Courtney Smith and Matt Neilson claim Junior titles

Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith encourages her sweepers. Photo: Janyne Fletcher

15 Jul 2019 – After six rounds of games over three days, Teams Courtney Smith and Matt Neilson claimed the 2019 Women's and Men's titles at the New Zealand Junior Curling Championships in Naseby over the weekend.

A feature of the competition was the tightness of many of the matches – particularly the Men's. Although there were only three Men's teams entered, the six curlers with international experience were spread across the three teams so played with younger emerging talent.

Team Matt Neilson dropped their first game 5-4 after trailing throughout, and after the first full round robin, the three sides had recorded a win and a loss each.

Neilson won the opening two games of the second round, so he and Anton Hood, Sam Flanagan and Ben Voice sat out their bye game in the last round with the title already secure.

Hamish Walker stole the last two ends of that last Men's game to head Ben Smith 6-5 for the silver medal.

Team Courtney Smith looked unstoppable through the first two Women's rounds, but Ruby Kinney slowed their march in the third round by holding the eventual champions to an 8-8 draw.

Both sides won their first two games in the second round, and when they came into their final round match Kinney needed a win to finish level on the points table, whereas a draw was enough for Smith.

Courtney Smith, Lucy Neilson, Zoe Harman, Anna Stuart and Mya Miller were in full control though, and took the game 10-3.

Team Grace Apuwai-Bishop won the bronze.