Curling life ain't easy

ANGELA MacISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

Getting to provincials is no walk in the park.

All anyone needed for proof yesterday was the look on Cheryl Bernard's face.

Sad disappointment? Absolutely.

A little bit of shock? Without question.

"We always expect to get to provincials," the Calgary skip yesterday, following a 6-4 loss to Renelle Bryden in the southern C final in Airdrie.

"It's a tough way to end the year ... And that's the hardest part, really. To have such a great season and not go to provincials."

Indeed. Bernard, third Susan O'Connor, second Jody McNabb and lead Karen Ruus won the money title on the Women's Curling Tour.

On Thursday, they received an invitation to the $180,000 Canada Cup in Kamloops, B.C., March 15-20.

But to go out giving up four points over the last three ends will hurt for some time.

"It's going to be a few long months before (Canada Cup) comes up, so we'll have to find something to do," Bernard said. "A little golfing, I think. My mom (in Arizona) will be getting a call and I'll be down there pretty quick."

But the season has only just begun for Bryden, third Nancy Smith, second Carolyn Darbyshire and lead Shannon Mattheis.

In three weeks, they're off to Lethbridge for the provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts.

Bryden, who stole a point in each of the ninth and 10th ends against Bernard, counts herself lucky.

"You know, in southern Alberta, there are so many great teams," she said. "We got our games worth out here and we'll take our trip to provincials.

"Anytime you play Cheryl, you have to have your best game."

ON THE ROCKS: The last-chance qualifier for men's provincials is set for this weekend at Crossfield with seven teams confirmed. Registration for the event wraps up today.


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