Streich snake bitten

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

Shauna Streich's rink was first to qualify for last year's Scott Tournament of Hearts provincial women's curling championship. Fourteen months later, she and her Fort Rouge rinkmates are hoping they'll be the last to qualify for this year's Scott, because it's now or never.

The winner of the 81st annual MCA Women's Bonspiel, which began yesterday and wraps up tomorrow at several Winnipeg clubs, will earn the 16th and final berth in the Scott, which is slated for Jan. 26-30 in Souris.

If tomorrow's champ already has a spot in the provincial championship, the next-best finisher will score the coveted berth.

Streich, who actually lives in Selkirk, is one of the more notable names who hasn't yet punched her ticket for Souris. She has competed in four of the past six Scotts, and she lost the 1999 final to Connie Laliberte.

Streich opened the double-knockout event yesterday with a default win over Kristy Jenion, who didn't have enough players to ice a squad. Last night, however, 2003 Scott champ Barb Spencer knocked Streich to the B-side with a 9-3 triumph.

Streich, who is supported by Julie Bueckert, Robin Campbell and Kyla Denisuik, isn't surprised that she hasn't qualified for the Scott yet. It's just been that kind of year.

"We just haven't been able to put consistent games together," Streich said prior to last night's loss. "We'll have one bad end, you know? We'll play well for six or seven (ends), or start slow. We haven't been able to put games together. That's what's been so frustrating.

"We didn't qualify for one thing this year. That's the first time in eight years. Even when we were just learning to curl we qualified."

Streich's title defence at the fall berth bonspiel ended with a 9-8 loss to Morden's Lori Manning in a B-side qualifier. Then, during the city zone playdowns in Selkirk, Streich lost both the A and B finals -- in extra ends, no less -- to St. Vital's Kristy Jenion.

"I wasn't upset to hear that the zones were in Selkirk, because that's my home rink, but the bottom line is you have to curl well," Streich said.

Two more bounces didn't go Streich's way this week. Her regular league game, which she had hoped to use as a tuneup, was cancelled, and Campbell, her second, isn't playing this weekend because she has a big accounting test next weekend.

Rhonda Varnes, who skipped a team in the provincial junior women's championship last week in Brandon, has taken Campbell's place.

If that isn't enough, Streich has lost in the final of the Women's Bonspiel twice.

Since it can't get any worse, Streich figures it will only get better.

"That's what I'm hoping for," she said.

As for other big names in search of a Scott berth, St. Vital's Lisa Fargey topped Janet Harvey 9-7 and then trounced Samantha Owen 10-3 yesterday, Stonewall's Patti Burtnyk hammered Michelle Schoemperlen 10-3, St. Vital's Karen Porritt lost 7-6 to Terry Ursel and Brandon's Liza Park fell 11-3 to Joelle Duguid. 


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