|L-R: Winners Josh Dallow, Iain Craig, Tessa Farley, Holly Gosse|
5 Jun 2012 – The first national title of the season has been decided.
Iain Craig and his team of Tessa Farley, Josh Dallow and Holly Gosse won the 2012 NZ Mixed Fours Championship in Auckland on Queen’s Birthday Weekend.
Team Craig beat the top qualifiers Kieran Ford, Eleanor Adviento, Brett Sargon and Kelsi Heath in an engaging final at the Paradice Avondale rink.
The 5 teams played a full round robin, and the evenness of the field was well demonstrated to nervous organisers as the final round of games was coming to an end. With just the skips’ stones to come in the last end of the last round robin match a 5-way tie in standings, with each team having a 2 win - 2 loss record, was a distinct possibility.
The two youngest sides in the event fought out a nailbiter in this game. Team Garion Long (average age 17) had a semi-protected shot stone and hammer advantage, but narrowly missed a take-out with their second-to-last shot that would have seen them sitting the 2 shots they needed to tie the scores. Then with his last stone Kieran Ford found the Long counter and made the game safe for his side (average age 19). The narrow 4-3 win gave them a 3-1 win-loss record to head the leaderboard, and dropped the plucky Long side (with Waverley Taylor, Matt Hohaia, Shelley Addison-Bell and Sofia Carnvik) to 1-3.
The other 3 sides each had two wins, but it was Team Craig that advanced to the final as they had beaten both of the other tied teams.
Team Ford jumped out to a big lead when they took 4 in the first end, but Team Craig replied with a 3, and skip Iain Craig’s experience told as he followed up to manufacture steals through the following three ends.
Ford then needed to score 4 to win in the last end, and with his final shot to come he had a very tough chance to do just that – a double run-back take-out to remove Craig’s second stone and count 4. The attempt drifted millimetres wide though to clip a guard, and when the granite settled Team Craig had a 7-5 win to take the title.
Iain Craig became the third consecutive Scot to skip the winning team, following Kenny Thomson (2010) and Kenny Williamson (2011). It is also a memorable season for lead Holly Gosse, who now has a national title on her CV in her first season of curling!
The playoff for third and fourth was a replay of last year’s final. This time though the 2011 result was reversed as Al Langille, Glenys Taylor, Peter Taylor and Anne Huddleston recorded a 4-3 victory over defending champions Kenny Williamson, Liz Matthews, Ian Ford and Pauline Farra.