It was over early for two-time Scotties champion Kelly Scott and her Kelowna mates in Friday’s tiebreaker, even though they battled down to the last gasp and forced Heather-Smith Dacey of Nova Scotia to throw her last rock to ensure a 9-8 victory.
“We thought we were finding our stride at the right moment,” said the diminutive Scott, “but we just didn’t come out to play those first few ends.”
They certainly didn’t in a lose-and-you’re-gone encounter at the Civic Centre.
After the Bluenose skip hit and stuck for a deuce in the first end which was determined on a measure, Scott missed shots in the second, third and fourth ends and tumbled 6-0 in arrears.
How was she feeling at that point?
“We were wondering if we could start over or maybe rewind?” said Scott.
“You just have to dig deep and try to make a game of it. We had some moments there that could have gone our way but they didn’t give us too many breaks.”
The win moved Nova Scotia into another sudden-death playoff fixture, the Page Three-Four fracas, set for 12 noon today against Ontario’s Rachel Homan.
The winner of this tilt will advance to the chsmpionship semi-final at 5 p.m.
“We had a game plan going in to keep the pressure on and that’s what we did,” said Smith-Dacey. “We were able to execute on that game plan early and that gave us a little breathing room.”
That proved to be a relative relief for the Nova Scotians.
“When we beat Alberta the other day with five minutes left and we had to score two in the 10th (coach and hubby) Mark said, “How do you like skipping at the national level now’?”
Much has been made of the fact Smith-Dacey isn’t a long-time skip. But she has had her share of success on the teehead.
“I’ve skipped in junior and won, and skipped in the Scotties (2004), and it came back to me really quickly,” she said.
“The team’s really behind me so that gives me confidence. We’re super excited to be where we are.”
Riding the six-point cushion, Smith-Dacey rolled out on a hit in the fifth to afford Scott an open kill for a deuce. But the Bluenosers earned that back in the next panel to run the advantage to 8-2.
Scott again put together a deuce in the seventh. Smith-Dacey blew an open draw for two in the eighth, then rolled out in the ninth to leave Scott a draw for two.
Smith-Dacey faced three B.C. counters in the 10th, sufficient to force an extra end, but erased one and rolled out to clinch what wasn’t as narrow a decision as the final score would indicate.
“You knew they’d bring it right down to the end,” said Smith-Dacey with a shrug. “In fact, Mark was mad that we gave them a steal of two in the 10th. He said I should have stuck on that last rock.”
Added Scott, who won the 2006 and 2007 renewals of the event and added a world title in 2007:
“Coming here, everybody was talking about what a fantastic field this was and we’re pretty proud that we got to through the round-robin portion and were still playing today.
“Maybe we should have picked up on our practice ice a bit better. It’s the trickiest draw ice we’ve seen at a Scotties. But it wasn’t unfair. It was swinging more than a lot of Scotties which is fantastic. But draw weight? Boy, you almost had to throw a rock in a track and learn from it for the next one. And how often do you get those freebie draws to know?
“You threw what you thought you wanted, it didn’t end up where you wanted, and what could you do? At this level you don’t want ice that’s just an automatic given. You want to have ice reading and the players out there really picking up on the conditions and using it to their advantages.
“But we got caught several times throughout the week and we found it irritatingly tricky.”