Eyeing a bye into provincials

JOE PAVIA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

To bye or not to bye?

When Ontario men's champion, Glenn Howard's team defeated Quebec men's champion Jean-Michel Menard on Monday in Brantford's Sun Life Financial Cashspiel, the Ontario team was a scant 50 km from Woodstock, the site of the 2009 Ontario men's championship.

Team Howard might not make it.

Menard is assured of a spot in his provincials because Quebec, among others, has a number of direct byes to their provincials. Howard has to play in the Ontario zones and regions.

"I think the Ontario Curling Association has to really sit down and really take a look at what the other provinces are doing," said Howard lead Craig Savill.

Some players approached the OCA two years ago but no progress was made. "I know proposals have been given to them (the OCA)."

OCA executive director Doug Bakes disagrees. "We haven't had a lot of requests to look at a different format per se." he said.

"Has Glenn (Howard) ever come up to us and said it would be nice if we had a direct entry based on our success on the cash tour?"

Another problem he sees is determining who gets byes. "The elite teams want perhaps two berths based on the CRTS. The not-so-elite teams want the top two teams on the Ontario Curling Tour."

The Sun Life Financial women's final sort of pitted local players against one another.

The Rideau's Jacqueline Harrison lost 8-7 to Marie-France Larouche (with Gatineau front-enders Annie Lemay and Joelle Sabourin).

Harrison took a last-end three for the 6-5 qualifying win against Newfoundland's Heather Strong, then defeated Eve Belisle from Quebec 5-4. Harrison pocketed $8,000.

Harrison, 30, put her team together last spring. The third is Alison Levere, 27, second is Breanne Merklinger, 25, and lead is Julie Columbus, 35. Because the skip lives in Waterdown, the lead in Elmvale, near Barrie and the other two in Ottawa, the rink plays together on the road only.

"Our mutual goal," said Harrison "is really wanting to be on the competitive circuit and to get the provincial championship and represent Ontario. We're all young and really into it."

OCA ZONE WINNERS: Juniors who advance to regionals this weekend are: Zone 1A, Colin Dow and Rachel Homan; B, Ashley Cheff and Ethan MacAleer; 2A, Neil Sinclair and Jamie Sinclair; B, Katie Morrissey and Kurtis Byrd; 3A, Christian Tolusso and Lauren Horton; B, Michaela Tour and Alex Cormier; 4A, Scott Ray and Allison Cummings; B, Jessica Murray and Brent Montgomery.

PEMBROKE RESULTS: Last weekend's Pembroke Cashspiel crowned hometown skip Paul Bourne. Other event winners were Dave Windsor (Shawville), Frank Kinahan (Ottawa Granite) and Malcolm James (Deep River).


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