Canadians unbeaten, unwinding

SEAN GRASSIE, FOR SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

CORTINA, Italy -- The English team didn't allow us to relax on the ice yesterday, so my teammate Alli Nimik and I took a cable car up to the mountains near Cortina to unwind at the world mixed doubles curling championship.

Surrounded by the beautiful dolomites, we dined on an outdoor patio and were soothed by the warm sun and the exquisite landscape. It was a nice break, as we've been winning games down to the wire here this week.

One of those was against England, even though we built up a 9-1 cushion after four ends. The resilient English duo chipped away at our lead with a deuce in the fifth end, a steal of two in the sixth, and another stolen point in the seventh before we ran them out of rocks in the final end to win 9-6.

The English team put up a good fight despite coming from a country that hardly embraces the sport of curling. There are only about 300 curlers in England, and the only curling rink in the nation is two hours away from where the mixed doubles team of John Sharp and Jane Clark reside.

To find competition and suitable practice ice, Sharp and Clark say they travel to Scotland and around Europe to do most of their curling. In fact, the pair played their English mixed doubles championship last October in Scotland because the ice in England wasn't deemed good enough to play on.

Meanwhile, our win over England put us at 6-0 heading into the final day of round-robin play today. Just behind us in the Red Division is Finland at 6-1. Switzerland (7-0) and China (6-1) lead the other two groups.

The top two countries in each pool advance to tomorrow's playoffs, and we can secure first place with a win today over either Australia or New Zealand.

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Sean Grassie is with Team Canada at the world mixed doubles curling championship in Cortina, Italy.


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