Sunday was not kind to Ottawa curlers.
In Flims, Switzerland, Rachel Homan's Ottawa Curling Club rink -- vice Emma Miskew, second Laura Crocker and lead Lynn Kreviazuk -- came up short in the world junior final, falling 8-3 to Sweden. The loss was a stunner after they had dominated the round-robin and Page One game.
In the final, a Swedish triple denied Homan a big second end. The Ottawa rink led 3-2 at the break, but failed to make routine shots in the second half of the game.
"The team seemed to struggle in the final," said coach Earle Morris. "As the game went on, we seemed to be fighting the ice a little bit as the weight got slower down the middle, but stayed faster on the outsides."
In another disappointing note, the loss comes in Morris' final year in coaching.
In Halifax, lead Craig Savill's Brier mirrored Homan's worlds. With his father and wife watching in the stands, Savill and Team Ontario went undefeated through the round-robin and Page One game, only to lose the final in a 6-5, extra-end heartbreaker to Alberta.
The loss capped a season the Glenn Howard-skipped rink out of Coldwater would rather forget.
Still not over losing the Olympic trials to eventual gold medallist Kevin Martin, a Brier championship would have catapulted the foursome back on to the world stage.
Neither their election to the first and second Brier all-star teams, nor vice Richard Hart's shot-of-the-Brier award could not hide their dejection on the podium -- nor screen the tears in the stands.
The final scored the highest-ever rating for a non-Olympic curling game. TSN reports the broadcast averaged 1.6 million viewers. Average draw viewership was 631,000, a 42% increase over last year ... The Halifax Brier will be paid for by massive 50/50 draws. Old-fashioned perforated tickets were replaced by a high-tech system in which handheld, digital machines spit out a piece of paper with your numbers. Electronic tote boards kept a running tally of the potential windfall, which spurred sales. The buy-in was expensive: One ticket for $5, three for $10 and five for $20. With an average draw attendance of 4,000, the winner's share was routinely $10,000-$15,000. The pot peaked during the championship rounds with the final winner leaving with $27,000. The Brier in London next year is hoping to use the same system, designed by a P.E.I. company ... Attendance in Halifax, however, fell dramatically -- from 158,000 for the 2003 Brier to about 107,000.
The World Financial Group Canadian Seniors begins at the Hunt Club Saturday with a women's draw at 12:30 p.m. Al Hackner (Northern Ontario) starts against Nova Scotia at 4:30. Former Ottawa curler Margaret McLaughlin plays third for the Northern Ontario women. Look for Quebec to capture the men's side and Alberta the women.
The draw is available at seasonofchampions.ca/2010seniors.
Odds and ends
Ottawa's Doug Johnston came close to winning the intermediates on Sunday, losing 6-5 to Al Hutchinson of the Blue Water Curling Club ... Two Navy rinks defeated the Baie D'Urfe Curling Club 29-9 across the board on the weekend to take the Quebec Challenge Cup. The Ottawa teams were Bruce Delaney, Terry Benoit, George Mitchell and Ron Dufour; and skip Erin Paquette, Andre Paquette, Joe Teiszler and Leo Denner ... Perth's Travis Barber, Hayden Richmond, Ryley Gemmill and Tyler Hawkins won the Little Rocks Championship ... The women's worlds begin Saturday in Swift Current, Sask., with TSN airing Canada vs. Sweden at 9 p.m.