Experience wins at NZ Championships

Team Peter de Boer
Sweepers Jamie Chisholm and Phil Dowling are urged on by skip Peter de Boer

8 Jul 2019 – Experience triumphed over youth (just) at the 2019 New Zealand Curling Championships when Team Bridget Becker won the Women's title and Team Peter de Boer the Men's.

The only time de Boer led the Men's final was after the last stone of the game had been thrown, when they recorded a 4-2 win over Matt Neilson's Junior Men's side.

Neither side dominated the game, thanks to some terrific shot-making by both teams – starting with a cross-house double take-out in the second end from Neilson's fourth-stone player Anton Hood, which prompted a blank end from de Boer.

It took a well-crafted steal in the final end for de Boer, Kenny Thomson, Jamie Chisholm and Phil Dowling to claim the victory.

Team Bridget Becker took an early lead in the Women's final against Jess Smith, and then retained it throughout another tight game to win 5-3.

Becker defended her 2018 title, as did her teammates Nat Thurlow and Eloise Pointon, while Cass Becker replaced Abby Peddie from last year's winners.

This was Bridget Becker's tenth NZ Women's title. Nat Thurlow now has seven to her credit, Cass Becker three and Eloise Pointon two.

At the medal ceremony, Peter Becker made the first presentation of the new Wendy Becker Sportsmanship Trophy to Jennifer Stewart and Warren Dobson. They were selected by the athletes as best representing the values of sportsmanship that Wendy typified. It will be awarded annually to one male and one female curler at this event.

The four Women's teams played an initial double round robin, topped by Jess Smith with five wins and a draw. Bridget Becker won her last preliminary game to claim the other place in the final.

Team Courtney Smith won the third-place playoff 8-4 over Thivya Jeyaranjan.

The Men played in two crossover pools, where de Boer and Scott Becker topped Pool A with a 3-1 win-loss record, and Neilson topped the second pool with the same 3-1 tally.

Iain Craig and Garion Long both finished on 2-2, but it was Craig who went through to semi-finals with a better pre-game draw shot average. Scott Becker went on to beat Craig 10-3 for the bronze medal.

The winning Men's skip (and National Coach) Peter de Boer had words of encouragement for the losing finalists after the event.

"I've played in a few national championship finals, both in Scotland and New Zealand, and I've lost a lot more than I've won," he said. "So I know what it feels like for both of the younger runners-up, and believe me you learn from these experiences."

"When you add this to the quality and consistency of your game that we've seen this weekend, I know it will come and soon. And in the bigger picture, it's also great to see the improvement in standard from all of the next wave coming through. We're in a good place right now."