Big ends give big boost to Homan's Trial run

JOE PAVIA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Her stellar play in British Columbia last weekend might just have bought Rachel Homan a return ticket to the province next year.

The Ottawa Curling Club skip's semi-final finish at the Wayden Transportation Women's Grand Slam in Abbotsford goes a long way to ensuring her rink's return to B.C. next November for the Olympic pre-trials in Prince George. That 12-team event will send four teams to the Olympic trials.

Homan's junior-age team has yet to capture a provincial title at that age level, losing in the final the last years, but seems to have no problem earning money in women's events. In Abbotsford, Homan and her teammates had their fair share of ends in which they scored deuces and threes.

"The ice was really good," said Homan, who along with third Emma Miskew, second Alison Kreviazuk and lead Lynn Kreviazuk has now earned $24,200 this season, good for sixth on the World Curling Tour.

"It made for a lot of rocks in play so we could get a few big ends. We just tried to capitalize on people's mistakes."

Homan easily beat Alberta's Crystal Webster in the 'A' side qualifier, scoring four in the first end, then stealing a single in the second en route to an 8-5 victory.

Homan faced the same team in the qualifier, running Webster out of rocks in the last frame after again scoring twos and threes. Homan then lost 6-2 in her semi-final matchup with current world champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.

Jones went on to defeat Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton 9-2 in six ends. Lawton fell to Homan 6-5 in an extra end in the second game of the tournament.

The Ottawa juniors took home $8,000 for their efforts in Abbotsford.

The three-year qualifying process for Vancouver 2010 culminates with the Olympic trials in Edmonton in December 2009. After last weekend's impressive result, Homan now sits in sixth place in the Canadian Team Ranking System.

Every team above her with one exception is already assured a spot in either the Olympic pre-trials or the trials. With very few women's events remaining this season, the Ottawa juniors are very close to clinching one of the remaining few spots for Prince George.

They still have the John Shea Insurance Canada Cup event next month in Ottawa, where the available points loom as large as those they racked up in Abbotsford.

The JSI features a very strong field, including Jones, 2007 world champion Kelly Scott, 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink and former Scott Tournament of Hearts finalist Cheryl Bernard.

If Homan's past history against top women's competition is any indication, her team should be able to do well at the event, especially since they will be playing at the two clubs they know best.

A good showing at the JSI might also earn Homan a spot in the Players Championship next April, an event certain to qualify teams for spots in the Pre-Trials.

As she said after last weekend's top-four finish, "We're pretty close to making it, I think."

HOWARD ON A ROLL

The Ottawa Curling Club's Craig Savill has earned a spot in the Olympic Trials with Glenn Howard's team. Their win last Sunday in the first Capital One Grand Slam Masters of Curling in Waterloo made them $24,500 richer. By winning every spiel it has entered this season, Team Howard has also prevented other teams that might face it in the Trials from earning points.

SPONSOR REWARDS

After watching Sunday's Masters of Curling final, it's apparent Capital One is raising its commercial support to levels unheard of in curling. First, the company introduced the million-dollar draw to the button for the fans (you can register online for it). Now, it is offering a curling-affinity credit card, where curlers not only earn points redeemable for rewards but also opportunities to take lessons from the pros and more.

CURLING THIS WEEK

The season of hope begins this weekend. The Ontario Curling Association playdowns for various events start with junior zones Friday.


Videos

Photos