So it’s Manitoba and Alberta in the final. At the start of the week, if you’d picked this as a final, no one would have batted an eye. If you said the same thing mid-week at the Scotties, you would have been committed. Manitoba was given up for dead by almost all observers, especially the media from the Buffalo province, who like to eat their own (to be fair, we all do that). The Jones team rally has been nothing short of miraculous.
The win over Ontario yesterday was a hard-fought affair that in my opinion was more about Ontario losing than Manitoba winning. Unfortunately, once again, the Ontario gals weren’t able to close the door when they had the chance. The final end was shaping up well for Middaugh and company. I mean, how good were those first two shots thrown by Andra Harmark? Not one but two perfect chips. That was some of the most remarkable shotmaking I’ve seen by a lead in a long time. But it was compromised by the nose hit from Kim Moore and the almost-nose hit by Middaugh on her first one.
Still, I thought she’d make that last-shot double. You wonder how many men’s teams would have thrown the hit? I think Middaugh made the right call, for her. She played some great takeouts during the game.
The loss is too bad because Middaugh is a great person who probably deserves better. She is always accommodating, always pleasantly up and never has a bad word to say about anyone, not even Wayne.
If there is a curling god, Middaugh might win something bigger, perhaps the Olympic Trials?
Have to give credit, too, to Jennifer Jones for her last shot. It was absolutely perfect.
Now we get Kleibrink and Jones. Not sure who will get this one, but it should be an interesting game.