Monk whips up bonspiel win
St. Albert club champions polish off Merryweather rink in St. Albert Centre Ladies Bonspiel final
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 06:00 am
The Christina Monk rink is headed in the right direction after their sweeping victory in the St. Albert Centre Ladies’ Bonspiel.
Monk, third Lauren Jenkyns, second Kathy Piper and lead Laurie Schreiner used the 24-team competition as a tuneup for the President’s Cup playoffs at the St. Albert Curling Club and the NACA Dominion Curling Club playdowns, March 21 to 24 in Sherwood Park.
“It’s a good springboard for us to go into our club playoffs, which actually starts before the Dominion and ends after the Dominion,” Monk said after Sunday’s 7-3 decision in seven ends against Bev Merryweather in Sunday’s final.
Last year’s President’s Cup was the sixth in row for Piper and Schreiner, Monk’s fifth and the second for Jenkyns, who does double duty with Doug McLennan’s perennial mixed club champions.
At the Dominions, with Alison Howes curling in place of Piper and Monk skipping while six months pregnant, the St. Albert reps finished 2-2 as the B semifinalists. It was a better result than the 0-3 showing the year before by the Piper, Howes, Schreiner and Nicole Bellamy quartet.
The A and B winners at northerns advanced to provincials for a shot at nationals.
“That’s our next goal. Every year we curl we try to take it one step further than we did the year before. When we started together as a team – Cathy, Laurie and I – it was to get to cities and win. They did that the year I didn’t curl with them because I was pregnant,” Monk said of the 2010 lineup of Jackie Rae Greening, Bellamy, Schreiner and Piper at skip, winners of the 2010 Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions, the second championship by a St. Albert women’s rink since Cathy King won the inaugural playoff in 1993.
With only one loss this season going into the bonspiel, Monk’s Wednesday night team iced Trish Manns, Laurie Knoll, Susan Kwak, last year’s President’s Cup finalist, and in the semifinals, Greening (third for the St. Albert-based Deb Santos rink, winners of the 2013 senior 50-plus provincials) for a date with Merryweather in the final.
“It started off actually really slow for us. We would have one good end and then we were able to keep the other team at bay, but it was the A semifinal when we came out guns blazing. Jackie Rae didn’t really have much chance to score more than a single against us,” said Monk, who had her draw weight down pat in the match, highlighted by a pinpoint delivery in six to count four, forcing Greening to shake hands.
In the final Monk scored three with the hammer in the first end and stole a deuce in three after Merryweather blanked the second end.
“I rattled them a little bit with that steal,” Monk said.
Merryweather, third Janice Pyle, second Sandy Sadoway and lead Gloria Grykuliak made a game of it with one in four and steals of one in five and six.
“We had a slow start. We were not used to the straightness of the ice (on sheet three). Most of the sheets we played on all weekend were curling nicely and there were some pretty straight spots there. We didn’t get our draw weight right away but we rallied back afterwards,” Merryweather said.
Monk’s last shot in five and six didn’t go the way it was planned.
“We had a couple of ends where my rocks didn’t quite work out the way they should’ve,” Monk said. “St. Albert ice this year is a little tricky. It starts out one way and then halfway through the game it changes and unless you’re prepared for that you end up running into problems, which seems to be that fifth end when that happens.”
Monk got back on track with a deuce in seven. A cluster of rocks surrounded several stones in the four-foot, which left Merryweather very few options. Her last delivery was a difficult attempt to gain shot rock against two Monk counters. However, it left Monk lying two and instead of getting greedy she settled for the deuce and tossed her last rock away.
In the eighth and last end Monk ran Merryweather out of rocks.
Monk credited her team’s ability to stay calm under pressure while Merryweather battled back into contention.
“Everybody was kind of missing shots but making the ones that counted more. If you missed one it’s not a big deal, you get it back later,” Monk said.
As for Merryweather, it was the second straight year she was the bridesmaid and not the bride at the biggest event of the season for female curlers in St. Albert. Merryweather lost the 2012 final 4-2 in seven ends to Shannon Germsheid, who had Annette Mortensen throwing skip rocks, while curling with third Jeanine Murch, second Helen Coverdale and lead Rica Caron on a rink that was thrown together on the eve of the 18-team bonspiel.
“I didn’t know the curlers last year. This year I’m more used to the curlers,” Merryweather said. “We just came up against a really hot Christina team and they played really well.”
En route to the final, Merryweather’s team that curls in the ultra-competitive Monday night league and was unable to clinch a berth in the President’s Cup playoffs, defeated Murch, Donna Bruce and in the semifinals, Bev Topola.
“They were awesome. They played so well. Everybody made shots all weekend,” Merryweather said of the trio that also plays on Wednesday nights. “It was nice to get back into the semifinal and then the final in A. Next year, maybe, I’ll get back there one more time.”
HOG LINES: In the B final Karen Stephen beat Judy Erickson and in the C final Mortensen was victorious against Bruce.