Hanna in Ontario title hunt

JOE PAVIA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

OTTAWA - The Ontario Scotties final could end up being an all-Ottawa affair.

The two hottest women's rinks in the province are skipped by Jenn Hanna and Sherry Middaugh -- both teams with strong local connections.

Hanna and her team of Pascale Letendre, Steph Hanna and Trish Scharf are all from the capital region and play out of the Ottawa Curling Club, while Middaugh's second, Lee Merklinger, is also from the region. Both teams advanced from the challenge round to earn a trip to Kenora for the provincial Scotties, which begins Monday.

Hanna, the 2005 provincial champ, took the long road to get back to this year's Ontario Scotties, capturing the B side in the challenge round while playing a gruelling seven games in two days and one night. After a couple of close games on Saturday, Hanna got on a roll, thrashing Thornhill's Julie Hastings 10-1 in the B final. Middaugh, meanwhile, skipped her rink to victory on the A side.

Defending Ontario champion Rachel Homan from the Ottawa Curling Club is back to defend her title, but Homan and her team of Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lisa Weagle haven't had a stellar season so far. There are four Northern Ontario rinks (Krista McCarville, Marlo Dahl, Tracy Horgan and Laura Pickering). Cathy Auld, Allison Nimik and Kathy Brown from the south won't be in the mix.

The team that is best at reading the Kenora Curling Club ice is most likely to earn the right to represent the province at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Red Deer, Alta. Look for a Homan-Middaugh final, with Hanna playing the spoiler. I predict Middaugh will take the title.

CHALLENGING TIMES

The gruelling men's challenge round also saw local curlers earn their way to the Dominion Tankard. After bringing in Mat Camm as his new third, Ottawa's Chris Gardner -- who represents the Arnprior Curling Club -- went undefeated in some close matches to earn a ticket to the provincials in Stratford. "Mat Camm is a godsend," Gardner said. "He is unbelievable. Doug (Johnston, who moved from third to lead) was the best lead I've ever had, hands down." Wayne Tuck took the west challenge round.

OCA RESULTS

The Dominion senior zone 3 results are A -- Barb Kelly and Bruce Delaney; B -- Noreen Morton and Leo Buckley. Bantam zone winners are 1A -- Kaitlyn Jones and Matthew Jackson; B -- Jenna Lachance and Patrick Soutar; 2A -- Kimberly Gannon and Trevor Ferrier; B -- Hayley Armstrong and David Lefebvre; 3A -- Lauren Horton and Jordie Lyon-Hatcher; B -- Katie Vance and Pascal Michaud.

CALEDONIA CUP

The Ottawa Valley Curling Association has developed a new competition to re-invigorate Branch play. The competition will eventually see a Ryder Cup-style tournament where Ontario teams take on rinks from Quebec to claim bragging rights and a trophy. The first of the regional playdowns for women and men took place last weekend. The women's winners were: A side -- Cheryll Watts; B side -- Lise Lalonde; C side -- Marg Gillgrass. Men's event winners were: A side -- Charles Wert; B side -- Dennis Elgie; C side -- Robert Kluke.

END NOTES

Willis Hebb is a regular reader of this column. He wrote me to complain of the slow play in the World Financial Group Continental Cup and how his PVR missed many last ends of crucial games. "The players/officials should also know enough to keep it moving," he wrote. The best thing to do with the Continental Cup, Willis, is scrap it ... Team changes have already started. Lisa Farnell's former second, Kim Brown, is seeking a new team ... The winner of the U2 Curlingpalooza last Saturday at the Ottawa Curling Club was Gayle Dillbaugh's rink from Navy. The event attracted 20 teams.


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