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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rogers Covers The Globe for Curling, Part II

Alberta Scotties:

Renee Sonnenberg vs. (her ex-second) Kristie Moore

Kristie Moore's winning squad lost their first two games and then ran the table, needing to come through the 3-4 game to reach the semi-finals and finals.   In the Championship Finals, the first three ends looked like the 1988 Scotties, barely a guard to be seen.  2-1 lead for Sonnenberg, with hammer. 4th end shows us the harsh realities of curling rink versus arena ice.  Renee elects to concede a steal of one by hitting the Moore rock sitting second and open, rather than attempt a soft draw tap for one.  It would have been difficult on arena ice but was likely impossible given the rink conditions.   A good decision.

A deuce in the 5th puts Renee up 4-2, but a horrible miss on her first in the 6th gives it right back.  Sonneneberg sits one on the side of the button with a Moore stone sitting half in the back twelve foot about 4/5 open.  Renee attempts to pick out the back rock (would have been difficult to make it and sit two) and instead racks on the her shot stone and leaves Moore sitting one.  With a two point lead, this was a great opportunity to take a very small risk, place a guard (my preferred option) or, if you choose to be conservative (and eliminate any remote chance at 3), draw to the open side to sit two (though you may leave a possible double).  Even if Renee makes the peel, the result of the end is a likely blank and Kristie can come back the next end with hammer.  On curling rink ice with less swing, a guard can be more valuable and have a wider room for error than on arena ice.  

A steal of two by Moore in the 7th happens with no guards in play after a missed tap by Sonnenberg third Lawnie MacDonald and missed draw on Renee's last.  Paul Webster mentions before Lawnie's last shot "they know they're going to score here".  An unintential jinx I am sure. 

In the 8th, the end begins more traditional (in the sense of four-rock-free-guard-zone-traditional), with a corner, a centre guard and 3 rocks frozen in the top tee.  Renee peels the center then Kristie elects to peel the corner, rather than put another guard.  After two hits, Renee faces this on Lawnie's first rock:

Sonnenberg is yellow

The problem with hitting the two red is there is virtually no way to avoid leaving a very makeable double.  Renee chose the hit, which was called and made, and subsequently a double made by Moore's third Blaine de Jager.  2 down with two ends to play and no useful guards in sight, Renee needs to be more aggressive here.  a freeze on the top red stones or even a tap on her own (with a roll in front of the red stones) would be preferred.  Sonnenberg is eventually forced to a single and is now down 1 without hammer and two ends to go.

After a force, Renee is able to score two in the 10th to tie (and it didn't look likely until her last).  The 11th end has Kristie in a bit of trouble with Renee able to sit two staggared behind a centre guard.  On her first, Kristie attempts a double and actually nudges the Sonnenberg stone closer (but to the side) of the button. Renee chooses to put up another guard on that side of the rings but she may have been better served to draw around the centre with the other turn and put her rock on top of the button (my preferred call), because....Kirstie, in the biggest pressue situation of her young skipping career, calmy makes an inturn draw to the pin (with help from a rub on her opponents stone) for the win.  

Grand Slam coverage coming up in Part III...

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