Onward & Upward: Regions Bound
Ask most curling teams why they compete on the OCT or WCT event circuit and they’ll likely tell you they’re working on peaking their performance in time for their provincial playdowns. Everyone has their eyes on a Tankard or Scotties birth in hopes of reaching the pinnacle of curling in Canada: the Brier or the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Without consistent performances in the lead up to playdowns, it can be hard to shake the feeling of being unprepared as the first playdown date draws nearer, so teams work hard to feel ready.
Our last couple events on the Ontario Curling Tour included the Chatham Cash and the Brantford Classic. Both are ideal formats to prep for playdowns being modified double knockouts. In Chatham we got off to a strong start only to lose both A-B qualifying games, unable to shake the morning playoff game curse of our last few events. In Brantford, we got off to a slower start, dropping our first two to Peter Corner and Rob Retchless, only to string together 3 wins en route to winning the consolation bracket. Needless to say, the consistency we search for wasn’t there.
With a week left, our backend of Josh and Wes had a good weekend at the 65th Toronto Cricket Chisholm spiel, making the final which helped boost morale. Followed by a couple big wins for the Game of Stones in the Toronto Major League that brought us to 5-2, we felt pretty confident heading into Zones at Weston Golf & Country Club.
Zone 8 (GTA west/central) featured a lot of the usual suspects: Darryl Prebble, Peter Corner, Roy Arndt along with 3 other teams from our home club – 10 teams in all. Feeling confident that we’d be playing Rob Retchless at some point in the weekend having played them 4 other times this season, we managed to draw them first. With that rivalry as motivation, we came out strong for the win, moving on to edge Weston’s Aaron Clark to reach the A semi vs. Roy Arndt who single-handedly won a game where we had them outplayed early. 3 games and 30 ends done on Saturday put us on the B side Sunday morning vs. Peter Corner. Knowing that getting by them meant we had a solid chance of taking the other qualifier, we played our strongest game yet and capitalized on some unfortunate breaks for Corner & co. With two Royals rinks remaining, we pulled off a come-from-behind win vs. Flewwelling and managed to persevere in the final vs. fellow major league rink Team Prebble who was trying to rebound from a tough A-side final loss to Roy Arndt.
We’ve still got a tough road ahead, with Epping and Kean refocusing on the Brier after their Olympic runs, but our path is much more clear.
We’re pleased to be heading to Lakefield in a few weeks for Tankard Regionals and will be working hard to continue our momentum after some much needed downtime over the holidays. All the best from us for the Holiday Season!