Clubs nationals and lots of other curling news
by Randy Pascal
Making their third appearance at the Travelers Curling Club Championships and their first since 2010, the Coniston Curling Club quartet of
Melanie Patry (skip), Christine Dubuc (third), Nicole Dubuc-Charbonneau (second) and Bryna Patman (lead) missed qualifying for
a tie-breaker by the slimmest of margins in Kingston earlier this month, posting a more than respectable round robin record of 3-3.
The Northern Ontario reps may have been caught a touch off guard in their opener, swamped 11-5 by Kim Dennis of British Colombia, with the latter
scoring three in the second, fourth and seventh ends en route to a 5-1 record in preliminary round action.
The locals recovered nicely the next morning, quadrupling Nunavut (Anu Boucher) 8-2, and following up with a second straight lopsided
victory the next day. Holding a slim 5-3 lead after six ends opposite Nanette Dupont of Alberta, Team Patry exploded for a five spot with the
benefit of the hammer in the seventh, with the teams shaking hands immediately thereafter.
The turning point for Patry and company came in Draw 9, with the team holding a 10-6 lead over the Northwest Territories' Stacey Stabel
after six ends of play. The far north foursome not only managed to count three in the seventh to make things close, but followed up with a steal of one in
the eighth to force and extra end, and completed the dramatic comeback with a steal of two in the ninth.
That setback appeared to take a toll on the NOCA champs, who found themselves deadlocked at 3-3 with Prince Edward Island (Julie Mutch)
after six ends the next afternoon, again surrendering steals in both the seventh and eighth in falling 5-3 to the islanders.
Thankfully, there was a little more good news for the road as the Sudbury women reversed their recent trend, scoring three times in the eighth end to
pull out a tournament closing 8-6 triumph over Kristi Frolek and her Saskatchewan rink.
When the dust settled at the end of the week, there was not a great deal of tension to be had as Manitoba (Stacey Fordyce) captured gold
with an 11-3 win over Alberta, while Ontario (Jodi McCutcheon – High Park – Toronto) claimed bronze, defeating Nova Scotia 10-3.
Only time will tell if the final of the Assante 101 McIntyre Senior Open in North Bay last weekend serves as much of a predictive precursor to
the NOCA (Northern Ontario Curling Association) East Qualifier, also to be hosted at the North Bay Granite Club, from December 15th to the
Safe to say that Robbie Gordon and his team certainly hope so.
Staffed with three quarters of his regular squad, Gordon teamed with Dion Dumontelle, Doug Hong and Jeff Laferrière from Haileybury (Ron
Henderson was unavailable for the event), avenging a loss in the 2016 final with a dramatic 6-5 win over Mark Brown of North Bay in the gold
The local rink overcame a slight tangent on their championship path, as skip Gordon’s curling gear bag somehow went missing overnight prior to their
semi-final match-up with Rick Miller. Turns out one of the out of town teams had inadvertently grabbed the wrong bag, in error, with folks on hand
helping to track down the missing items in time for Gordon to re-appear in the third end, with his team trailing 2-0.
With the man at the helm back in control, Team Gordon settled into a groove, downing Miller’s crew in six ends. As for Brown, who was joined by Denis
Lafrenière, Luc Gelinas and David Lawes, it would take a win over NOCA 2017 Masters champion Bruce Munro to propel his Idylwylde
rink of Duncan Bell, Keith Furevick and Rich Schmidt into yet another showdown with Gordon.
With Gordon, Brown and Munro on hand for East Qualifiers along with five other entries (including Chris Gordon of Copper Cliff and Michel
Mayer of Curl Sudbury), the road to the Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championships in Stratford in March is a cluttered one indeed.
Of course, we would be remiss if we did not wish local curler Kendra Lilly and the NOCA women’s team of Krista McCarville, Ashley Sippala
and Sarah Potts all the best heading into the drama that is the 2017 Tim Horton’s Roar of the Rings.
McCarville and the Fort William Curling Club reps are among a field of nine women’s teams vying for a berth in the 2018 Winter Olympics in
South Korea. Lilly and her teammates first take to the ice this Saturday at 7:00 p.m., facing Michelle Englot from Winnipeg, back again Sunday
afternoon as Casey Scheidegger (Lethbridge) provides the opposition.
Teams are playing a full eight game round robin schedule, with the top three in both the men’s and women’s events moving on to the playoffs. Rounding out
a very impressive women’s field are teams skipped by Chelsea Carey, Alli Flaxey, Rachel Homan, Jennifer Jones, Val Sweeting and Julie Tippin.
On the men’s side, the Northern Ontario powerhouse of Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden are hoping to take the next
step towards defending the Olympic gold medals they captured in Sochi in 2014.