to play the bumps and stuff. It was really, really sensitive.”

Scott opened the scoring with a draw for two with the hammer and Backer answered with one in the next end.

Backer made it 4-2 with steal of three in the third end after Scott’s last shot hit a guard.

The house was littered with rocks in four leading up to Scott’s draw for three after hogging her first delivery.

In five Scott stole a point to lead by two and Backer replied with one in six.

Backer was in position to score multiple points in seven before Scott’s hit and stick put her on top by two.

In eight Backer was gunning for the game-tying deuce but her first delivery against three counters for Scott slid through the house and the handshakes started.

“She had to make a double on her first rock and she just didn’t make it,” Scott said. “We played well in that last end. We put the pressure on her.”

It was the tightest game of the weekend for Scott after defeating Sturmay, Mortensen and Kwak en route to the team’s first bonspiel victory of the season.

“There were a couple of ends where we kind of fell asleep and then they kind of fell asleep,” Scott said. “I typically like my games to be cleaner than others. I don’t play as much of a come around game, I play more of a hit game. We played really clean for the first couple of ends and then we got some rocks in play and that’s when it gets exciting because you can see some different shots being made.”

Backer, third Tanis Stroh, second Larissa Belke and lead Lisa Sharun slide into the final after victories against Stephen, Bowen and Erickson in the 20-rink draw.

“Today we just weren’t on our game,” said Backer, the spare for Bev Merryweather’s rink in the St. Albert Monday night league.

The St. Albert resident is back curling at the Crestwood, where she won cities in 1999 and 2000, after several years at the Granite. She represented the Granite at four Dominion (now Alberta Travelers) Curling Club Championships and was the 2014 finalist with Stroh, Belke and Monique May.

Backer was also the lead for Lauren Jenkyns’ Dominion championship rink from St. Albert at the 2013 nationals and that same year was the second for the St. Albert-based Deb Santos rink, silver medallists at the Canadian Senior (50-plus) Curling Championships.

The weekend festivities surrounding the bonspiel – this year’s theme was That ’70s Show – made the experience extra special for Backer.

“They always put on a good show here,” said the coach for the 2013 Canadian deaf women’s curling championship team and silver medallists at worlds.

Scott and her teammates also have ties with past and present St. Albert curlers so the bonspiel was a spirited mini reunion.

“This truly is the best bonspiel in Edmonton. It’s absolutely fabulous. I can’t say enough about what the volunteers at this club do. The entertainment and the games and just everything they did (Saturday) was amazing. They put on a great bonspiel,” Scott said.

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Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.