Stu Harris team narrowly wins Tour Championship

By Ellie Lambert

Harris team R11 winners

For a brief moment on Sunday evening at the Cloverdale Curling Club it appeared that Steve Wright had become a winner of the Region 11 Men’s Bonspiel Tour Championship for a third time. Needing to make a run-back double on the final rock of an extra-end championship final against Cloverdale’s Stu Harris, the Royal City skip successfully made the run-back to get both rocks moving.

But Wright had hit Harris’s guarded shot rock by the button just fractionally too thin and it jammed on a Wright rock behind it. Even if it had hit the rock behind and rolled out, Wright would have won with another rock in top house.

Earlier in the extra end, third Dean Lunn made the draw around a centre guard to the button area that set up the victory. But Lunn came deep on his second rock into the top four after Wright’s third, Terry Miller, peeled the centre guard. Miller then narrowly missed the short double that likely would have given them victory, leaving the shot rock there for Harris to guard twice.

As early as the fourth end, Wright was looking to be a good bet to win the game. Harris was heavy on his last rock draw in the third end to give Wright a steal of one and a 2-0 lead.

On his first skip rock in the fourth end, Harris was looking at a cluster of four Wright rocks guarded in the four-foot. He made probably the shot of the game when he ran one of his own guards at an angle into the pile, doubling off two of Wright’s rocks and sticking the run-in rock in front of another in the four-foot. After Wright guarded his outturn draw to the button, Harris got there with a well-played inturn angle tap against two to stay alive, down 2-1.

Harris looked to be in serious trouble again in the fifth end, after playing aggressively without last rock and leaving Wright counting three for most of the end. Wright’s first skip rock was a takeout that jammed the Harris rock and left it laying shot rather than Wright laying three.

Harris returned the favour when his last rock draw to lie two rubbed another rock and set up a double for Wright to score three. But Wright missed the hit completely and Harris dodged another bullet to steal two and take a 3-2 lead.

Wright got his mojo back in the sixth, scoring two for a 4-3 lead, set up by a hit and roll behind cover from his second Cam Johnston.

The seventh was blanked and, with hammer in the eighth end, Harris was looking for two points to win. Early on a cluster of rocks in the top eight and top 12 set up some scoring opportunities for both teams. On last rock, Harris had to draw away from centre to the eight-foot to score one and send the game into overtime.

The Championship was a 14 team event which saw the rinks divided into two pools of seven, with each pool playing a double knockout and the top two teams qualifying for the semi-finals.

Harris won the A qualifier in the A pool over Don Chaloner, also from Cloverdale. Wright was also in the A pool, but never faced Harris, and won the B qualifier against Chaloner.

In the B pool, Marpole’s Will House won the A qualifier against Royal City’s Arlen Bonesky who dropped into the B qualifier where he lost to Don Frycz, the 2013 Tour Championship winner from Delta Thistle CC.

Harris won a tight semi-final against Frycz. He was leading 6-5 without last rock in the eighth end when Frycz made a tap up on his last rock to put a rock by the button. Harris had to follow up with a run in of his own guard to score two and win 7-6.

Wright had an easier time against House in the other semi-final, stealing two in both the fifth and sixth ends to lead 5-1. House came back with two in the seventh, but was run out of rocks in the eighth which gave Wright the 5-3 win.

Change in format for next year

Next year’s Region 11 Men’s Tour Championship will include 12 teams in the field, playing under a different format from what has been used since the first event in 2009. The changes were made following a discussion with the teams during Saturday’s luncheon.

Instead of having the field divided into two pools there will now be three pools of four teams each. As well, rather than a double knockout to qualify four teams for the playoffs, teams in each pool will play a round robin to qualify six teams in total for the playoffs. Two of the pool round robin winners will earn a berth in the semi-finals and the other four teams will be seeded into the quarter finals.



Team Jenkins takes bronze at Canadian Senior Championships

By Ellie Lambert

Olympian Sandra Jenkins has added another medal to her trophy cabinet after winning bronze at the 2015 Canadian Senior Curling Championships.

Jenkins, and her team of third Kate Horne, second Wendy Cseke and lead Carol Murray, claimed the bronze medal by stealing a single in the final end of their 7-6 victory against Saskatchewan on Saturday.

The Salmon Arm rink won the game after bouncing back from an extra end defeat to six-time Scotties champion Colleen Jones in the 2v3 game.

Jenkins had beaten Jones earlier in the week but could not repeat the feat as a seventh end steal by the Nova Scotians helped them secure a 5-4 win, and a place in the final.

After conceding the first two games of their national campaign, the BC women had a strong run of five wins which saw them progress to the Championship pool and hand the previously unbeaten Saskatchewan their first defeat.

