Jenkyns rocks playoff final

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President's Cup winners in St. Albert women's curling playoffs defend city crown next week at Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions

These ladies know how to rock and roll.

The Lauren Jenkyns rink celebrated another President’s Cup triumph by doubling the Bev Merryweather rink 6-3 in Wednesday’s A-B final in the St. Albert Curling Club playoffs.

It’s the ninth club title in a row for third Kathy Piper and second Laurie Schreiner, the fourth for Jenkyns and the second for lead Cindy Bobowik with the Wednesday league team.

“Every year is a new year so it’s just like winning it for the first time because the teams are getting tougher. It’s just that much more of a battle and we have to play well. It’s not a gimmie every year,” said Jenkyns, the team’s skip for the third-straight season after a stint at third. “Bev gave us a good run for our money tonight. It was a well-fought battle. It was a close game and it could’ve gone either way. It kept everybody on edge.”

The Jenkyns foursome will defend their city crown at the 52nd annual Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions, starting Tuesday night at the Glen Allen Curling Club in Sherwood Park.

Last year’s city championship was the first for a St. Albert women’s rink since 2010, when Piper was the skip and Schreiner was the lead. It was also 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.

“It’s just great to represent our club every year at cities,” said Jenkyns, the lead on Doug McLennan’s perennial President’s Cup mixed rink and contenders for city honours.

“I’m a little frustrated with the situation this year. All the ladies and mixed draws are at the exact same time so I don’t know if I will get a chance to play with my mixed team this year,” Jenkyns added. “One team has to lose for me to play both so it’s kind of bittersweet for me because I do have to choose between the teams. I want to play with them both and obviously I love curling in it every year with the ladies too.”

This year’s President’s Cup showdown was too close to call until the last shot in the last end and Merryweather gunning for a deuce to force an extra end.

“I had a shot for the double and it was too heavy,” said Merryweather with disappointment etched across her face. “I just needed a nose hit but it was just a little bit too hard and it rolled off. The ice was a little tricky too.”

The way the rocks spilled after impact, especially the shooter, left Jenkyns with a steal of one and the handshakes and hugs followed.

“It’s a tough spot there so the second you sweep the rock it falls back a bit so I think they just got caught in that track a little bit there,” said Jenkyns.

Her draw for two opened the scoring and in two a measurement determined a steal of one instead of a deuce.

“We had a slow start,” said Merryweather, who curled with her regular Monday league second, Sandy Sadoway, and her main spare, Diana Backer, in place of rinkmate Bobowik at third and another spare, Nicole Bellamy, at lead with Gloria Grykuliak sidelined with a broken toe.

In three Merryweather settled for one despite a promising multi-point end and in four stole a point when Jenkyns’ front-end was unable to drag her last shot to the button.

Jenkyns made it 4-2 with a tap-back in five.

Merryweather replied one in six with a hit and stick against three counters and in seven was in position to steal before Jenkins pulled off a hit and roll to lead 5-3.

“Every end was key. There were a lot of ones so at anytime the next deuce could’ve taken it,” Jenkyns said after finishing 4-0 in the eight-team double-knockout playoffs.

Visit www.stalbertgazette.com to view the winning team’s picture.

The final was the Jenkyns’ first game after going 4-2 at the Travelers (formerly Dominion) Curling Club northern playdowns at the Shamrock last weekend. It also marked the first time in three years the St. Albert ladies failed to win a berth at the Travelers (Dominions) provincials.

“It was a great way to rebound. At the Travelers we started out shaky in that first game (6-5 loss to Debbie Zaychuk of Leduc). The ice is pretty much the opposite of what it is at St. Albert so it just took a while to adjust. All the teams were kind of in the same situation and we just came out on the raw end of the deal at the start,” said Jenkyns, who skipped the St. Albert squad to victory at the 2013 Travelers (Dominions) provincials and a 3-3 record in pool play at nationals.

“We fought back (to win four straight in the B event) and even the game we lost in the B final (Alicia Wenger of Lloydminster) it was a tight game. I was trying to make a perfect freeze and I was just a hair to the side so they were able to come in and tap me back (for the game-winning deuce),” Jenkyns said. “It was a good tournament. We didn’t have that many complaints.”

Jenkyns and company lost more games this season than normal, including a semifinal exit at the Travelers (Dominions) provincials. They were also a surprising no-show in the St. Albert Centre Ladies Bonspiel finals after winning it last year. Christina Monk was the skip and Jenkyns was the third in 2013, when they beat Merryweather in the bonspiel final.

“That was a hard hit. We really wanted to be there,” Jenkyns said of the provincial set-back with a trip to the 2014 nationals on the line. “We kind of came out flat for the St. Albert bonspiel but actually the ice had just changed a lot compared to what we were used to so we just couldn’t adjust to it. We kept expecting the ice to do what it used to do and it just wasn’t doing that anymore. We fought the ice moreso than anything else at the bonspiel.”

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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.