Santos steals big win
St. Albert Curling Club rink wins provincial final in an extra-end for the senior women's championship
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 06:00 am
Granite Curling Club – The Deb Santos rink completed a sweeping victory for the St. Albert Curling Club at the provincial senior 50-plus curling championships.
Santos, third Jackie-Rae Greening, second Diana Backer and lead Glenna Rubin will join the Wade White team at nationals, March 16 to 24 in Summerside, P.E.I., after stealing the winning point in an extra end against Cathy King in Sunday’s final.
“This is pretty neat that we have both men’s and women’s representation,” said a smiling Greening after the 7-6 nail-bitter against last year’s Canadian champion.
The last multiple St. Albert representation at nationals was 1974 with Marilyn Johnston, Hec Gervais and Marv Porowski in women’s, men’s and mixed.
And the last time Greening (nee Anderson) curled for St. Albert at nationals was 1980 in juniors.
“It was in (Charlottetown), Prince Edward Island so it’s pretty cool that in 2013 I’m going back in seniors representing St. Albert,” she said.
In the Monday night St. Albert league Greening skips her own team, while Santos, Backer and Rubin play together.
Greening and Santos are longtime rinkmates who won the 2003 women’s provincials together in their last major triumph on the competitive circuit and at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts finished 5-6.
Greening was also Santos’ third in 1990 and 1991 at the Scotties, and it was on the national stage that she was named to the all-star team and voted the most sportsmanlike player.
Rubin was the lead for Diane Foster’s senior provincial winners from Calgary in 2011 and they finished 7-4 at nationals.
Backer just turned 50 and is coach of the Canadian deaf women’s curling championship team that curls out of Jasper Place and their first game at worlds is Sunday in Bern, Switzerland.
“I haven’t curled competitive in over 12 years and this is my first year back and it’s just an honour to play with these ladies. They’re just amazing teammates,” Backer said.
Santos, 55, wasn’t sure if she would give the senior playdowns a shot this winter but Rubin was keen on the idea.
“I questioned myself if I was going to go in it this year because I didn’t have the time commitment and I’m getting old too,” laughed the four-time provincial women’s champion. “But now, when you look what we’ve done, it’s really exciting anytime we can represent the province.”
Santos ran the table at provincials with eight wins.
“You don’t usually see that very often,” Backer said. “We do get strong throughout the game and that was awesome to see.”
“We hung in there,” added Greening. “If you look back at all eight games we didn’t give up more than two, so as a result we always kept it close.”
The final – featuring 2011 St. Albert Curling Club wall of fame inductees Greening and King, a six-time provincial women’s champion and winner of the 1998 Scotties – was somewhat similar to the provincial opener Wednesday when Santos stole singles in eight, nine and 10 to win 6-5.
“Against Cathy you know you’re in for a game because they’re such an awesome team,” Greening said of the King rink of third Carolyn Morris, second Lesley McEwan and lead Doreen Graves that finished 5-3 at provincials. “Today we made some boo-boos but so did they and thank God we made one less boo-boo I guess at the end.”
It was 2-2 after five when the teams traded deuces, followed by a steal of one in eight by Santos. King replied with a deuce in nine and Santos forced an extra end with a draw through a port to the four-foot for one in 10.
“I would’ve been surprised if it didn’t go to an extra end actually. We knew we were going to be in tough, but I trust these ladies that throw back-end and they did it today,” Backer said.
In the extra end Santos made two delicate draws to the four-foot and with last shot King had a crack at a double takeout for the win but only moved one stone to surrender the steal.
“It was nip and tuck both ways,” Santos said. “I felt like I was throwing the rock good, I just needed to get my broom in the right spot.”