Jennifer Jones of Team Manitoba hollers instructions to her teammates. Mark Brett/Western News

Opening day of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Saturday was day one of the annual Scotties Tournament of Hearts

by Matthew Abrey, special to the Western News

The trio of Van Osch sisters from Nanaimo dropped their first Scotties match as Team BC, with a 6-2 loss to defending Scotties champions, Michelle Englot and Team Canada.

“I think we played okay overall,” said skip Kesa Van Osch after the loss. “But you know, they’re a really good team and they played really well, and we just weren’t quite good enough today”

“We just got to focus on our next game.”

It was an ultra-strategic, chess game of a match. Team Canada went up 1-0 after the first end, but skip Kesa Van Osch’s rink managed to blank the next end and curl a stone around a cluster of high-sitting rocks to tie it up ‪at 1-1‬ in the third.

Team Canada responded in the fourth, dropping a shot into the back of the house to regain a narrow 2-1 lead, but Van Osch once again blanked the fifth, keeping the hammer for the sixth end. The Team BC skip, who was curling 97 per cent through five ends dropped a shot past a crowded upper house to tie it up once again ‪at 2-2‬.

Team Canada kept the seventh end scoreless, setting Englot up to claim two points in the eighth with the hammer after Van Osch flubbed the second-last rock of the end.

Team Canada once again grabbed two in the ninth, after Van Osch couldn’t quite make a near-impossible shot to keep the deficit at two.

Englot sealed the deal for her Winnipeg-based rink in the tenth, making a fantastic shot to force Van Osch’s rink to shake hands, to a tune of a 6-2 Team Canada victory.

“We stayed patient,” said Englot on her rink’s first win. “We’re still getting a feel for the ice and under-threw some shots, and we need to get off to a better start next game, but other than that we played really well and we’re feeling good about how things are looking”.

In one of the three other matches in Pool B ‪Saturday afternoon‬, Team Nunavut, ranked 15th out of the 16 teams, received a roaring ovation from the 2593-member audience, scoring their first point in the fourth end, after finding themselves down 5-0 through the first three ends. They would add one more, but ultimately fell 9-2 after a shortened eight-end match.

On sheet B, Team Newfoundland and Labrador took an 11-6 victory over Robyn MacPhee’s Prince Edward Island rink after MacPhee failed to draw to the button to keep her team in the game in the ninth end.

And on sheet C, Casey Scheidegger’s Alberta rink edged out Team Ontario and skip Hollie Duncan using a mad sweep to the button on the final shot of the match to capture a tight 6-5 win.

Van Osch’s Team BC plays ‪tomorrow at 9‬ a.m. against Team Nunavut, and again ‪at 7 p.m.‬ against Robyn MacPhee’s PEI rink, while Team Canada also plays ‪at 9 a.m.‬ and ‪7‬ p.m. against Quebec, followed by Team Alberta.

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Jennifer Jones gives the thumbs up after winning the Ford Hot Rocks event that earned her team $15,000 and Penticton’s Arlene Kolundzic a two-year lease on a Ford Escape SE. Mark Brett/Western News

Opening ceremonies Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton for the annual Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Mark Brett/Western News

Team Canada Lead Raunora Westcott watches her delivery in the open round match against Team BC at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts that got underway Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Mark Brett/Western News

Team BC skip Kesa Van Osch delivers a rock in her match with Team Canada in the first match Saturday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton. Mark Brett/Western News

Marika Van Osch of Team BC and teammate Amy Gibson usher this rock into the house in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Saturday in Penticton. Mark Brett/Western News

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