Manitoba’s best junior curlers were in Stonewall during the weekend for the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour’s Stonewall Junior Classic bonspiel. The Matt Dunstone rink from the West Kildonan Curling Club, won the junior men’s event and the Kristy Watling rink from Stonewall Curling Club won the junior women’s event.
24 teams, 12 in each category, competed for a $500 grand prize during the weekend of Oct. 5-7.
Dunstone went undefeated over the weekend, winning four games in a row, and defeated the Jordan Smith team by a score of 8-2 in six ends. Dunstone’s team consists of third Colton Lott, second Dan Grant and lead Brendan MacCuish.
“It’s good to get off to a quick start to the year,” Dunstone said. “It gets us rolling early.”
The Dunstone team was able to stick to their game plan and put continuous pressure on the Smith team and it paid off.
In the fifth end Smith attempted to freeze on one of Dunstone’s rocks. It over curled and put a Dunstone guard into the house. With the last rock, Dunstone had a hit to take four and control of the game. He was leading 7-2 at that point.
In the sixth end, Dunstone made a double to sit two with his last rock. Smith attempted a hit for one point but rolled too far to the outside and gave up a single.
“Our bread and butter is peeling, so we just kept going on with that,” Dunstone said of the final end.
Smith had his chances. In the third end he had a draw to the four-foot for two, which would have tied the game at three, but he couldn’t capitalize.
In the junior women’s final, the Kristy Watling rink upset the Selena Kaatz rink. Watling ran Kaatz out of rocks in the eighth end to win the game 6-3.
Watling, who plays with third Kristen Ambrozik, second Kendra Derbowka and lead Leanne Klos, kept Kaatz to three singles in the second, third and fifth ends.
The turning point was in the fourth end. Watling was down 2-1 with the hammer and were sitting first and second shot. Kaatz attempted to throw a draw behind cover with her last rock but was heavy. Watling had an open draw for three and took advantage of it. With the 4-2 lead, they didn’t look back.
Down 5-3 in the seventh end, Kaatz had the hammer and an opportunity to pick up points. Her team was sitting two just behind the button with only a small port in front of the house. Watling slid her final shot through the port to sit shot rock. Kaatz, who had already made it through the port, attempted to follow Watling in for a single, but she racked on guards out front.
After losing their first game on Friday, the Watling team qualified through the B-event. Sunday was a tiring day for the team.
“Going into the final game my team and I were pretty tired considering we had just played two back-to-back games before that,” Watling said. “Our goal in the final game was to relax and take it easy and not worry about the result.”
The Watling team’s goal for the weekend was to qualify and they exceeded those expectations. Watling noted that she saw a big improvement in her team’s play after losing their first game.
“I think my team’s play was pretty consistent after the first game. We just had to work out the kinks of that game and move forward to the next one and that’s exactly what we did.”
The Stonewall Classic is the second MJCT bonspiel of the season. The next MJCT event will be held in Petersfield. It takes place Nov. 8-11.