First they conquered China.
Then, after losing their opener, Randy Ferbey’s team rode a seven-game win streak to take everybody out at the September Shootout.
Not a bad start to the 2011-12 curling season.
Along with long-time partner Dave Nedohin and a rebuilt front end of second Ted Appelman and lead Brendon Melnyk, the next generation Ferbey Four edged fellow Edmontonian Rob Bucholz 4-3 in the final.
Still, Ferbey seemed a big grumpy after the win ... continuing his theme of ‘it’s too early to be curling.’
It’s been a long time since Ferbey has been on the ground floor building a new team and the grind itself seems to be getting to him.
“My alarm clock rang at 8 and I’m thinking to myself ‘WFT am I doing?’ There’s football games on,” said Ferbey. “I’ve got to mentally better prepare for this stuff before I get here. Once I got here, I was OK.
“The only reason we’re playing this early is we have to figure out what to work on. Bottom line. We’re not in the top echelon by any means and if we think that ... good luck. I know what it takes to get there.”
Ferbey will take the win for what it is.
“It’s nice to win with a new team, obviously,” said Ferbey. “It’s good to win any spiel. It was a grind. When we lost our first game, we had some doubts, but (Sunday) we played pretty good overall.”
There were good signs in the final. Appelman, a former skip, made a brilliant run-through in the early going.
“You need that as a second,” said Ferbey. “If you have that, it’s a bonus. We specifically talked about those shots when we put this team together. There’s not too many seconds who can do that kind of stuff.”
There’s no rest for the Ferbey crew, though.
They’re off to Saskatoon next weekend and New Westminster two weeks after that.
The way Ferbey looks a it, this weekend was more about what has to be fixed than what the team accomplished.
“It’s more about the negatives than the positives,” said Ferbey. “It’s getting to know these guys. That’s why we’re playing. Seven games doesn’t make a year and winning a bonspiel doesn’t make a year.”
But it put $5,000 in their jeans. Bucholz, who skipped a team that included his sons Landon and Bryce playing front end, took home $3,000.
Eight is enough
Stefanie Lawton made her first appearance at the September Shootout a memorable one.
Lawton’s Saskatoon foursome of third Sherry Anderson, second Sherri Singler and lead Marliese Kasner won all eight of their starts to win the event.
In a anticlimactic final, Lawton scored three in the sixth end to beat 2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard of Calgary 6-3.
“Not bad, we’ll take it,” said Lawton, who finished 4-3 and out of playoffs at the 2009 Olympic Trials. “We just came out here to throw some rocks. First time on the ice, so we just figured go out there and stay loose. We made some great shots from the git-go.”
A pretty strong field, as strong as any you’ll see on the women’s World Curling Tour circuit, started this weekend. To go undefeated against such a strong field was a bit of a surprise for Lawton.
“You never expect that going into a spiel,” said Lawton. “We honestly played well this weekend and got a few breaks. That’s the way the game goes.”
Lawton wins $4,500 for her efforts while Bernard, this event’s 2009 winner, goes home with $2,700.
“We’ve been wanting to get here for a number of years, but it just hasn’t worked in our schedule,” said Lawton. “This year, we made it work because we wanted to come.”
And, you can bet she’s glad she did.