Bernard could use can of WD-40

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

It's been almost four months since Cheryl Bernard threw a rock in a competitive game.

But many of the 15 women's teams are in the same boat this weekend at the World Curling Tour's Players Championship at the Corral.

Bernard, third Susan O'Connor, second Carolyn Darbyshire and lead Cori Bartel haven't played a game that matters since January. And they're feeling the rust.

"We've played a little bit, some mixed," said Bernard, who organized the annual Curl for a Cure cancer fundraiser last weekend. "We've practised a lot but now it's time to go play."

And, hey, it's the first time for the women's Players Championship, since Bernard last year spearheaded the move to join forces with the men's tour.

"We're finally moving up," she said. "Last year, we won the tour but it was pretty anti-climactic, because you win and that's it.

"I will enjoy going out and playing for it much more, instead of just having the top money winner having the title."

Bernard, who was 10th on the tour at $11,550, kicks off the round-robin against Jan Betker of Regina at 11 a.m. Betker, who was third on the tour at $18,500, was a gold medallist with Sandra Schmirler at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

The field features Kelly Scott of Kelowna, the reigning Scott champion; Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, the 2005 Scott champ and this year's tour winner at $23,342; Jenn Hanna of Ottawa, the 2005 Scott runner-up; and Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink, the 2006 Olympic bronze medallist.

On the men's side, John Morris is the lone home rink among the field of 15. He opens tonight, 6 p.m., against Edmonton's Kevin Martin.

Martin told the Edmonton Sun last month he's considering Morris to replace the retiring Don Walchuk at third for next season.

Morris won't commit to a decision until after the Players Championship, which is the swansong event for his lead Paul Moffat, who is moving to Ontario.

"We're looking at this as a sendoff for Paulie," said Morris. "No team knows what it's doing next season but we're all good friends, we're all grownups. We can handle the decision."


Videos

Photos