Savill cashing in with red-hot rink

JOE PAVIA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

They're lovin' it. Craig Savill and his teammates on Glenn Howard's rink went undefeated to earn the first place $12,000 prize money at the McDonalds Invitational in Brantford on Monday.

"We're just going out there and playing our game and getting a few breaks along the way." said Savill.

The large target positioned on their backs owing to their Canadian and world championships hasn't affected them.

"We had a fairly slow start compared to other teams," said Savill. "We didn't expect to have three wins under our belts in the first five spiels."

They have won cash in all five. Events will be more frequent for the champions now. In quick succession, they compete in The BDO Canadian Open, the Casino Rama TSN Skins Game, The Continental Cup of Curling, then go to Scotland for the Ramada Perth Masters.

The team will split up in mid-January for the Grand Slam National. Howard and third Richard Hart will rest, while second Brent Laing teams up with Kevin Martin and Savill plays for Wayne Middaugh.

Because of the team's Canadian championship, Ontario Curling Association rules give them a free ride to the provincial championship. Savill likes the idea.

"It's massive being able to have an extra two weeks where you don't have to play in zones and regions. It gives us another week to play in a tour event and get an extra weekend at home," he said.

Team Howard would not have been able to play in either zones or regions.

Their bye to the TSC Stores Tankard is an Ontario-only phenomenon. B.C. has now joined the long list of jurisdictions that award spots to defending provincial champions and squads with the most CTRS points. According to Savill: "Ontario is the last one not doing this. It's frustrating." It's also behind the times."

MIXED MESSAGE

Ontario's Bob Turcotte lost the Canadian mixed final to Dean Ross of Alberta 5-4 on Friday. Alberta finished the round robin with a 10-1 record followed by Turcotte at 8-3. Thurso's Simon Dupuis fought back to a fourth-place finish, tied with Nova Scotia at 7-4, then lost the tiebreaker.

ZONE RESULTS

Pepsi Junior zone men and women advancing to this weekend's regionals in Marmora: 1A -- Rachel Homan and David Lillico; B -- Crystal Lillico and Shane Latimer; 2A - Katie Morrissey and Neil Sinclair; B -- Stephanie Brown and Scott Sagle; 3A -- Amber Moulton and Billy Woods; B -- Julia Weagle and Christian Tolusso; 4A -- Katie Zarichny and Scott Ray; B -- Stephanie Barre and James Sills.

SENIOR MOMENTS

The Dominion of Canada Senior zones take place this weekend and have some new names for this route to a provincial championship. Perennial Ottawa area men's provincial contender Bryan Cochrane is one of the "rookies." "Yes, it is going to happen ... seniors that is." said Cochrane. Ron Diguer, who in the past skipped one of Ottawa's premier men's competitive teams, is entering Zone 1 where Cochrane is also entered. The 2006 senior provincial champion from Navy, Bruce Delaney, is seeking to repeat as well. There are 34 men's squads and 11 women's rinks in the four zones that cover our area.

NORTH GOWER CURLING

Versatile North Gower author Doug Clark has just published The Roaring Game: A Sweeping Saga of Curling. It's available from Key Porter Books and retailers.


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