By Keith Hamblin

A LOCAL curler has just returned from the European Mixed Championships where he won a bronze medal with England.
Andrew Reed, 28, was a member of the four-strong team who won an amazing eight out of nine games played in the event, which was staged at Prague in the Czech Republic.

Their only defeat, after seven straight wins in the qualifiers, came when they were beaten 4-2 by Denmark in the semi-finals.
That put them into the bronze medal play-off where they beat the host nation 5-3.

Andrew and fellow team members Alan MacDougall (skip), Suzi Law and Lana Watson, had earlier beaten Italy 9-3, Russia 3-2, Austria 5-4, Serbia 22-0, Ireland 8-1, Sweden 7-4 and Norway 8-2.

“Winning all our section games put us well up there as favourites for gold or silver,” said Andrew, “but like any sport things just didn’t go our way in the semi-finals and we were beaten by the stronger team on the day, Denmark.

“An England – Scotland final would have been a great occasion but it was not to be. Scotland went on to win the event with a 5-1 victory over the Danes.

“As a team it was important to re-gather ourselves for the bronze encounter so we had something too show for a tremendous week’s work and get English curling on the map.”

Andrew, who lives at Ancroft near Berwick is a farmer. He started curling in 1995 and is a member of the Glendale Club who play in the Border League out of the Kelso rink.

He was a member of the mixed England team which competed in the European Championships in 1997 in Madrid, where they finished eighth, but last year he had to withdraw from the squad because of the flooding which hit north Northumberland.

“It would have been nice to go to Kitzbul in Austria in 2008 but for the sake of my bread and butter – the farm – I couldn’t go. It was unfortunate as we might have pushed for a medal, but I am very happy to have been able to make Prague and get among the medals this year.”

The same quartet (MacDougall and Watson both come from London, whilst Law has just moved to Edinburgh) hope to qualify again for next year’s Euro finals by winning the English Championships again next March.
“It would be nice to see if we could better our bronze medal position of this year,” said Andrew.

Reed is now turning his attention to the men’s game and he will be competing in the English Championships in February, looking to qualify for the European finals in Switzerland.

Anyone wanting to find out more about curling can contact Andrew by e-mail at radarjnr@hotmail.com.

By Brian Smiley

This year’s Sun Life Financial Invitational Curling Classic promises to be bigger than ever.

“It’s huge,” said Jay Allen, who is organizing the third annual bonspiel with Wayne Tuck.

“There’s a very good chance we’ll experience the Olympic trial final before it happens.”

This year’s edition will take place from Nov. 20 to 23 at the Brantford Golf and Country Club, and the Brant and Paris curling clubs.

The tournament format is a triple-knockout. The quarterfinals will be played on Nov. 22 with the semifinals and final set for Nov. 23 at the BGCC.

Competing for the $100,000 purse will be 64 teams, equally split between men and women. The winner on each side takes home $13,000.

“Sun Life has been spectacular,” said Allen. “We get the odd $1,000 sponsor, which is much appreciated, but Sun Life donates the lion’s share.”

Next month’s event also carries major implication for some of the competitors because the Vancouver Olympics in February. Canada’s top rinks have been busy the past couple of years earning points towards being among the eight men’s and eight women’s teams that will compete at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, which are set for Edmonton’s Rexall Place, Dec. 6-13.

All four of the eight women’s teams who have so far qualified for the Olympic trials will be in Brantford next month. They are reigning Canadian champion Jennifer Jones, Stefanie Lawton, Shannon Kleibrink and Cheryl Bernard.

Of the four men’s teams that have already qualified for the Olympic trials, only Glenn Howard will be in Brantford. But the field includes a couple of other noteworthy names such as former Canadian and world champion Jeff Stoughton and Al Hackner, another former Canadian and world champion.

By the time the Sun Life Financial rolls around, the Olympic trial pool of teams will have been determined, meaning Brantford could see even more than the five teams which have already been confirmed.

While Brantford has seen its share of big bonspiels, Allen believes this year’s Sun Life Financial Classic may turn out to be the top event the city has ever hosted.

“The reason for that is the level of teams we’ve got,” he said.

“At the provincials, you get the top teams in the province but, at something like this, you’re getting the top three or four from all the provinces, together.”

Allen said no rock has been left unturned in the buildup to next month’s event. In fact, the curlers will be using all new rocks, since the stones and the ice are the two most important aspects for any bonspiel.

“Paris purchased all new inserts for their stones, just for this event,” said Allen, who noted rocks at the other clubs are Ontario Curling Association stones.

The event is a labour of love for Allen and Tuck but they don’t do everything on their own. In fact, Allen said the dozen or so committee members are vital to the success of the event.

“Without them, it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Of the 64 teams, Allen estimates that 28 are flying in and will need transportation to and from airports in Toronto, Hamilton, London and Waterloo.

Included in those 64 teams are defending champions Howard and Marie-France Larouche.

Internationally, the Czech Republic will send its Olympic men’s team to the event while both of the Olympic teams from the U. S. — Debbie McCormick from Madison, Wis., and John Shuster from Duluth, Minn. — will be here.

Locally, three rinks will compete.

Tuck has a rink entered and Jason Young also will take part.

