Porritt's new rink keeps up

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:04 AM ET

Manitoba's Karen Porritt kept up with the Jones team on the weekend.

Porritt skipped her new foursome of Janet Blair, Lynn Fallis-Kurz and Susan Baleja into the quarter-finals of the $100,000 BDO Women's Classic in Kelowna, B.C. -- just as Jennifer Jones, her former teammate, did.

Although that was as far as both got, they still left town with $6,000 each.

Both teams will also be competing in the Casinos of Winnipeg Women's Classic, a Manitoba Curling Tour event to be played at the Fort Rouge Curling Club, Friday through Monday.

Last qualifier

Classic organizers were forced to scramble this year after losing JVC as the title sponsor when the TSN Women's Skins Game died. The popular spiel used to be the last qualifier for the Skins Game.

"That's really unfortunate but we've probably got the best field we've ever had," co-chair Jan Sandison said yesterday. "It's unbelievable."

That 32-team field includes former world champion Deb McCormick of the U.S., Alberta's Renelle Bryden, the defending Classic champ, B.C.'s Kelley Law, with a new squad, P.E.I.'s Suzanne Gaudet and two European teams. And they will still be vying for a $14,000 top prize, with $10,000 to the runner-up.

"The Casinos of Winnipeg are just committed for this year so we hope to put on a really good show for them," said Sandison, who does not know what next year will bring.

"Every year, it's a bit of a struggle to get sponsors."

Ray Turnbull and Kay Sugara are also presenting sponsors but, with TSN no longer involved, Sandison also wondered how long the two will continue in that role.

Next Monday's final will be televised live on Shaw Cable at 5 p.m. The first draw goes Friday at 8:30 a.m., a day later than the usual start.

BITERS: With a new arena to be built in Dauphin by March, 2006, you can bet that the Manitoba Curling Association will award the town a Safeway Select almost as soon as the doors are open ... The MCA will be keeping an eye on how well the Grand Slam event to be held at the MTS Centre in January will be received. Every dollar raised above cost, by the way, will go to the Children's Hospital Foundation for the prestigious cashspiel, which may be held in Winnipeg for three straight years. The MCA wants to host a Select there and eventually, either a Brier or the 2009 Olympic trials. "The (Canadian Curling Association) wants to put events in Winnipeg and we want them here," MCA executive director Ian Staniloff said recently ... Now that the CCA has awarded the 2006 Brier to Regina and its smaller arena, there is renewed hope for Brandon. "The rules have slightly changed about where they're (CCA) going to host events," Staniloff said. The CCA had been sticking to locales with large arenas for the last decade or so ... Both Manitoba's David Hamblin and Allan Lyburn were still trying to qualify at a World Curling Tour cashspiel in Medicine Hat, Alta., last night.


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