Success for local curlers in Kitchener-Waterloo
by Randy Pascal
With all three Sudbury based teams returning north with a little extra money in their collective pockets, it would be hard not to feel good, from a
local perspective, about the K-W Fall Classic in Kitchener last weekend.
After hitting a few bumpy patches early in the season, the Tracy Fleury rink of Crystal Webster, Jenna Walsh and Amanda Gates worked
their way right through to the semi-finals, dropping a 3-2 decision to eventual champion Julie Tippin in extra ends.
Team Fleury finished their round robin games with a record of 3-1, knocking off Grace Francisci (7-2), Jaimee Gardner (7-4) and Katelyn
Wasylkiw (8-2), but beaten 9-7 Tippin, as the latter scored three in the eighth for the win.
The Idylwylde Golf & Country Club quartet cruised through their quarter-final, scoring a deuce in both the first and third ends along with a
steal of one in the fourth, eliminating Danielle Inglis 7-2 in the process.
The rematch against Tippin produced one of the tightest games of the weekend, as the skip from Kleinburg was leading 1-0 after five ends of play. Fleury
and company countered with one in the sixth and a steal in the seventh, but would see Tippin match that exact sequence in the eighth and ninth ends.
Still with the family, Tanner Horgan and his team of Jacob Horgan, Nicholas Bissonnette and Maxime Blais garnered one of the two
“A” qualifier berths in the men’s event, but were dispatched in the quarter-finals by the familiar foe that is Matthew Hall.
Team Horgan stopped Greg Park (7-2), Brandon Tippin (6-4) and former Laurentian curler Ian Dickie (9-6) to slide into one of two
“A” spots, the other going the way of Chang-Min Kim of China. Unfortunately, the junior powerhouse could not get things rolling at all versus Hall,
as the eventual bonspiel winner scored two in both the first and fourth ends, adding three in the sixth, with Horgan unable to hit the board with more than
a single point at a time.
Competing in the same event but hitting the ice for the first time this year, the revamped Jordan Chandler rink of Sandy MacEwan, Kyle
Chandler and Lee Toner (second Luc Ouimet was unable to make it, with the Chandler sibling stepping in as a sub in Kitchener) matched the
run to the quarter-finals of their fellow Nickel City team.
Chandler would secure one of three “B” qualifier slots, winning three of his first four games. The opener would go to extra ends, as the Chandler
foursome edged Andrew Fairfull with a steal, but dropped to 1-1 with a 6-4 loss to Chang-Min Kim.
Rebounding nicely, the northern gents swept past both Daryl Shane (7-4) and Richard Krell (7-4), but started slowly against Rob
Retchless in the playoffs, down 4-0 after just two ends and tasting defeat by a final margin of 7-2.
With the ice only just being installed at the Idylwylde over the course of the past 7-10 days, the lack of practice time prior to their first bonspiel of
the season is not nearly the cause for concern for Team Chandler as it might have been several years ago.
“It’s funny how it works,” noted Toner this week. “We’re getting used to playing these early events, and I think sometimes, it’s kind of a blessing. You
go in not over-thinking, just use your feel, your touch. You don’t think about it too much, and sometimes, that’s a good thing.”
Skip Jordan Chandler, MacEwan and Toner have played together for the past three to four years, dating back to their days with skip Mike Jakubo.
Matt Dumontelle stepped in to throw last rocks the past two years, but work commitments were taking their toll by the end of the 2016-2017 schedule,
with Ouimet welcomed back into the fold at the tail end of that campaign.
“I think this is a special year for us, just given that provincials are in Little Current, and that’s where Jordan is from,” suggested Toner. “We would
really like to make it to provincials and have a good showing there. That’s a big goal for the year.”
With all four curlers very familiar faces on the local scene, it really is a matter of just a little fine-tuning in order for the season to come
together the way they would like. “We have the shot making ability, but we’re working on being a little more consistent,” said Toner. “That involves
communication, giving the skip information when somebody throws – and trusting ourselves a little more. We play better when we’re not thinking as much.”
Still with the out of town bonspiels, the Krista McCarville women’s rink that includes Sudburian Kendra Lilly throwing vice rocks also
enjoyed success on the road, defeated in the final of the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic in Cornwall earlier this month.
Team McCarville posted a 3-1 record in their preliminary games, earning their shot in the semi-finals and outscoring Eve Belisle of Quebec 7-3
before coming up just short against Jaime Sinclair of Blaine (Minnesota), 6-5 in the championship affair.
Closer to home, the Atlas Slam U18 Bonspiel is set for this coming weekend at the Idylwylde, with 11 teams taking part (six girls and five boys).
The female draw includes locals Bella Croisier and Sydnie Stinson, welcoming Parker Doig, Madison Fisher, Sarah Kay and Sarah
Madden to town, while teams skipped by Sudbury natives Jabob Horgan and Sam Branconnier will attempt to get the better of Eric Fenech,
Connor Ramsay and one final entry.
Play begins with a 4:30 draw on Friday, four more sets of games on Saturday (8:30, noon, 4:00 & 8:00 p.m.), and three draws on Sunday, wrapping up with
finals at 3:30 p.m.