It's Scharf vs. Middaugh

DONALD DUENCH, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 12:29 PM ET

Krista Scharf found herself in an uncomfortable position yesterday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial women's curling championship.

She was ahead. Big time.

"I always get more nervous when we're up," Scharf said after her team clinched a spot in the final with an 11-5 win over Ottawa's Jenn Hanna in the Page Playoff 1-2 game at the Dixie Curling Club in Mississauga.

Hanna, who finished first in the round-robin at 8-1, was fortunate that the loser of the 1-2 game gets a second chance to reach the final. However, Hanna lost to Sherry Middaugh 8-7 in the semi-final last night, sending Middaugh, of the Coldwater & District Curling Club, to the final.

Middaugh gave Hanna a chance to get back into that game with a miss in the ninth end, which let Hanna score two and get within a point. But needing to steal in the 10th, Hanna's attempt to draw to be shot rock with her final stone didn't curl enough.

"We just have to be a bit sharper (today),"Middaugh said.

When Scharf steps on the ice at 1:30 p.m. today, she will be skipping in the provincial final for the third consecutive year. She won last year in Fort Frances, defeating Uxbridge's Janet McGhee, but lost to Hanna in the 2005 final in Ottawa.

"All of us beared down," Scharf said, referring to vice Tara George, second Tiffany Stubbings and lead Lorraine Lang.

Scharf's team, representing the Fort William Curling Club, took advantage of two uncharacteristic Hanna miscues to lead 5-1 after three ends.

COULDN'T MAKE IT

In the first end, Hanna had a makeable draw to the four-foot to score two instead of one, but her rock didn't even make the house.

After Scharf scored two with the hammer in the second, she put the pressure on Hanna in the third with a soft tap-back to lie three and block most of the four-foot. A draw to the sliver of the four-foot that was left would have given Hanna a point, but again she was light, wrecking on a guard.

Hanna's next decision was to call a timeout before her team's first rock of the fourth end to alter the order of the red-handled stones each player would throw.

Scharf forced Hanna to take a point in the fourth, and followed that with a three-pointer in the fifth and a steal of one in the sixth for a 9-2 lead, effectively putting the game away.


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