Highland drops opener

STEVE GREEN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

The way Ruth Alexander sees it, things can only get better from here.

For one thing, the Highland skip knows her rink can play much better. For another, she may have her hardest game out of the way.

Alexander and her Highland rink of Gayle George, Sue Dittmer and Jill Bezaire lost their first-draw game 11-7 to Joyce Potter of Ottawa Rideau yesterday morning at the Ontario senior curling championships. Potter, on paper, is the favourite on the women's side. She's making her fifth straight provincial appearance and was the 2003 champion.

"Really, but for one end, we were right with them," Alexander said. "We made a few too many mistakes.

"Obviously, this wasn't the way we wanted to start off. We didn't play our best game, but we know we can play better."

Potter turned the seesaw game in her favour for good with a four in the seventh for a 9-6 lead. Alexander admitted her strategy of trying come-around taps instead of freezing to the shot stone earlier in the end may have backfired.

"We had too many misses in that end," she said.

The Highland rink was up against it from the start as Potter stole two in the first. Alexander scored three in the second, but Potter got that back in the third.

Alexander squared the game 5-5 in the fifth with a deft double kill and went ahead with a steal of one in the sixth set up by a great double-raise tap to the button.

In the other women's first-round games, Anne Gray of Burlington scored three in the ninth for an 8-4 win over Marg Cole of Toronto St. George's, Diane Harris of Ottawa City View led 11-2 after five and held on to beat Cindy Lew of Orangeville 11-7 and Pat Reid of Toronto Avonlea stole singles in the fifth and sixth ends in a come-from-behind 7-5 win over Dale Curtis of Guelph.

In the men's first-round games, 2001 champ Axel Larsen of Guelph wasted no time in getting started, beating Paul Barnett of Whitby 10-3. Larry Snow of Durham stole three in the fourth and two more in the fifth to beat Gary Smith of Ottawa 9-5. Single steals in the sixth and seventh helped Layne Noble of Rideau beat Frank Gowman of Galt 8-4 and Bob Edmondson of Oakville scored two in the 10th to edge Bruce Park of Brant 8-7.

Better day for Canada

Chris Daw and his rink of fellow Londoners Bruce McAninch and Karen Blachford, Jim Primavera of Toronto and Gerry Austgarden of B.C. improved to 3-2 at the world wheelchair championship yesterday in Glasgow, Scotland, after a pair of wins.

In the fourth round, the Canadians edged South Korea 5-4. In the fifth round, Canada beat Bulgaria 6-4.

Today, Canada plays Poland (0-5) and Italy (2-3).


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