Otago Girls and East Otago upset in NZ School finals

2014 NZ Secondary School Championships

30 Sep 2014 – Otago Girls High School and East Otago High School supplied the upset results on home ice to win the Girls' and Boys' finals of the 2014 NZ Secondary School Curling Championships in Dunedin early this week.

OGHS skip Emma Sutherland and her team of Mhairi-Bronté Duncan, Heloise Fitzpatrick, Diana Yeritsyan and Kelsie Mee lined up in the final against Holly Thompson's Maniototo Area School. MAS had recorded one-sided wins against all comers in their round robin games and semi-final.

But it was the Dunedin team who took the early advantage in the gold medal game, covering the pin with their pre-game draw shot and winning the first three ends to put the Maniototo team under unaccustomed pressure, and to take a lead that they did not relinquish. Maniototo replied with a single in the fourth end, but a double to Otago in the next was enough for them to secure their eventual 5-2 win.

The Boys' Championship was almost a mirror image. Simon Neilson's Maniototo side were undefeated coming into the final, despite close games against Otago Boys and East Otago.

Neilson took a point with hammer in the first end of the final, but East Otago High's Cameron Bartrum, Liam McKenzie, Josh Ollerenshaw and Bob Martin won the next three ends and went on to run MAS out of stones in the last, securing their school's first ever curling trophy with a 5-3 result.

The round robin also saw plenty of competition for the playoff rounds. The Maniototo and Otago Girls sides were clear qualifiers for two of the semi-final places, but the calculators needed to come out for the other two spots as Epsom Girls, St Hildas Collegiate and Taieri College were level with a 1-3 win-loss record. Taieri were the unlucky side to miss out on the average draw shot distance, and it was the Epsom team that went on to secure bronze.

Maniototo had a perfect 4-0 record in the round robin to qualify at the head of the pack, and draw shot distance was again used to rank East Otago ahead of Birkenhead College and Otago Boys to decide the semi-final draw. OBHS went on to win the bronze medal in an extra end win against the Birkenhead side.

The young Kavanagh College team were unchallanged to win the Mixed title, and they gained valuable experience playing non-competition games against all of the Boys teams in the round robin.