Nanette Dupont is back at her third Travelers Curling Club Championship and she’s banking on experience to get her through the playoffs.
The Alberta skip and her team are directly through to the semifinal of the championship (Friday at 7:30 p.m. AT) after securing first place in Pool B with a 5-1 record in Kingston, beating Team PEI, skipped by Crapaud’s Julie Mutch, 6-3 in their final round robin game Thursday evening. PEI (4-2) plays Ontario in a quarterfinal, Friday at 2:30 p.m. Atlantic.
Dupont won the event in 2010 with an entirely different team before returning to the national stage again in 2015. There it was Dupont with third Samantha Davies, second Kendra Nakagama and Avice DeKelver who would capture bronze.
This week at the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club it’s the same lineup backing up Dupont but with what Dupont describes as one noticeable difference in their chase for gold.
“Everything was big, new and adventurous and nerves were a factor (in 2015) and now we’ve curled together for three years and we know each other better and how to calm each other down and talk with each other,” said the Lethbridge Curling Club Manager.
Each team is allowed only one player who has played in a provincial/territorial Juniors’, Men’s (Brier), Women’s (Scotties) or Seniors’ championship in the current or previous four curling seasons, or participated in a full-field Grand Slam event in the current or previous four curling seasons.
As well, no player on the teams can have played in a Canadian Juniors, Men’s, Women’s or Seniors national championship in the current or previous four seasons.
For Dupont this has been her Scotties for the last several years. “You watch the Brier and you watch the Scotties and you see the teams wear the Alberta jackets and for us to be able to do that – we’re not at that elite level and we never will be – but to be given the chance from Travelers to wear this jacket and curl at a national championship gives you goosebumps.”
All 14 of Curling Canada’s Member Associations (10 provinces, three territories and Northern Ontario) are represented in both genders at the event.
Elsewhere, Manitoba (5-1) shut out Ontario 8-0 in a battle for first place in Pool A. The win pushes Stacey Fordyce’s Brandon rink directly into Friday evening’s other semifinal.
British Columbia (5-1) held on to defeat Northwest Territories (2-4) and earn a spot in the other women’s quarter-finals. They’ll await their opponent from a series of tiebreakers.
The first women’s tiebreaker took place at 1 am Friday morning am and featured New Brunswick taking on Quebec, with New Brunswick winning 6-4. They will face Nova Scotia on Friday at 10:30 a.m AT.
On the men’s side it was a wild finish to the round robin with British Columbia (5-1) securing a spot in Friday evening’s semifinal (7:30 p.m. AT) thanks to their win against Quebec (2-4) and Newfoundland and Labrador’s (4-2) upset loss to New Brunswick (2-4). Andrew Symonds’ St. John’s rink will advance to the playoffs through the quarterfinals (Friday 2:30 p.m. AT) where they’ll take on host Ontario (5-1). [PEI lost their final round robin game 7-5, after the Northwest Territories stole a deuce in the final end, and did not pick up a win in the event].
Jon St. Denis’s Ontario team dropped their final round robin game to Manitoba’s Mark Anderson (5-1), giving the Brandon rink a direct entry into the other men’s semifinal where they’ll play the winner of the Nova Scotia (4-2) and Alberta (5-1) quarterfinal matchup.
Nicholas Deagle of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia had no trouble in his final round robin game, defeating Yukon 9-2.
Alberta’s John Mryglod needed an extra end to secure his playoff spot while avoiding a tiebreaker. The team from Calmar, Alberta eliminated Saskatchewan (3-3) from contention thanks to a 5-4 win.
For full standings and playoff brackets for both men’s and women’s play check out curling.ca/scoreboard
Even for the teams eliminated from playoff contention there’s still a chance for them to come away from Kingston as winners. Back again at the Travelers Curling Club Championship is the annual fundraising challenge to benefit youth curling across Canada through the Curling Canada Foundation.
The team that raises the most money will earn a cash grant of $5,000 for improvements to its home club, while the second highest fundraising club will receive $3,000; additionally, there will be two random draws for $1,000 prizes for club improvements. You can find more information and donate to your favourite curler or team here: www.curling.ca/2017travelers/fundraising/