From the Hack

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Nora Peter – From the Hack

Canada is no longer at the top of the curling world.

Ten months ago at the World Curling Championships, Homan and Gushue ran the table in their respective events to bring home gold medals and four years ago Jones and Jacobs representing Canada both won gold medals but it’s a different story in Korea with Canada coming home empty handed. The rest of the world has caught up to us picking up Canadian coaches and using Canada as their training ground.

Over the last two years Canada has worked hard at catching up with the European countries in Mixed Doubles curling. They hired Jeff Stoughton to organize our elite curlers, worked hard to qualify for these Olympics and then it paid off with the first ever gold medal in Mixed Doubles being won by the Canadian team of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris.

In my last article after watching the Continental Cup in London I wrote, “The event really emphasized that a gold medal is not a given for Canada in this field… looking forward to the Olympics I would have to say from watching them in London that US team Schuster for the men and the Japanese women really impressed me and I think they will be in the medal mix in Korea.”

I certainly did not think that US team Schuster or the Japanese women would make it to the podium at Canada’s expense! The gold medal will be huge for the US curling community and will enhance our sport in the US. Obviously our teams had a bad week – as good as we know they can be they weren’t at this Olympics! Perhaps we need to declare our teams earlier so they can prepare better- who knows but I think I can safely predict that Canada will bounce back and work hard to prove they can stand on the podium again.

The Mixed Doubles event seemed to create lots of interest and perhaps will bring the younger generation in with its faster paced more physical game. That’s a good segue to a bit of news about one of our own club members. Jayden King and his Mixed Doubles partner from Aylmer Caitlyn Evely have qualified to represent our area in Mixed Doubles this week at the Ontario Winter Games to be held in Orillia. Wish them luck.

Also looking at our younger members, the Tillsonburg High School Boys team, who curl in our Men’s league, returned to the Thames Valley South/East Championship Wednesday. The boys defeated WCI giving up one in the first, taking one in the second and then stealing their way through eight ends for the win and for a place in the finals. The boys played here in Tburg for the right to represent the SE at WOSSAA next Tuesday. The girls also played off but were unable to move on.

Also on the local scene, the E.R. Adams Ladies draw saw the trophy awarded to Yonna DiLella and her team of Annie Versteegh and Diana Blake. The February draw for the Tuesday night ladies sponsored by Autoneum Canada sees the Ladies giving the doubles curling format a try. In Mixed curling the Peter Burns rink of Peter, Yonna DiLella, Chris and Sandy Buchner were undefeated in the five week round robin draw. Mixed curlers added some variety to the league with a couple of weeks playing ‘skins’ games. Earning ‘big’ cash payouts were the teams curling with Paul Walker and Peter Burns. Mixed has now moved into their Championship draw curling for the trophy sponsored by Scotia Bank.

Several local teams have hit the bonspiel trail heading off to places like Bowling Green Ohio, Plattsville, Norwich, London and Sarnia. Tina VanderWallen-Howey’s team of Marian Muth, Diane Burgess and Sandy Buchner reached the A event final in a two-day Ladies bonspiel in Sarnia winning three of their four games.

In our own Bronze Broom bonspiel, the Betty Tull team won her draw to earn the Tim Hortons Trophy. On the local scene the Men hosted a Tier 55 event recently and several local teams did very well. On the first draw, Dave Ireland with Ken Patterson, Ed Muth and Gerald Sandham won both of their games but missed first place by half a point behind the Murray Coulter rink of Woodstock. Harley Jackson’s team skipped by Paul Walker with Sonny Pennington and Barrie Joostens also had two wins to place third. On the second draw, Sil Nadalin and his Ingersoll crew were first with Greig Manson, Win Cull, Chris Buchner and Dennis Carter second and Brian Stephenson, Paul DeCloet, Charlie Dykxhoorn and Harry Dykxhoorn finished third. In spite of the weather messing up the draw the day was very successful.

On the weekend 16 teams competed in the East Elgin Concrete Mens’ Bonspiel. In the first draw Travis Hofstetter and his team of Donnie Stewart, Adam Ball and Geoff Alexander were repeat winners not only of their draw but of the overall trophy scoring a half point more than local team Paul Walker, Dave Ireland, John Lohuis and Al Benton who finished first on the second draw. This was a successful, well organized spiel thanks to the efforts of convener Walt Kleer. Special thanks to East Elgin Concrete for taking over sponsorship of the bonspiel this year.

If you are ready for some more curling viewing the Tim Hortons Brier Men’s Championship begins on March 2 in Regina with games being carried on TSN. These Men’s teams should be well rested and ready to play.

Curling will wrap up at the end of March and members need to be thinking about what is needed in the club in order for curling to continue – we rely on volunteers for everything except our ice technician. Several directors are stepping down and we need people willing to fill those positions. The Ladies will also need new people to help form an executive. Please think about what you can offer. Thanks to all the volunteers who have worked hard to keep the club going!

Nora Peter

From the Hack

The 41st Ladies Bronze Broom Bonspiel took place last Tuesday with an ‘Aloha Hawaii’ theme and it almost seemed like Mother Nature was trying to give us some tropical weather with temperatures around 15 degrees in February!

We would have liked the sun along with those temperatures and not the rain, but there was certainly a warm feeling in the club where 16 teams took to the ice to play for two trophies.

The early draw, playing for the Ostrander Funeral Home sponsored trophy, saw a few big end games with two sixes and even a seven-ender scored to give the four winners some good points to carry into their second games.

Teams from Norwich, Ilderton, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg moved on with a win on the scoreboard. With winners matched up on the ice for the second set, games were much tighter. Even after a mishap on the ice, Donna Black’s team from Ingersoll posted a win over the Kathy Sayeau team from Norwich, while Team McKnight of Ilderton defeated team VanderWallen-Howey of Tillsonburg. The Black team edged out the McKnight team by a quarter-point to take the Ostrander Trophy for the draw championship. McKnight would be second, and Kathy Sayeau of Norwich the high one-game winner would finish in third place.

On the Tim Hortons Trophy Draw, the first set of games also had some one-sided results leading to the winners having good scores to carry into their second games. Two teams from Ilderton, one from Glanford and one from Tillsonburg moved on with wins. In the second game match-ups the home Tull team had a tight game against the Sharyn Wilson of Glanford but emerged with the win to take the Tim Hortons trophy and first place with 34.75 points. The gap between first and second was a little bigger on this draw as Judy Oryniak of Ilderton posted a win over her club mates, the Diane Wisner team, to be second with 33.25 points. A second home team – the Gail Harris rink – would finish as the high one-game winner to sit third with 23 points.

Curlers finished their ‘Aloha from Hawaii’ fun with dessert, prizes and trophy presentations.

Special thanks go out to our major sponsors Ostrander’s Funeral Home and Tim Hortons who have generously supported our trophies plus the numerous other businesses like Sobeys, Fire & Ice, Shopper’s Drug Mart, The Bridges, Metro and From the Meadows who have supported our draw table. There were lots of happy people who went home with some nice prizes!

Thank you also to all the club volunteers and ladies on the committee who donated their time and help to make the bonspiel a success. The 41st was a rockin’ success!