Curlers deliver Dominion success
St. Albert rink wins Dominion Curling Club provincial championship for trip to nationals
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
A St. Albert rink swept away the competition at the Dominion Curling Club provincial championship.
The winning foursome of skip Lauren Jenkyns, third Kathy Piper, second Laurie Schreiner and lead Diana Backer finished 4-0 for the right to represent Alberta at nationals, Nov. 18 to 23 at the Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay, Ont.
“We’re all very excited and pumped to go to the next level,” an enthusiastic Jenkyns said Monday, en route home from provincials in Fort St. John, B.C.
The Dominions is an annual event for men’s and women’s curling teams who won their respective club championships. A playdown format produces champions from all 10 provinces and three territories, plus a separate entry for northern Ontario, for nationals.
“It’s very cool that we get to represent Alberta, and we’re still representing our club obviously at the same time, so we’re very excited about it,” Jenkyns said.
In Sunday’s final between two of the three Northern Alberta Curling Association reps at provincials, Jenkyns didn't have to use the hammer in the last end in the 5-4 win over Tiffany Steuber of Spruce Grove.
“We had the end set up very well. The team executed everything quite nicely so we had a lot of our rocks in play. There were a couple of our guards and I think we had three rocks in the house,” Jenkyns explained. “Tiffany, with her final shot, didn’t really have a good draw option because the side that was open had no curl to it. She had to play a hit and roll behind a guard and she actually just hit it a little bit too thin and rolled out so I didn’t even have to throw my last rock and that was quite nice.”
Jenkyns was still prepared to make her last shot regardless how Steuber's delivery unfolded.
“We were a little bit nervous once she was throwing it but at the same time no matter where she landed we would’ve had a lot of options. I could’ve had a raise or a tap or a wide-open draw so even if she had made it we were still feeling quite confident,” Jenkyns said.
The final started with a steal of one by Steuber. The second end was blanked and in three Jenkyns counted two. Steuber replied with one in four and another deuce by Jenkyns made it 4-2 after five. Steuber pulled even in six and after the seventh was blanked. Jenkyns scored the winning point in eight.
“When it was all said and done we were a little bit excited but we did wait until we shook hands before the celebration,” Jenkyns said. “There were a few tears shed but it was mostly a lot of smiles and excitement.”
The 1-2 Page playoff game against Morgan Muise of Calgary was another 5-4 win. Knotted at three apiece, the fifth end was blanked and in six Jenkyns counted the go-ahead point. It was 5-3 after seven when Muise settled for one to end the game.
“It was another really tight game. We were quite evenly matched so that one went down to the wire a little bit as well,” Jenkyns said. “We had pretty good control in the eighth end there too.”
Provincials started with a convincing 9-2 victory over the Snyder rink of Airdrie that ended with Jenkyns tacking up four in six.
The next game was a 5-3 decision against Steuber to put Jenkyns in the 1-2 Page playoff. A three-ender in six by Jenkyns increased the lead to 5-2.
Aside from than the close games against Steuber, it was smooth sailing for Jenkyns and company.
“The ice was the biggest challenge for us and for some of the other teams as well. It was a lot straighter and there was a bit more fall to it. A lot of the teams struggled a bit with that and even we lost a few rocks on that so it was just trusting the ice and believing what you were seeing and following through on that,” said Jenkyns.
The 25-year-old stepped up from third with the team's skip, Christina Monk, on maternity leave.
“It was a new experience all around to be skipping against some of the high-calibre teams that are at our same level. It was challenging and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it,” said Jenkyns, the lead on Doug McLennan’s longtime mixed President’s Cup championship rink at the St. Albert Curling Club. “I used to always think skips must be so stressed out in the hack because they have all this pressure on themselves but I was actually very calm. It was great. I loved it. It was a lot of fun.”
Last season with Monk calling the shots, her rink of Jenkyns, Piper and Schreiner won the St. Albert Centre Ladies Bonspiel and during a stretch of eight games over five days finished 4-1 as the B1-event qualifiers at the Dominion northerns for a trip to provincials and successfully defended their President’s Cup title in St. Albert.
The ladies club championship was the seventh in a row for Piper and Schreiner, Monk’s sixth and Jenkyns’ third.
The only loss at northerns was 7-6 in an extra end in the A final as Steuber stole the winning point.
As the St. Albert reps at the 50th annual Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions, the A qualifiers lost the semifinal in an extra end to Ellerslie.
In 2010, when Monk was pregnant, Piper skipped the line-up of Jackie Rae Greening, Nicole Bellamy and Schreiner to the second Tournament of Championships victory by a St. Albert rink since Cathy King won the inaugural cities in 1993.
“Christina was very excited for us,” Jenkyns said. “We’ve been texting back and forth to her all weekend and we had some texts go back and forth right after we won. She was watching online too.”
Backer was brought on board with Monk unavailable this fall. The silver medallist as the second with the Deb Santos’ rink of St. Albert at the 2013 Canadian Senior Curling Championships also coached the Jasper Place-based Team Canada ladies’ rink that lost the final of the second annual World Deaf Curling Championships to Switzerland this year.
“Diana is new to our team and we clicked very well and came together very nicely to win provincials,” Jenkyns said of the undefeated rink in the Wednesday night ladies’ league in St. Albert. “We’re going to try and get out and throw some more rocks together and maybe get a couple more games in as a team before nationals.”