Young, who resides in Sarnia, plays with Brantford’s Allen at lead and Allen’s brother, Chad, at vice. The team is rounded out with Tyler Morgan of Burlington playing second.

On the women’s side, Brantford’s Jo-Ann Rizzo will have a team entered. Rizzo’s team includes Chrissy Cadorin, Lee Merklinger and Leigh Armstrong.

While the event is still a little more than a month away, Allen is excited.

“I’m just looking forward to running it again,” he said. “It’s fun.

“To have this calibre of curling in Brantford, I’m happy to be part of it.”

Allen hopes Brantford sees it the same way.

“We would like to see more support in an event like this,” he said. “A portion of each ticket is donated to charity (Brantford General Hospital Foundation).

“We’re not making money on this but we have to cover costs.”

www.brantfordexpositor.ca

By Ron Rauch – Times Colonist

Every four years, winter sports receive a huge shot in the arm with the build-up and then the exposure during the Olympics.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/ Whistler just a few months away, there has been a trickle-down effect in Victoria.

With the curling season just started, the Victoria Curling Club will be busy again this year.

“Most of our leagues are full,” said Victoria Curling Club manager Bill Chester. “Some of our mixed and women’s leagues could still use some players or teams.

“We have started a Monday morning open league and it has been a hit. We also had great response to our learn-to-curl clinics and now we have to find room for them. We had more than 100 for our novice and intermediate clinics. It seems that the younger generation is starting to come back to curling and having the Olympics in Canada helps us.

“We are also planning on having another clinic during the Olympics. Our phone has been ringing a lot from University of Victoria students and school classes. Our number of curlers this year will probably be up a bit.”

Two major events on the curling calendar this year in Victoria are the B.C. junior men’s and women’s championship, Dec. 26 to 31 at Juan de Fuca and the Victoria Curling Classic in March.

Canada’s best competitive curlers — a total of 32 men’s and women’s teams — are preparing for the final battles to determine the Olympic representatives.

Twenty-four teams (12 men and 12 women) square off in the Pre-Trials, Nov. 10-15 in Prince George, and eight of those will make their way to Edmonton for the Olympic Trials, Dec. 6-13. The eight teams with berths already secured for the trials are Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Koe, all from Edmonton, Glenn Howard from Ontario, Jennifer Jones from Winnipeg, Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard and Shannon Kleibrink and Stefanie Lawton from Saskatoon. All eight of those teams have confirmed their entries into the Classic at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.

B.C. will be represented by three teams at the Pre-Trials — Bob Ursel of Kelowna, a two-time winner of the Bear Mountain Arena Curling Classic (now Victoria Curling Classic) and former world champions Greg McAulay from Richmond and Kelly Scott from Kelowna.

The Olympics run from Feb. 12-28.


By Vermilion Standard – Murray Crawford

Hockey isn’t the only ice-based sport starting soon – curling action will start soon.

With a newly renovated facility the Vermilion Curling Club is ready for a winter of stone throwing and drawing to the button, but Joanne McCrae, with the Vermilion Curling Club, is having trouble getting the Vermilion Junior Curling ready for the year.

“We need two to four people to help train them in the skills that they need in order to be able to curl and enjoy it,” said McCrae.

“If you have the skills and a better understanding of the game then you can enjoy it more, curling is a very technical game.”

Every year the junior program gets youth aged nine – 18 years old on the ice every Tuesday night for an hour and a half of curling instruction and practice.

“If you start developing the skills that young then it progresses,” said McCrae.

“For example my oldest has competed in the Northern Alberta Curling, which goes on to provincials, but he hasn’t gone on to provincials yet.”

While her oldest has competed in a zone at one level, at the high school level there was more success.

“My oldest did win provincials for high school mixed teams,” said McCrae.

By Brampton Guardian

Some of the top curlers in the province, and Canada, are set to converge on Brampton.

The Brampton Curling Club will be holding the 27th annual Brampton Cash Spiel from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1.

The bonspiel, formerly known as the Bacardi Cash Spiel,  will again feature some of the best male and female curlers in Canada competing for significant cash prizes.

“We are very excited about the quality of teams that we will have at the Brampton Cash Spiel this year. This year’s competition promises to be one of the best ever” said Debbie Gates, Chair, Brampton Cash Spiel Organizing Committee.

Former champions of the Brampton Cash Spiel include Wayne Middaugh, Ed Werenich, Sherry Middaugh, Marilyn Bodogh and Alison Goring.

This year’s bonspiel promises to offer top notch competition in both the women’s and men’s draws that will feature former provincial champions, Anne Dunn and Peter Corner, competing for a top cash prize of $5,000.00.

Curling fans are welcome to come and watch all of the curling action during the week.
Daily passes will be available for $5 and a weekly pass will be available for $10.

The finals for the 2009 Brampton Cashspiel will be played at 4:30p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The Brampton Curling Club was established in 1880 and moved to its present location in 1951. It is located at 46 McMurchy Avenue South, Brampton, Ontario.

For more information visit www.bramptoncc.com/cashspiel/index.html or call Brampton Curling Club manager Michelle Laidlaw at 905- 451-4015 or by e-mail at  manager@bramptoncc.com