Battle of Alberta in finalManitoba's last hope hammered in semi
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
|Skip Renee Sonnenberg delivers a rock during the women's grand slam of curling in Winnipeg on Monday Oct. 24, 2011. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - First, she executed a difficult shot to eliminate Manitoba’s last hope.
Then, Renee Sonnenberg jumped to a 5-0 lead and hung on to eke out an 8-7 victory over fellow Albertan Heather Nedohin in the Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Curling Classic final at the Fort Rouge Curling Club on Monday night.
“It’s so exciting for our team, we’ve grown so much over the last year-and-a-half we’ve been together now that it’s just hugely fun,” said Sonnenberg, who collected the $15,000 top prize.
Nedohin made a raise-takeout to score two in the third and stole two in the fourth to pull within 5-4. In the seventh, she made a great shot with the hammer to score three to tie the match 7-7.
“Against a team like Heather and really nice, swingy ice like this, its hard to keep the lead and sometimes, you just have to play offence,” said Sonnenberg, supported by third Lawnie MacDonald, second Kristie Moore and Rona Pakika.
“It was a bit of a struggle,” said Nedohin (David’s wife), speaking barely above a whisper. “We got down early but tried to grind it out and make a game of it.”
That she did and will go home with $10,000.
“We’ve had a slow start to our season and this was a big booster for us,” Nedohin said.
Sonnenberg won the 1999 and 2001 Alberta titles, but had lost five finals since then.
“That’s a long time now and it’s time to go back,” said Sonnenberg, 40. “So, this was a good thing for us to feel like we might break through and give us the confidence that we can play with all the big teams again.”
Sonnenberg had executed a difficult in-off with the hammer in an extra end to eliminate Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham 5-4 in a semifinal. Nedohin had defeated Alberta’s Bernard 6-2 in the other semifinal. Overton-Clapham and Bernard pocketed $6,000 each.
Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and Darcy Robertson got $3,700 each after losing quarter-finals.
In Portage la Prairie, Manitoba’s Mike McEwen beat Alberta’s former world champion Kevin Koe 5-3 in the final to defend his title at the World/Manitoba Curling Tour’s Canad Inns Prairie Classic.
McEwen, who won $18,000, has been in three straight WCT finals, winning two.
“I can’t complain, it’s been unbelievable,” McEwen told Shaw TV. “I hope this carries into November.”
Still supported by third B.J. Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld, McEwen had defeated fellow Manitoban Sean Grassie 6-2 in one semifinal. Koe had downed Saskatchewan’s Steven Laycock 6-5. Grassie and Laycock settled for $6,000 each.
Manitoba’s reigning world champion Jeff Stoughton got $4,000 after losing a quarter-final to McEwen.