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T. Michael Hennessy, Law Office
Caruso Club
Friday, Sep. 22, 2017
Coniston Club quartet carry local hopes into Travelers provincials
2017-04-01
by Randy Pascal

Make no mistake, this is not “Team Patry” of 2010-2011.

At that time, the Coniston Curling Club quartet of Mélanie Patry (skip), Christine Dubuc (vice), Nicole Dubuc-Charbonneau (second) and Bryna Patman (lead) would represent Northern Ontario in back to back years at the national club curling championships.

This weekend, that same crew will join five other teams from across the north at the North Bay Granite Curling Club, looking to revisit the glory they enjoyed some six to seven years ago. The mere fact that their past success was enjoyed at a time when the entire foursome were still in their twenties suggests that the women enter this fourth trek to provincials (they also competed in 2015) in a somewhat different frame of mind.

“Definitely, just finding the time (to curl together) has been an issue,” noted Christine Dubuc, as the team prepared for one final night of practice in Coniston last Monday. “We’ve been taking time on and off with the team, having babies. We had a really rough start to the season, but we’ve been coming together.”

“I don’t know if we are better than we were back then or not, so we were really proud of making it (to provincials) this time.” Fair to say that this team with the fairly impressive resume is finding itself balancing between the natural competitive instinct that comes from years of top-end curling encounters, versus the reality that is life in their thirties (Patman hasn’t crossed that barrier, quite yet).

“The teams were amazing at regionals, so we were proud of having won out,” said Dubuc. “Coming into provincials and knowing you are from one of the better regions, you kind of have expectations. But last time (2015) was a bit of an eye opener, because we went to provincials and did not do well.”

“We want to do well, but we are realistic,” she continued. “I think we are a little more focused on having fun, even though you always go in to do your best. I think you’re always a little nervous every time, but we’re a little less nervous going in this time.”

Truth be told, the advent of the championship that was launched with the support of Dominion of Canada a few years back, and now enjoys the backing Travelers Canada is tailor-made for a team such as this.

“We still like the competitiveness, but the time commitment is the problem,” acknowledged Dubuc. “We still have that drive and competitiveness, yet it’s not like committing to going to provincials and playing “Team Fleury”. I think that’s why the Travelers is nice for us. Down the road, I don’t really foresee ourselves, as a team, going more competitive than where we are right now.”

Tournament Update: With three draws in the books, the Patry rink will need to close out strong in order to secure a berth in the final. The Coniston crew sports a record of 1-2, beating Lisa Wilson of Timmins 11-3 on Thursday night, but falling to both Jodi Judd from Port Arthur (7-5) and Crystal Wojtowicz from Kenora (6-3) on Friday.

The Wojtowicz enter play on Saturday as the only undefeated team, showing the way at 3-0. Jeff Brown and his rink from North Bay have mirrored that flawless mark on the men's side, with the championship encounter for both groupings set for 10:00 a.m. on Sunday.

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The local contingent came close to sending yet another entry to a Canadian curling championship, as the Chris Gordon rink from the Copper Cliff Curling Club advanced through to the semi-finals of the NOCA 2018 Brokerlink Mixed Provincials in Sault Ste Marie last weekend, before bowing out.

The team, which would see Chloe Gordon (vice), Matt Gordon (second) and Deb Beitschat (lead) join skip Chris Gordon, completed round robin play deadlocked atop the standings with Charlie Robert (Community First CC – SSM) and Cody Tetreault (Community First CC – SSM), all with records of 4-1.

The initial playoff matchup between Gordon and Tetreault would come right down to the wire, the rinks tied at 4-4 after seven ends of play. Unfortunately for the Copper Cliff quartet, Tetreault would hold last rock advantage in the decisive end, capitalizing by scoring a deuce and moving on to create an all hometown final.

The tables were turned, to some extent, on Team Tetreault the next morning, as Robert pulled even at 4-4 by scoring two in the seventh, subsequently capping off the comeback with a steal of two in the eighth end.

The Tetreault rink will now head off Swan River (Manitoba) later in the year, competing at nationals during the week of November 12th to the 18th (2017).

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Finally, an early invitation to local curling fans as the Sudbury Curling Club will be hosting a “double-whammy” send-off party come Thursday, April 13th. The local venue that is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, will have yet another reason to enjoy some festivities later this month.

The inaugural Canadian U18 Curling Championships in Moncton later this month will see a pair of SCC teams donning the colours of the NOCA (Northern Ontario Curling Association). Jacob Horgan, Max Cull, Nicholas Bissonnette and Shane Robinson will compete in the boys draw, while the girls team includes Kira Brunton, Kate Sherry, Sydnie Stinson and Jessica Leonard.

The send-off party will begin at 6:00 p.m., running through until 10:00 p.m., with tickets on sale for $10/person. The “Wine & Cheese” event will also feature a raffle and door prizes, as the newly-minted U18 national is not yet close to being a fully funded event for all teams that qualify.

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