VIRDEN, Man – It’s official: Barb Spencer is now the most winning player in the history of the women’s provincial curling championship.
Spencer, 47, sealed the 96th win of her provincial bonspiel career with a 5-2 win over Brandon’s Kortney Teale this afternoon. The win launched her above Cathy Overton-Clapham, who had set a previous Scotties win record with 95, and put her in sight of hitting the 100 mark at Tundra Oil and Gas Place this week.
Still, the three-time provincial champion took the record in stride. "I don’t think too much about it," she said. "We’re out here just trying to win one game at a time... the most wins is just a little added bonus."
It also raised her to a perfect 3-0 record to start the round robin, after surviving an electrifying challenge from Brandon’s Kelsey Russill on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, in the afternoon draw, Russill found her first win of the tournament, a 9-5 victory over Fort Rouge Curling Club’s Joelle Brown. That brings her to 1-2 on the round robin.
Elsewhere beneath the lights at Tundra Oil and Gas Place, third-seed Michelle Montford soared 8-1 past young Winnipeg skip Shannon Birchard, who fell to 0-3, and veteran Janet Harvey lost a wild 9-8 game to Lisa Menard.
In the morning’s draw, the top seeds in the other round robin group continued to pull away from the pack. Chelsea Carey, Kerri Einarson and Darcy Robertson all skipped to their third straight Scotties win, though East St. Paul skip Einarson had to mount a big comeback to stretch her undefeated record.
To open the second day of round-robin curling, Einarson faced a challenge from 0-2 Team Quinn Sneisen, which stole a deuce in the fifth end to take a 5-2 lead. But the Einarson rink roared back to take three points in the next end, and then mounted a huge four-point eighth end and stole a deuce in the ninth frame to beat the Sneisen rink 11-6.
Also in the bonspiel’s fifth draw, top-seeded Carey handily beat Flin Flon’s Patricia Evans 11-1, while veteran Darcy Robertson eked out an 8-5 win over Kim Link and Balmoral’s Kate Cameron bested La Salle’s Deb McCreanor foursome 9-3. Cameron now holds a 2-1 record, while Link is at 1-2 and Sneisen, Evans and McCreanor are still winless after three.
The Manitoba Scotties continues with two more draws on Thursday and four on Friday. Round-robin competition winds up with two more draws on Saturday. Sixteen teams qualified for the bonspiel, divided into two round-robin groups of eight teams each. The top two finishers from each group will move onto the playoffs on Saturday and Sunday.