26 Jun 2011 – The best traditions of curling – great camaraderie and sportsmanship – were celebrated in Otago in late June during New Zealand Curling's 125th Jubilee. These traditions were continued throughout the 2011 NZ Under-21 Curling Championships said Darren Carson, the Chief Umpire.
He congratulated the two Women's and three Men's sides on their consistently high standard of play while contesting a close tussle for the titles in Naseby from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 June.
A mixed round robin for all teams preceded a best-of-three final for the Men's and Women's finals.
|Men's winners, L-R: Tim McMillan, Willy Miller, Michael Smith, Sam Miller, Liam Dowling|
The least experienced of the Men's sides included 2 members of next year's mixed Youth Olympic squad and they certainly ran some of their more seasoned counterparts close, before taking third place in the competition.
In the first of the deciding Men's games Team Miller, the defending champions and current national Men's side, took 3 single steals in the first four ends. That proved the difference as they beat the challengers Team Ford 5-3, who had to play the tournament with only three players following a pre-tournament injury to second Jed Tan.
Team Miller started the second of the final matches in style. With their opponents looking likely to engineer a steal, skip Sam Miller pulled out a double takeout to sit on the button and give his side 3. Kieran Ford kept his side in the game with a couple of tough shots to save, and then capitalized on a rare mistake to take 3 and trail by 2 with two ends remaining. The sides shook hands after the seventh though, another three to Miller giving them the match 10-5 and the Junior Men's title.
The first of the Women's final matches was played on Saturday evening. Defending champions Team Farley didn't play poorly, but were blitzed 11-3 by Brittany Taylor's Hotshots, her whole team having an outstanding match.
|Women's winners, L-R: Chelsea Farley, Tessa Farley, Thivya Jeyaranjan, Jess Zinsli|
In the first rematch on Sunday morning the tables were reversed, Team Farley leading throughout to win 10-5.
The Women's decider in the afternoon was tied at 4-4 after 6 ends, and a steal to Chelsea Farley's side had them leading by one coming home but without hammer. They held two well-guarded shots on the last, meaning Brittany Taylor needed a draw into the four-foot to force an extra end.
The line was perfect but it her stone came up a metre short, so Team Farley took the match 6-4 and with it the Junior Women's championship.
National Team Selection
At the prize-giving selector Peter Becker also commended all players on the high standard of curling. They had made the selector's task a difficult one, and he advised that the naming of the national Under-21 sides would be delayed while they considered their options. He also confirmed that both NZ Junior sides would play in the upcoming 100% Pure NZ Winter Games against international sides, a great opportunity to play against some of the world's best players.