Jenkyns defends club crown

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Reigning President's Cup champions win women's playoff final at St. Albert Curling Club

The Lauren Jenkyns rink celebrated another milestone as the President’s Cup champions at the St. Albert Curling Club.

Wednesday’s 10-4 triumph in seven ends over Susan Kwak in the women’s A-B final marked the 10th consecutive playoff club title in a row for Kathy Piper and Laurie Conrad, the fifth for Jenkyns and the third for Cindy Bobowik with the Wednesday night league team.

“It’s just pretty special, especially for Kathy and I. She is a super, super friend. I just wish she could’ve been here tonight. That would’ve made it even better,” Conrad said. “We didn’t realize that this was going to be our 10th year and once we started to think about it we really, really wanted it and then when Kathy couldn’t be here tonight I really wanted it even more for her.

“We all did really good as a team. It’s a great feeling.”

Visit www.stalbertgazette.com to view the team picture.

Piper was unavailable for the final and Allison Howes filled in at lead, as Bobowick moved up to second and Conrad took over Piper’s spot at third. The re-jigged lineup didn’t miss a beat as Jenkyns scored five with a hit and stick in the first end and stole three in two to put the game out of reach.

“We came out really sharp in the first couple of ends and got a few breaks on their part so we were just able to capitalize and then from there on it was just keep it open. We knew we could afford to give up one every end and still be OK so it was just play the hits and if you roll out that’s OK and it kind of happened there for a while,” Jenkyns said.

Kwak, third Eileen Millar, second Sharon Monk and lead Lana Perlette from the Tuesday afternoon league tacked up one in three and stole singles the next three ends to chop the deficit in half before Jenkyns counted two in seven to start the handshakes.

“We were happy we were able to steal three ends on them so that’s a good thing. It’s just unfortunate we got behind so fast by so much,” said Kwak, who beat Karen Stephen in the B final for a shot at the reigning champions.

The fourth consecutive victory in the playoffs for Jenkyns capped off another successful club season.

“It feels good and different every year, especially this year,” Jenkyns said. “We had Ally subbing in for us and she curled an amazing game making three tick shots so we have her to thank for setting up those ends so perfectly.”

Jenkyns now advances to the 53rd annual Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions at the Edmonton Garrison Memorial Golf & Curling Club. The first game for the 2015 finalist and the 2014 champion is April 12 against Jasper Place or the Shamrock at 8:45 p.m.

Last year in the final, Jenkyns let a 6-1 lead after three ends unravel as St. Albert’s Karynn Flory of the NAIT Ooks and her Avonair rink rallied to win 9-8 in an extra end in Sherwood Park.

“We would like to close the deal obviously,” Jenkyns said. “We’ll go out and play our game. We’ll take it one game at a time and hopefully we can come out on the winning side.”

Two years ago, Jenkyns skipped the first St. Albert women’s rink to the city championship since 2010, when Piper was the skip and Schreiber was the lead, and the third overall since 1993 when the women’s draw was added to the Tournament of Champions’ format and Cathy King was the inaugural winner.

“The Tournament of Champions is a different sort of pressure. You have the best of every club there and you just go out and do what you can,” Jenkyns said. “One big thing about the Tournament of Champions is we don’t necessarily know all the teams. Going into the President’s Cup I know how all the other ladies curl and I go into each game kind of having an idea as to what kind of style of game they’re going to be playing so I have that as an advantage in the club playdowns than the Tournament of Champions.”

Two weeks ago, Jenkyns posted five straight wins in the Northern Alberta Curling Association playdowns in Leduc for a berth at the Alberta Travelers Club Championship in October.

The former Alberta Travelers (formerly Dominion) champion finished 5-1 as one of the two B qualifiers.

“We played our game, came out sharp and made a lot of shots. We really came together as a team. I think that was the hottest we’ve played all year so it was good,” said Jenkyns, who heads to her third Alberta Travelers in four years with Piper and Conrad.

At the 2013 nationals, Jenkyns’ crew of Piper, Conrad and Diana Backer won three and lost three as the Alberta reps in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“We enjoy the game so much and we just go out and play. We want to play our best and it’s fun when you win so it makes it even more fun I guess when you’re winning,” Conrad said.

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Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.