Time on their side

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

NEEPAWA -- Time was on their side in more ways than one.

Curling's Kirkness sisters decided it was time to reunite, then took advantage of the clock ticking down on their opponents.

Fort Rouge's Barb Spencer (nee Kirkness) cracked a four in the 10th end to beat clubmate Karen Porritt 10-7 in the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts before a nearly-packed house at the Yellowhead Arena yesterday.

Porritt was so rushed in the fateful final end that she missed both her shots. She had 16 seconds left to throw her last rock and Spencer didn't need to use the hammer.

"We got pretty fortunate there that both teams were short on time but it affected them a little more than us," Spencer said. "We've been to quite a few finals so we're used to this. That doesn't mean the emotions aren't there."

Porritt could only wonder what might have been after losing yet another provincial final.

"We didn't manage the time in that game," Porritt said, tears welled in her eyes. "It went back and forth and it was a great game. But it's too bad it affected the outcome because we couldn't play that last end the way we wanted. We didn't have time to finish."

Without her older sister, Darcy Robertson, at third, Spencer lost last year's final to St. Vital's Jennifer Jones. Skipping her own squad, Robertson lost the final to Jones the year before.

'MISSING PIECE'

"I'm just so happy to have my sister back here and I think this was the key to our success," said Spencer, 42. "She's kind of the glue that keeps our family together and it was time for both of us to get back together ... We thought, 'Maybe we needed to be together to win this thing,' and I'm very happy that she's beside me."

Spencer said Robertson was "the missing piece of the puzzle" before the week started.

"I think we're a good combination and we needed to be together to win this thing, and we did," said Robertson.

It is third time the sisters have won the women's provincials together. With second Brette Richards, 25, and lead Barb Enright, 43, Spencer will represent Manitoba at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria, B.C., Feb. 21-March 1.

"I'm feeling great," Spencer said. "I am so excited to go back to the Scott. This has been a dream ... We know how great it is to go out there so we're really looking forward to it. We think we have the team that can possibly go (win) this."

While Enright will also be going for the third time, this is the first trip for Richards.

"It feels good," said Richards, who moved here from Prince George, B.C., two years ago. "Last year was a big disappointment when we lost the final, so it took us a while to get back to that game and win it this time.

"(Losing last year) makes this one sweeter."

In 2003, Spencer said she was nervous skipping at the nationals for the first time in Kitchener, Ont., where she put up a 4-7 record.

"We weren't happy with our record but I feel that we are playing better this year," Spencer said. "We're a better team and we don't want to go to nationals unless we have a chance to win it."

Jones will also be in Victoria as Team Canada.


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