Defending champ loses opening match

John Browne
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Nichols, Strong rinks garner victories at Scotties provincial curling championships

It’s not the way defending Scotties Newfoundland and Labrador provincial women’s curling champion Stacie Devereaux wanted to start the defence of her crown and it’s definitely not the way she wants to finish.

Skip Shelley Nichols shouts during a shot at the Scotties Provincial Women’s Championships at the Re/Max Centre Wednesday night. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Devereaux fell 9-5 to Shelley Nichols and her rink of Michelle Jewer, Kelli Turpin and Rhonda Whalen in the first draw of the competition at the Re/Max Centre (St. John’s Curling Club) Wednesday night. Devereaux put the blame for the loss squarely on her shoulders. “The girls in front of me played real well, but I struggled,” said Devereaux. “Struggled the whole game.” The other first-round match saw Heather Strong and her rink of Laura Strong, Jessica Cunningham and Kathy Cooper trounce Beth Hamilton 10-2, while Stephanie Guzzwell had the bye. Devereaux, whose rink includes mate Erin Porter, second Marie Christianson and lead Noelle Thomas-Kennell, is scheduled to play Hamilton 9 a.m. this morning. Devereaux said “We had a little trouble getting a feel for the ice, but we’ll get there.” She added, “We’ll rest and we’ll be ready to go (today).” Devereaux said there’s obviously work to be done at the provincials, but she desperately wants to get back to the nationals and improve on her a 2-9 record last season. “Every year you go to a nationals is a learning experience,” said Devereaux. “We don’t get off the island as much as we’d like to, but we are definitely better than that record. “We lost three or four close games in the final end. We want to get back there to prove ourselves.” Strong, meanwhile, said, while the linescore obviously favored them in the game that lasted eight ends. “They (Hamilton rink) had some chances, but they just weren’t able to capitalize. “It was close early in the game, but then we got a little fortunate in the second half and blew it open,” noted Strong who was scheduled to take on Guzzwell in today’s 9 a.m. draw. A second draw is set for 2:30 p.m. The top two teams advance to Saturday’s playoffs, however tiebreakers could force it into Sunday. The winner of the five-rink competition will represent the province at the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal Feb. 1-9.

Organizations: Max Centre, Curling Club

Geographic location: Montreal

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