March 28, 2011
Grassie mows 'em down
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Deer Lodge’s Sean Grassie capped off his best curling season of his career with his third provincial crown on Monday.
The former Canadian champ downed Granite’s Bob Sigurdson 8-3 in the Manitoba Mixed final at the Swan River Curling Club to earn his second trip to the nationals, this time with a completely different crew than the one that won the 2009 national title.
“It feels really good to be going back again,” Grassie said from Swan River shortly after sinking Sigurdson. “We played well all week and we got a big three in the first end of the final, so that was good.”
Grassie is supported by third Tracey Lavery and lead Calleen Neufeld, who have both skipped squads at the national juniors, and second Scott McCamis. It will be the first appearance at a Canadian championship for McCamis when they head to Sudbury, Ont., Nov. 12-19.
“He’s pretty excited about that,” said Grassie, who also won a junior men’s title back in 1999.
McCamis also helped Grassie enjoy his best year on the competitive men’s scene.
“Overall, we’ve had a really good season,” Grassie said. “We won four (Manitoba Curling) Tour events, a (main event) trophy in the (MCA) Bonspiel and we did pretty well in the men’s provincials.”
Since there is still no dedicated Canadian Mixed Doubles championship, two players from the winning team in Sudbury will go to the World Mixed Doubles championship. Grassie won a bronze at those Worlds in ’09.
“It would be nice to go back if we get that opportunity,” Grassie said.
In the semifinal, Sigurdson stole three in the 10th end to eliminate Hamiota’s defending Mixed champ Terry McNamee 7-5.
WHEELED TO WIN: Manitoba’s Chris Sobkowicz beat Alberta’s defending champion Bruno Yizek 8-7 in the final to win the Canadian Wheelchair Championship in Edmonton late Sunday.
You might say the Manitoba team that included all-star third Dennis Thiessen, second Melissa Lecuyer and lead George Horning surprised the field last week.
“There were a lot of people who were naysayers about our abilities and that we were under-achievers, so we really came into the season in not really a good position,” Sobkowicz told the Edmonton Journal after his victory. But they certainly proved themselves capable on the Edmonton pebble.
Yizek came inches short of a tap-back for a winning three or even a draw for a tying two with the hammer in the last end.
“I’m not bitter at all,” said Yizek, who is also the reigning Paralympic champ. “It’s a game of inches and I’ve been here before and Chris and his team, they curled awesome. But I’m proud of my team. I think we curled awesome as well.”
INTRIGUING LINEUP: Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham will skip an interesting squad at the WCT’s Victoria Curling Classic this weekend. She will have Scotland skip Eve Muirhead at third, Alberta’s Lori Olson-Johns at second and Breanne Meakin, her regular third, at lead. Jennifer Jones will be the only other Manitoba women’s team there. On the men’s side, only Manitoba’s Mike McEwen will be on hand as Jeff Stoughton had to drop out because he had something else on his mind, namely the men’s world championship that starts in Regina this weekend.
MASTERS ON TAP: Two members of the first Canadian team to win the women’s world championship will be competing at the Canadian Masters Championships that start at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club this Thursday. They would be Nancy Kerr and Wendy Leach who helped Saskatchewan’s Marj Mitchell win the world title on 1980.
Also on hand will be Ontario’s Joyce Potter, with the same team that lost last week’s senior women’s Canadian final.
Manitoba will be represented by Brandon’s Joyce McDougall on the women’s side and both Lac du Bonnet’s John Usackis and St. Vital’s Neil Schmidt (host) on the men’s.
KUDOS: Just a shoutout to Canada’s Amber Holland for battling back to win a silver medal at the women’s Worlds last week. Sure, they blew the 10th end, but at least they got to the final, and I still don’t know what is wrong with winning silver.