KILLARNEY — All Darcy Robertson needed to do to keep her Manitoba Scotties win streak alive was to orchestrate three straight steals while playing her sister in a nail-biter with big playoff ramifications on the line.
No big deal, right?
Well, she did it. On Friday morning, Robertson squeaked 6-5 past rival Barb Spencer, stealing singles in each of the last three ends to secure the win. It was a razor-sharp match, and a comeback win that came right down to the wire.
It was, Robertson agreed, the most intense tilt of her Scotties thus far, and not just because it was against her sister.
Though it was always tight, Spencer controlled much of the early going. After opening the game by trading a few singles, she stole one in the fourth, and orchestrated a sixth-end deuce to take a 5-2 lead playing seven.
"They played great," Robertson said. "We were trying to chase all game. They made some great shots, and we were trying to put pressure on them, and they kept coming back with another great draw, or hit. It was a battle out there."
Robertson had to settle for a force in the seventh, but then clawed her way back in. She stole one in the eighth, another in nine when Spencer's final draw stopped a hair too short; that tied them up at 5-5 coming home.
In the 10th, Spencer's last shot struck granite in an attempted hit for one. But her shooter rolled out the house, leaving a lone Robertson counter that had only been jostled around — and that brought out the handshakes.
With the win, Robertson rose to 5-0 on the week. Spencer, still very much in the playoff mix, dipped to 4-1.
That leaves only Robertson and Kerri Einarson — perched atop the same round-robin pool — without a loss in Killarney. They will face each other at 4 p.m., a battle that could very well determine top spot in the pool.
For Robertson, getting the adrenaline pumping in the morning match could be an advantage going in.
"It's good, because you have to be under the pressure to win this thing," Robertson said, looking ahead to the next game. "A little pressure earlier on is probably a good thing. You have to make your shots under this kind of intensity."
Spencer and Einarson, meanwhile, will close out their round-robin against each other Saturday morning.
Einarson, the 2016 Manitoba champion and second seed here at Shamrock Centre, polished her perfect record to 5-0 with a breezy 9-1 win over Jennifer Clark-Rouire. The teams shook after just five ends, and two straight steals.
Friday's action won't end there. There are three more draws to come today, with explosive matches in every round.
At 12:15 p.m., Shannon Birchard (3-1) will go head-to-head against Briane Meilleur (2-2). It's a must-win for Meilleur, who suffered losses to Alyssa Calvert and Joelle Brown earlier in the Scotties; three losses here is usually too many.
In that draw, Jennifer Jones (3-1) will take on Kristy Watling (2-2), a former junior fixture making her ladies' debut.
Brown (3-1) put herself in the driver's seat here, with upset wins over Meilleur and Jones. She will end her week against lower seeds, starting today with Jennifer Briscoe (1-3); taking two of three will clinch at least a tiebreaker.
With all of that in mind, Birchard's game against Jones — 7:45 p.m. tonight — will be a pressure cooker.
The 2018 Manitoba Scotties round-robin wraps up Saturday, with two last draws. Page playoffs kick off Saturday evening, with the semifinal and final set for Sunday. Those last two matches will be broadcast live on Sportsnet.