Quebec curlers should rule Capital

JOE PAVIA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

It may be overshadowed by another Ontario cashspiel this weekend, but the Capital Curling Classic will still thrill curling fans.

Jean-Michel Menard defending his title also brings a lot of quality Quebec rinks as well. Former Ottawa junior player Sebastien Robillard will be competing as third on the Montreal squad skipped by Mike Fournier. Jean-Pierre Venn, Simon Dupuis, Francois Gagne (with Menard's younger brother Philippe throwing second) and the always cagey Ted Butler Buckingham foursome will all be threats.

Northern Ontario sends Brier skips Tim Phillips and Mike Jakubo.

Local teams abound including last week's 'spiel winner Howard Rajala. Expect Bryan Cochrane, Willie Jeffries and Dave Murphy to be in the thick of it.

Two solid junior teams will ice squads. Christian Tolusso has two junior tour wins with him and his rink has qualified in every tournament so far this season. Neil Sinclair has added a new player to his foursome this season in his vice, Steve Howard. Howard moved to Ottawa for high school this season.

The women's side features local favourites Jenn Hanna and Rachel Homan. Team Homan has a new lead in Lynn Kreviazuk and seems to be playing in everything with good results for the most part.

Quebec is well-represented with Thurso's Chantal Osborne and Quebec's Marie-France Larouche, the 2007 winner. Tracy Horgan, of Sudbury, despite her youth, has plenty of junior national and provincial experience.

Look for solid outings as well from Tracy Samaan and Robyn Mattie, who skipped her Nova Scotia team to the 2003 national women's junior finals in Ottawa.

The combination of experience -- most of the teams already have 40 games in -- and the fast, swingy RCMP surface should make for some exceptional curling.

The tournament begins tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. with the men and 8:30 p.m. with the women. Draws run all day and evening until the Monday finals at 6 p.m.

Expect a Dupuis-Jeffries men's final and a Horgan-Larouche women's final. Quebec will carry the day.

The draws can be found at capitalcurling.com.

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: Two Ottawa teams captured the top spots at last weekend's Rideau Ice Breaker junior event. Tolusso, Richie Gillan, Alex Young and Kevin Rathwell defeated Fraser Reid 7-3 while Homan, Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lynn Kreviazuk beat Shannon Harrington 6-4. The win solidifies Tolusso's hold on the top of Ontario Junior Curling Tour's ratings. It vaults Homan from third to the top of the women's standings.

IN THE RINGS: Team Hanna second Lee Merklinger has been asked by Colleen Madonia to spare for her in the Casinos of Winnipeg Women's Grand Slam later this month... The 2009 Women in Curling calendar is out again. Check out thecurlingnews.com ... The Pembroke Fall Cashspiel runs November 13 to 16. The $250 entry includes some meals and other events. E-mail Carl Zieroth for information at carlz@royallepage.ca.


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