There's no wiggle room

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Cathy King. Check.

Renee Sonnenberg. Check.

Crystal Rumberg. What the heck?

OK, that's the order we had 'em to finish in yesterday's editions of the Sun.

The key word being finish. We had no clue that's the way they'd start. All three skips have their teams at 2-0 after first- day Alberta Scott Tournament of Hearts action at the Shamrock.

"Both of our games went right down to the wire," said King's third Lori Armitstead, the top-rated third at 82%. "The scores didn't indicate how that game went against Martineau (Chana). Her draw went heavy in seven and we stole three (in a 7-4 win).

"That was the TSN turning point."

In her first start, King needed an extra end to put away Faye White 7-6, after giving up back-to-back steals. Still, King's team is shooting 80%, tops in the field.

Sonnenberg had a much easier time of it.

"We played solid, made the key ones. Most of all we learned a lot about the ice while sticking to the game plan, and that was really important," said Sonnenberg.

Calgarian Rumberg? It took a mid-season lineup shuffle for the 2004 and 2005 Calgary Super League champs to get back on track.

LET'S MAKE A CHANGE

Third Bronwen Saunders skipped the squad until it could not reverse an early-season skid.

"We weren't achieving the goals we wanted to achieve," said Saunders, the 1998 Alberta junior champ. "We weren't qualifying. We were struggling. We just thought, let's make a change and see what happens. Here we are at provincials, so obviously the change was good."

Rumberg took over last-rock duties in November at a spiel in Abbotsford, B.C. The team finally qualified and beat King in the quarter-final game.

"It was a challenge for all of us to change our focus and concentrate on something else," said Saunders.

WHATEVER WORKS

"If I fit in better at third on this team and we're doing well, that's all I want. I don't really see it as giving up control. If it's for the betterment of the team, I'm all for it."

Rumberg served a longer apprenticeship in a supporting role. She last skipped in 1994, when her team won the Alberta juniors.

She spent five seasons as a front-end player for Cheryl Bernard and other teams before tagging up with Saunders last season.

"We'd been throwing well and doing everything right, but not getting results," said Rumberg, the top-rated skip at a sizzling 87%. "It was just to mix it up and see if we could get something going.

"Our goal today was to get comfortable with the ice and with our game plan. Of course, the two wins was in our minds. Our team is clicking well and doing the right things."

On Monday, the team leaves for Karizauwa, Japan, as part of the Canadian Curling Association's La Releve program that recognizes promising teams.

It would be a bonus if they had a provincial title in hand when they show up.


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