Team Jenkins’s final Championship pool game was against Northern Ontario who they were tied with. It was a crucial game with a place in the playoffs the prize for whoever won. The BC women triumphed and, due to results in other games, were seeded second for the knock-out stages where they lost to Jones.

In the Men’s event, BC’s Team Craig made the Championship pool but was unable to progress to the playoffs.

The Victoria team of skip Wes Craig, third Scott MacDonald, second Tony Anslow and lead Lindsay Cheetham, secured wins over PEI, Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan during the competition.

The women’s event was won by Alberta’s Team Loblaw and the Men’s title was taken by Manitoba’s Team Neufeld.



Travelers Provincials Start March 27th

By kerr


The 2015 Northern Ontario Travelers Curling Club Championship Provincals take place Friday March 27 – Sunday March 31 at the Soo Curlers Association in Sault Ste. Marie.

6 men’s teams and 6 women’s teams will battle it out in the round robin draw ending with a final Sunday morning. The winners will represent Northern Ontario at the Canadian Travelers Curling Club Championship next November in Ottawa.

20 men’s teams and 17 women’s teams representing clubs across Northern Ontario played down at the regional level to secure berths at this provincial event.




Apply now for a $5,000 Sandra Schmirler scholarship

By Ellie Lambert

If you’re a competitive junior curler who is graduating from high school or pursuing post-secondary education then you could be eligible for a Spirit of Sandra Scholarship.

For the third year running, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation is offering six $5,000 scholarships to competitive junior curlers who are balancing their studies with their curling careers.

As well as receiving funding to help with the costs of their education and curling, the recipients will once again be mentored by world champion curlers Jon Mead and Cathy Overton-Clapham.

The scholarships are funded through crowd sweeps at event such as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, 50/50s and Sandra Schmirler Day breakfasts which are held at curling clubs across the country. These events also help raise money for neonatal care for premature and critically ill newborn babies across Canada.

One of the 2014 Spirit of Sandra Scholars was 2013 Canadian Junior champion and reigning BC Junior Women’s champion Corryn Brown.

Speaking about the Scholarship, Corryn said: “This scholarship puts you in touch with several great curlers from across the country as well as great mentors. I am extremely honoured to be associated with this foundation as it carries on a legacy of an amazing curler as well as helps babies in need.

The main benefit of the Scholarship is the financial support as it provides ease of mind for how you will cover the costs of curling and tuition. I believe every junior curler should apply for this scholarship to have an opportunity to work with this incredible foundation.”

Following feedback from previous recipients, the Foundation has reduced the course load requirement to three courses and made it easier for the Scholars to organize their fundraising event.

The deadline to apply for a Scholarship is May 1, 2015.

All of the details about the scholarships are available on the Sandra Schmirler Foundation’s website.



Team Joanisse is crowned BC Mixed champion

By Ellie Lambert

The lower mainland’s Team Joanisse will represent BC at nationals after they defeated Kimberley’s Tom Buchy 5-2 in the final of the 2015 AMJ Campbell BC Mixed Championship in Kelowna.

The rink, who curl out of Royal City, Golden Ears Winter Club and Vernon, is unbeaten since they formed in February, having won every game they’ve played at both playdowns and in the BC Championship.

Skip Dean Joanisse, and his team of third Shannon Aleksic, second Tyler Orme and lead Kelsey Steiger took an early lead in the final when they opened with a three-ender. They then forced Buchy to blank the second end, before stealing one in the third.

Tom Buchy, and third Lori Buchy, second Dave Toffolo and lead Robyn Toffolo, recorded singles in the fifth and seventh end but had to concede in the eighth after running out of rocks. The Kimberley team had previously won the Championship in 2006, 2010 and 2012.

Three members of Team Joanisse had already come close to clinching provincial titles this year as Joanisse was runner-up at the BC Men’s Championships, whilst Orme took bronze at the same event and Aleksic was a BC Scotties bronze medallist.

Speaking after their win, Aleksic said: “It’s always a thrill and honour to represent your province at a national championship. It is all the more special because I have achieved this with my fiancé (Joanisse) and two great friends. We look forward to trying to do BC proud.”

The Buchy rink had secured their place in the final by beating Chilliwack’s Team Freeman 4-3 earlier in the day. The bronze medal winning team consists of skip Mike Freeman, third Kim McLandress, second Mike Arden and lead Victoria Murphy.

The eight-team field at this year’s Championships was a particularly strong one which included five skips who had already won silver medals this year, as well as several past provincial champions.

Team Joanisse will now go on to represent BC at the Canadian Mixed Championship which takes place at The Weston Club in Toronto from November 7-14.

All of the scores from the 2015 AMJ Campbell Van Lines BC Mixed Championship, which was held at Kelowna Curling Club from March 19-22, can be found here.