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Regina’s Schultz takes top spot in Western Canada shuffleboard tournament

Late-game comeback leads to 40-2 victory over Manitoba’s Lynne Sutton
For much of the Western Canada Shuffleboard Tournament championship final, Regina’s Rick Schultz didn’t have a lot of luck.

He had trailed Manitoba’s Lynne Sutton throughout the game and found himself down 22-8 with only three ends remaining. Complicating matters even further was his inability to score over the previous six ends, leaving himself in a tough position heading home.

But things can change in a hurry in shuffleboard, and they most definitely did in this case.

Schultz would score 17 points to all of a sudden find himself with a three-point lead. The very next frame, disaster struck for Sutton -- she’d attempt a draw on her final shot and ended up ‘in the kitchen’, or at the very end of the board, and would lose 10 points. Just like that, Schultz led 32-12, and after Sutton took another minus-10 in the final end, would take a 40-2 victory.

“I thought she had the game all away along, but when you end up in the kitchen, it’s a big turnaround and that’s the way the game goes,” Schultz said shortly after receiving congratulations from the assembled onlookers. 

“I was just trying to stay on the board and count up some points, you do that and the other opposing player loses a few points things can change in a hurry… when it’s this close, you always have to think what you’re next move is going to be.”

A total of 57 players from all over Western Canada took part in the tournament at Timothy Eaton Centre this past week, making for a long run to the title game. Schultz defeated Dennis Robinson, Alice Moore and Marietta Spenser to reach the quarter-final. There, he downed Earl Berard and followed with a victory over Stan Prime in the semifinal to earn his berth in the title game.

“This has been my really lucky week. Not only did I win all my games, at the banquet I won the 50/50 draw and then another $25 draw and now I get a trophy,” Schultz said with a laugh.

Sutton, meanwhile, defeated Aime Archer, Gord Pollock and Bob Nunweiler in her first three contests before taking a semifinal win over Jane McWillie and defeating Donna Crouch in the semifinal.

Prime took a 26-5 win over Crouch in the third-place game.

While there was plenty of close competition through the week, another theme was part and parcel with the festivities -- just having a chance to get back together again and play the game they love.

“This is the only tournament I play in Canada, usually I’m down in Arizona and shuffle down there. But of course the last two years there hasn’t been much going on,” Schultz said. “It’s great to get together again. You’re isolated for over a year and it’s nice to be back playing with friends… and win you win, it’s even better.”