Rankin files into women's provincials

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

They were knee-deep in trouble.

Down by four after six ends, running low on time and with their star skip sidelined by a wonky leg, the prospect of advancing to the Alberta Scotties certainly looked slim for Heather Rankin’s squad in Sunday’s B final of the women’s southern playdowns at the Ogden Legion Curling Club.

But battling through adversity has been the crew’s calling card all season, and so Rankin & Co. clawed back to score an 11-10 victory over fellow Calgarian Nicole Blenkin. In doing so, the Calgary Winter Club rink punched a ticket to the provincials, Jan. 26-30 in Camrose.

“I’m very proud of these girls,” said Rankin, who was sidelined throughout the southerns weekend with an injured knee. “I thought I’d be able to manage it, but I couldn’t slide. So Glenys (Bakker) moved up to skip, we brought in Denise Kinghorn to spare on short notice, and they played great.

“Glenys has got such strong character — she can go out there and nothing surprises or bothers her.”

Case in point, the comeback staged by Bakker, third Heather Jensen, second Carly Quigley and lead Kinghorn.

A five-end fourth and a four-end sixth put the Calgary Winter Club rink deep in a hole, trailing 9-5 to Blenkin.

But they followed with a key three count in the seventh end and two more in the ninth before Blenkin failed to execute a raised takeout with the hammer in the 10th end.

To make things even more interesting, Bakker’s final rock — a well-placed guard to protect the eventual winning point in the four-foot ring — came to rest with just 12 seconds left in her squad’s allotted 73 minutes of game-time. A dozen seconds more and the team might have forfeited the B final.

“Ten years ago, the time issue would have thrown me for a loop,” Bakker said. “It’s experience. We know our team’s got the ability to make shots, so it was just a matter of being patient. And our team never gets rattled.”

Blenkin now hopes to earn a spot in Monday’s C final (1:30 p.m.). Her rink plays Amanda White in an all-Calgary C-side semi (9 a.m.), while High River’s Tanilla Doyle plays Calgarian June Campbell in the other C-side semifinal.

Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge advanced to the provincials Saturday after beating High River's Tanilla Doyle in the A final of the southerns.

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca


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