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Already my fifth column of the season and I have draw winners and bonspielers to report on!

The Thursday afternoon Ladies have finished their first draw sponsored by Verne’s Carpet One. This trophy is the longest contested Ladies draw trophy in the Tillsonburg and District Curling Club and Verne’s is one of our longest and very generous sponsors. Shawn Winters was on hand to present the trophy to the winning team skipped by Nora Peter with Madeleine Aucoin at vice, Wendy Manson second, and Barb McCorkell at lead. Yonna DiLella and her team of Veronica Nolan, Josie DeCloet and a rotating lead placed second. Thanks go out to Regine Ross and Jean Donck who organized the draw and the great goodies. Thanks to Verne’s Carpet One for their continued support and sponsorship.

The Thursday night Men have also declared their first draw winner with the team of Dave Ireland, Frank VandeSlyke, Walter Lubberts, and Gerald Sandham scoring four wins to have top points in this draw. The Men will have new teams and begin a new draw this week.

On the Bonspiel Trail two Ladies teams travelled to the Brant Curling Club this week to play in a one-day spiel. Betty Tull and her team of Linda Newman, Yonna DiLella and Dorell Clark lost their first game to a Brant team and won their second against Dundas Valley. The girls enjoyed their first out-of-town spiel of the season finishing 4th overall, saying the ice was really good and the food even better!

Gail Harris also curled in this spiel along with Jean Donck, Madeleine Aucoin and Marilyn Dykxhoorn. The team played two Brant teams and weren’t as successful as they would have liked but with two members of the team getting used to using the ‘stick’ delivery, they were happy to have two good games and as always enjoyed the camaraderie of their fellow curlers.

JUNIOR CURLING

On Sunday I was out to watch the Junior Curlers and was happy to see all four sheets of ice in use with the two high school teams practicing and lots of new young curlers giving the game a try. Ken Patterson, who organizes this Sunday curling, has been happy with the turnout but would like to see even more kids out learning the game. This is a great winter activity for kids with low costs for equipment and memberships. It can also become a life-long sport. The curl clinic on Saturday was well attended with all 4 sheets of ice in use. Thank you to all those who helped out with the clinic it’s much appreciated.

As I write this next bit I’m going to assume that many of you were watching the Grand Slam Masters two weeks ago and saw the amazing shot made by Mike McEwen in the Men’s final to score four in the 6th end. I think even the commentators were surprised at the outcome and had not been reading the call the way it was played. Even though Gushue won the game it was the shot of the season for curlers!

On the same program I had to chuckle when Kevin Marten and Mike Harris started talking about how “curling has come a long way from beer and cigarettes on the ice” as that is the era I learned to curl in. I began curling in Manitouwadge, Ontario back in 1974. We had four sheets of ice, and between Ice 1 and 2, and Ice 3 and 4, there were juice cans hanging on chains from the ceiling which were used as ashtrays on the ice. It was not unusual to see a skip in the house chewing on a cigar and blowing the smoke towards the opposing skip! I was using a half slider and a corn broom and the rink was very cold and not nearly as keen as current conditions.

When we moved here in 1982, smoking and drinking were still allowed on the ice - no wonder curlers were not considered serious athletes! So, yes we’ve come a long way to the dedicated fitness level of our elite curlers and the more sophisticated training, equipment, ice technology, etc. But at least the courtesy and good sportsmanship and social aspects of the game haven’t changed and we still see the teams having fun on the ice. Enough with my nostalgia!

If you’re looking for some more TV coverage, the Grand Slam National will be carried by Sportsnet next week from Sault Ste. Marie beginning on Thursday the 19th with Finals set for the 23rd. At this time I could not get a schedule for the coverage.

For my next FTH column I plan to feature this year’s Rec League teams and their standings. Have a great week and get up, get out and go Curling!!

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