With their skip sidelined for three weeks because of a hernia operation, Team Glenn Howard successfully defended their title at the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Cashspiel in Brockville on Sunday.
The Richard Hart-skipped team took Winnipeg's Kerry Burtnyk to an extra end final, winning 7-6.
"It was the best game we played all weekend." said Howard second Craig Savill.
How was it playing without their skip? "Throughout the week we played smoke and mirrors," said Savill.
Losing just one game in their pool, their play didn't seem sharp.
Finding a lead was a problem. Andy Ormsby, a former junior championship teammate of Savill and Brent Laing, was "the 35th person we asked," according to Savill. Team Howard earned $9,000. Burtnyk won $6,500.
Ottawa-area teams threatened throughout the event. Robyn Matte had the best women's record at 4-1. Quebec's Eve Belise overcame Matte 6-4 in the semi-final. Quebec's Marie-France Larouche (playing with Gatineau's Annie Lemay and Joelle Sabourin) defeated Belisle 5-3 to claim the $5,300 top prize. Belisle took home $3,900, Mattie $2,600 and Julie Reddick $2,500.
Rideau's Jeff McCrady advanced to the semis after his 8-7 win against former Brier finalist Shawn Adams from Halifax. In the semi they lost in the eighth (7-4) against Hart. Buckingham's Ted Butler (Team Multivesco) eliminated Brad Jacobs in an extra-end 6-5 win in the quarters. Burtnyk served Butler a 7-3 semi-final defeat. McCrady and Butler earned $3,900 each.
Ottawa's Willie Jeffries had tough luck in his pool. His 4-1 record tied him with two others. In the mandatory team draw to the button conducted in order to break ties, Team Jeffries fared the worst, so did not qualify ... Revolutionary ice maker Shorty Jenkins was in attendance again. Much more subdued since being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Jenkins mingled with spectators and still questioned the players, especially the losing rinks, about ice conditions. The ice was remarkably fast and swingy ... Manitoba native and Gushue second Ryan Fry talked about his move to The Rock at the end of last season. "For me it was a good opportunity to see another part of the country and play with some guys my own age." Is there any money in moving to curl? "It's there to make a pretty good living off it as a second income. But as far as getting paid salaries to curl, I don't see that in my lifetime." ... Burtnyk teamed up with Kevin Martin's former vice, Don Walchuk -- same delivery, same corn broom. ... Bronze medallist Pete Fenson loves the Shorty but is less enamoured by Brazil's challenge for the second western hemisphere spot at the 2009 Worlds. When asked if he would play Brazil, Fenson said "I didn't express a whole lot of interest ... our goal is to win the Olympic Trails this year. We are really not that interested in veering from our schedule." This challenge must be played in January, 2009. The U.S. trials are in February. America might be in a quandary.
At Peterborough's Derek Whitehill Memorial Junior Cashspiel, Neil Sinclair lost his extra end semi-final 8-7 to Andrew Fleming. Other local qualifiers were Christian Tolusso, Jon Wall and Stephanie Brown.
CURLING THIS WEEK
The RCMP Fall Open begins today.
The tournament boasts an impressive field from Ontario, Quebec and the U.S.