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The Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish Curling Women’s Championship Final was contested between Hannah Fleming and her team of Abigail Brown (lead), Alice Spence (second) & Jennifer Dodds (third) and Kerry Barr’s team of Barbara McPake (lead), Rhiann Macleod (second) and Rachael Simms (third). It was great to see an almost full stand of spectators to support the teams in action at Dewars Centre, Perth on Sunday morning.

It was a typical first end for a final with both teams keeping it open and allowing the players time to settle their nerves. Team Fleming blanked the end and retained hammer going into the second.

Barbara McPake put up a close centre guard with the first stone of the second end and both teams made play around it throughout the end trying to get a stone hidden. After a hit and roll out to the edge of the twelve foot, both teams exchanged a few hit and sticks and with Hannah’s last stone, she attempted a hit and roll in order to blank the end but slipped past on the wide side, giving up a score of one to Team Barr.

In the third end, Hannah faced one shot against with her last but as it was a tricky shot to remove, she opted to draw and took her one to level the score at 1-1.

When Rhiann Macleod caught a centre guard at the wrong angle in the fourth end, she opened up a Team Barr shot which Team Fleming made a play on to lie two. Team Barr were looking in trouble but two consecutive double take outs by Rachael Simms relieved some of the pressure and Team Barr were able to blank the end to keep the score at 1-1 with hammer going into the fifth end.

Prior to Kerry’s first shot in the fifth end, Team Barr lay one shot in the open and Team Fleming lay second shot at the back of the twelve foot behind cover. Kerry attempted a come around which stayed slightly high leaving her shot open but she importantly lay two shots and asked the question of Hannah to make a hit and roll to lie in first shot position. Hannah made the hit but rolled too far leaving Kerry a draw into the 8 foot for a score of two which she did to go 3-1 ahead into the break.

Team Fleming made good use of their corner guard in the sixth and after Team Barr removed the guard, Team Fleming capitalised by splitting the house to lie three shots. Rachael Simms was asked to play a double take out but didn’t make contact with any stones putting Team Fleming into a very good position. Jennifer Dodds’ first stone left a double take-out chance for Rachael Simms which Rachael made to make up for her first stone. Jennifer then played a hit and roll for Team Fleming once again to lie three but it was followed by a thin double from Kerry Barr to relieve a little pressure. Hannah made a solid hit and stick with her last stone to score two shots and level the scores again at 3-3.

Barr final webA crucial miss from Alice Spence in the seventh end allowed Team Barr to split the house and go after their two. It was a cat and mouse game for the remainder of the end until Hannah Fleming made a super double take out and lie with her first stone; Team Barr blanked the end to retain hammer.

Play was generated around a centre guard in end eight with Team Fleming trying to make it as difficult as possible for Team Barr to score two. When Jennifer Dodds clipped the centre guard to leave two corner guards, Team Barr capitalised to lie three. Jennifer Dodds then clipped the corner guard with her second stone and it spun into a good second position hidden being the tee. Team Barr called a time-out to get advice from coach Keith MacLennan and following the advice, Rachael Simms removed the corner guard to open up a path to Team Fleming’s shot. Hannah played a hit but rolled too far leaving Kerry to nose hit to lie three. A huge shot in the game by Hannah Fleming was made when she played a double but it still left Kerry a draw into the 12 foot to take two shots and go 5-3 ahead into the ninth end.

Team Fleming struggled in the ninth end to create an opportunity to take two. Hannah had a good effort with her first stone to corner freeze on a Team Barr shot but it was removed by Kerry Barr for Team Barr to lie four shots. There was an open path to the centre and Hannah attempted a draw for one but it fell short and gave Team Barr a score of four. With a deficit of six shots, Team Fleming conceded the game.

Commenting on their win, Skip Kerry Barr said, “It was a really good game, Hannah’s team played really great shots as well but we managed to knuckle down at the end of the game and get the mistake out of her”. On the vital eighth end she continued, “It’s important to score in the eighth end and it was nice to go two up so we were always planning to force the one there in ninth and then the ninth went more our way as well”.

Barbara McPake, Rhiann Macleod, Rachael Simms and Kerry Barr (pictured with coach Keith MacLennan) take the title of 2014 Scottish Curling Women’s Champions and will represent Scotland at the World Championship in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada from 15-23 March. Kerry Barr said “Canada is the place you want to go to curl because it’s so big of there and I’m just so happy to be representing Scotland”

For full line scores and standings click Scottish Curling Championships

Photos: Tom Brydone.

Scottish Juniors