Jasper Place – A decisive five-ender in seven by the Lauren Jenkyns rink in Wednesday’s final sealed the deal for the third Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions women’s banner in the history of the St. Albert Curling Club.
“It really means a lot,” an excited Jenkyns said after the 6-3 victory over Valerie Kamitomo of the Saville Community Sports Centre. “I guess we do well under pressure because we managed to pull it off.”
Down by two with the hammer Jenkyns, third Kathy Piper, second Laurie Schreiner and lead Cindy Bobowik worked together to construct a big end and after Kamitomo wrecked on a guard with her last shot the St. Albert skip drew to the house as all three teammates dragged the rock in from the hog line for the five-spot on the scoreboard.
“It was definitely a big sigh of relief when we scored five that end. We had some breathing room and could kind of relax,” Jenkyns said. “We were all a little bit uptight for the first half of the game. We had hammer and couldn’t get anything going for the first four ends (until scoring one in five to trail 2-1). It was a tough battle so we had to be very patient. The ice was pretty keen and we were throwing a little heavy and throwing a lot of rocks through. It was just hard to get things going.
“We just stayed patient and kept chipping away at it. Eventually we got a couple of misses from the other team in the seventh and we started getting our draw weight down and had a couple of good guards so we were able to get back to that aggressive game we’re used to and comfortable with.”
Kamitomo, third Linda McInnis, second Metta Van Wieran and lead Shirley Fisk were in control of the match after stealing singles in two and three and in six counted one with the hammer before things unravelled in seven.
“We tried to keep it as open as we could for the first few ends. We just exchanged rocks more than anything,” Kamitomo said. “In the seventh end I don’t know what happened. It just kind of built up. A few missed shots brought our guards in a little too close and then they made some great doubles and stuff that kept them right in and then we just didn’t take enough ice on that last shot of mine and it hit a guard.”
The Saville foursome were competing in their first cities and reached Tuesday’s semifinals through the B side of the 12-team draw. They finished 5-2 overall.
The President’s Cup champions from St. Albert escaped a sticky jam against the Shamrock in the semifinals en route to an unblemished 4-0 record. In six and the Shamrock poised to count four Jenkyns delivered the shot of the tournament and it navigated its way past several obstacles to score one with the hammer.
The northern playdown qualifiers for the 2014 Dominion Curling Club provincials went on to steal two in seven to tie and in eight stole the winning point to advance to the final.
“It was incredible. It was a great team shot. I had to throw the perfect weight. We had to have the perfect line. It was off-staggered and we had to skimmy the top guard so we had to play super tight to that and call the line just so and then I had to bite the button against four,” Jenkyns said. “That end was a little shaky for us so it was nice to close it and then there was a big momentum swing and things started to go our way. We started getting a few misses from the other team, which we hadn’t seen, so you could definitely see a momentum shift with that draw.”
The Jenkyns team wasn’t going to be denied at cities after last year’s semifinal exit in an extra end against Ellerslie with Christina Monk at skip, Jenkyns at third and Piper and Schreiner as the frontend.
“It’s a special win for us because we really want to do it for our club,” Schreiner said. “It’s all about the pride of bringing home a banner for the club.”
Schreiner curled on the 2010 championship rink with Piper at skip, Nicole Bellamy at third and Jackie Rae Greening at second when cities were also staged at Jasper Place.
It was the first city banner for a St. Albert women’s rink since Cathy King’s victory in 1993 when the women’s draw was added to the Tournament of Champions format.
“I wouldn’t really say this one is any sweeter than the other one. It’s two different teams so it’s just as sweet with either team,” Schreiner said. “It’s just so special. It really is.”
The banner victory symbolized St. Albert’s strong presence at cities.
“We have great teams coming out of St. Albert (as President’s Cup champions). The (Doug McLennan) mixed team made it to the final tonight and the men (Craig King rink) made it to the semis. It was a good showing for all the teams this year so that was very cool,” said Jenkyns, who played lead for McLennan’s rink at cities when there was no conflict with the mixed and women’s schedules.
The triumph at cities capped off a tremendous season for the Jenkyns rink. Last year on the Dominion front Jenkyns, Piper, Schreiner and lead Diana Backer won provincials and finished 3-3 in pool play at the fifth annual Dominion nationals in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The St. Albert Centre Ladies Bonspiel winners lost only one game in the Wednesday night league when Bobowik and three spares filled in with the team at the Dominion nationals.
Last month at the Dominion northerns they finished 4-1 as one of the B-side qualifiers for provincials in October.
“We enjoy the game and we enjoy each other’s company and having Cindy come in ... her personality goes really well with the rest of us too. We just have a lot of fun while we’re out there, especially when we’re doing club curling, but cities we do get a little more intense for because it’s worth a little bit more,” Jenkyns said.
“We also enjoy winning too so we work really hard to do that. We got out and practiced a little more this year. Last year we didn’t practice at all until we made it to Dominions. We got that taste for nationals and we want to get back there so we tweaked a few things and we worked a little bit harder as a team and on our game as well.”