Good rockin' for Ottawa's women curlers

JOE PAVIA -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

It was a great weekend for Ottawa's women curlers.

In Kemptville, Uxbridge skip Janet McGhee added to her impressive cash and points totals by defeating Quebec's Brenda Nicholls 5-4 in an extra-end nail-biter.

Neither team took control of the game. In the second, McGhee missed an excellent opportunity to score at least two when her last-rock raise attempt didn't pan out. A Nicholls steal in the fourth seemed to switch the momentum to the Quebecers. After blanking the next end, McGhee snapped a deuce in the sixth.

"It was hard to get around the corner guards so it's almost easier to steal on this ice to get two," said McGhee. "The sixth was definitely a good end for us."

Down by one in the eighth end, Nicholls threw a dramatic draw-weight tap that would have won her the game had it been a bit heavier. Instead, her single sent the game to the ninth where the Uxbridge skip drew the four foot to win the game and the $4,000 cheque.

The inaugural Scotiabank OVCA Women's Fall Classic final featured four local players. Joining McGhee in the victory were third Pascale Letendre, second Lee Merklinger and lead Breanne Merklinger. Gatineau's Annie Lemay spared at second for the Quebec City rink.

Lee played for McGhee last season. Twin sister Breanne played in one event as well. The addition of the steady-shooting Letendre strengthened the rink immensely.

"I was looking for a team that wanted to have a multi-year commitment to go after some points and try and work towards the Olympic Trials in 2010," said McGhee.

This win raises not only the squad's money earnings into the Top 10, but considerably raises their Canadian Team Ranking System points. The CTRS point structure is the three-year process for identifying what teams will earn berths into Olympic qualifying events.

Cash winners were runner-up Nicholls -- $2,000, qualifiers Jenn Hanna and Carrie Lindner -- $1,000 each and consolation finalists Tanis Berthaudin -- $600 and Jenn Day -- $300.

As close as the Kemptville game was, the Carleton Heights final of the OVCA Junior Superspiel resulted in a lopsided win for Team Rachelle Homan. Homan with Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Nicole Johnston defeated the defending 'spiel champion and 2004 Canadian junior champion Ryan Sherrard of New Brunswick by a 9-2 score.

In the quarter-finals, the semi and the final, the Ottawa women scored nine points per game, holding their three opponents to just eight points. They defeated Toronto's Hollie Nicol (quarter-final), then attacked the Scottish national men's junior team skipped by Logan Gray (semi-final).

Team Homan earned $2,200, Sherrard $1,600, Hamilton's Britanni O'Neill and Gray $1,000 each while the quarter-finalists -- Manotick's Neil Sinclair, Norway's Kristin Skaslien, Quebec City's Philippe Menard and Nicol -- each received $800.

J.T. BRADLEY 'SPIEL: Team Gord Schade with a team skipped by J.P. Lachance captured the title in this annual Navan event.

OUT-OF-TOWN GLORY: Some Ottawa men won money at Brantford's Tim Hortons Invitational Classic. Losing in the semis were Team Bryan Cochrane (they played Brad Gushue) and Team Glenn Howard (Ottawa's Craig Savill as lead). Both rinks got $4,000. Gatineau's Jean-Michel Menard won $2,500 for qualifying. The winner was Montreal's Dwayne Fowler, with Ottawa's Sebastien Robillard throwing lead. Ottawa's Doug Johnston lost the final in the Trenton Curling Classic on Sunday.

THIS WEEK IN CURLING: The Money Concepts Rideau Skins starts tomorrow. The bulldozing of the Hylands club is expected this week.


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