21 Mar 2011 – New Zealand Curling's 125th Jubilee season got under way in Naseby over the weekend with the MCI Open Doubles championship.
It was Sean and Bridget Becker – with a valuable "assist" from NZ Under-21 rep Thivya Jeyaranjan – who started the year with an impressive win.
The tournament was run along Mixed Doubles rules, the critical difference being that the make-up of the teams was open. Two of the sides were looking for valuable match practice before next month's World Mixed Doubles Championship – Hugh Millikin and Kim Forge (Australia), and NZ's Sean and Bridget.
Pool matches ran from Friday evening through to Sunday morning and the Beckers were undefeated to top Pool A with 5 wins. Nelson Ede and Brydie Donald edged out Dave Greer and Richard Morgan for the other qualifying spot after both teams finished with a 3-2 record.
John and Natalie Campbell qualified from the other pool with High and Kim, both on 3 wins.
A 5 point end was the deciding factor in the Trans-Tasman semi-final, the Beckers winning 8-3. The other semi was much tighter as Nelson and Brydie took a one point victory over John and Natalie.
Sunday's schedule was brought forward to assist Bridget Becker who was unable to get a later flight, and by agreement she was able to be "subbed" part-way through the final. Sean and Bridget had 4-1 lead halfway through the 8-end game when Bridget had to leave and Thivya Jeyaranjan came on in her place. She proved an able replacement as she and Sean carried on to take the match 9-4.
Hugh and Kim took some consolation when they led throughout the playoff for third.
At St Paul next month the Becker siblings will be keen to repeat their medal-winning performance at last year's World Mixed Doubles – NZ's first ever World Championship medal. No doubt Hugh will also welcome the chance to add a medal to the bronze he won with his Senior Men's side at last year World Seniors, also Australia's first world medal.
|1st||Sean & Bridget (Thivya)||9||-||4||Nelson & Brydie||2nd|
|3rd||Hugh & Kim||8||-||4||John & Natalie||4th|
|Sean & Bridget||8||-||3||Hugh & Kim|
|Nelson & Brydie||5||-||4||John & Natalie|
|1||Sean Becker & Bridget Becker||5||0||W||W||W||W||W|
|2||Nelson Ede & Brydie Donald||3||2||L||W||W||L||W|
|3||Dave Greer & Richard Morgan||3||2||L||L||W||W||W|
|4||Carolyn Cooney & John Sanders||2||3||L||L||L||W||W|
|5=||Tessa Farley & Kieran Ford||1||4||L||W||L||L||L|
|5=||Christine Diack & Helen Greer||1||4||L||L||L||L||W|
|1||John Campbell & Natalie Campbell||3||1||W||W||L||W|
|2||Hugh Millikin & Kim Forge||3||1||L||W||W||W|
|3||Peter Becker & Wendy Becker||2||2||L||L||W||W|
|4=||Thivya Jeyaranjan & Chelsea Farley||1||3||W||L||L||L|
|4=||Luke Steel & David Weyer||1||3||L||L||L||W|