Just happy to be back on the ice says NZ Women's winner

Anton Hood
The Anton Hood four, skipped by Peter de Boer, are the 2020 NZ Men's curling champions. Photo © Janyne Fletcher / NZCA

6 Aug 2020 – A perfect 6-0 record in the Women's double round-robin earned Bridget Becker, Nat Thurlow, Thivya Jeyaranjan, Eloise Pointon and Olivia Russell the title of 2020 NZ Women's curling champions last weekend, just a month after the MCI Naseby rink reopened following the Covid-19 shutdown.

It was a much tighter affair in the Men's competition, with four of the seven teams still in contention for a place in the final when the last round-robin session started on Sunday morning.

When Team Hamish Walker shook hands to concede their game to Dan Mustapic's side, the Garion Long four were assured of being one of the two finalists. Long went on to make doubly sure, topping the leaderboard with an extra end win over Peter Becker.

The other finalist was decided in a shootout between Scott Backer and the Peter de Boer skipped Anton Hood team. Consecutive steals of the third and fourth ends had the latter in control, and they went on to book their spot in the final 7-3,

In the final, Team Hood stole the fourth and fifth ends to take what seemed like a winning 5 point lead before two precision draws in the next from Garion Long saw the gap narrow to 3. However the Hood side controlled the end game to run out 6-3 winners. Scott Becker took the bronze medal match 9-3 over Dan Mustapic.

Bridget Becker's side won their first five games with an end to spare but had to dig deep in their last against Team Jess Smith, scrapping their way to steal the last two ends for a 7-6 win and a clean sweep.

Jess Smith and cousin Courtney Smith had a win apiece from their double round-robin encounters, but their decider in the silver medal match was convincingly won by the former.

"We've had a great weekend, it's been fun," said 11-time champion Bridget Becker after the presentations. "We came out with no expectations, and we hadn't played together as a team. We just came out to enjoy it – happy to be back out on the ice and curling, after everything that's happened this year."