KENORA, ONT. - After five rounds of play, defending Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Rachel Homan is pulling away from the pack.
The only rink yet to bow to defeat, the Homan squad of lead Lisa Weagle, second Alison Kreviazuk and third Emma Miskew, continued its winning streak with a 7-1 win over St. Thomas’ Allison Nimik in the afternoon draw Wednesday and a 9-3 win over Sudbury’s Tracy Horgan in the evening match at the Kenora Curling Club.
The wins give the Ottawa Curling Club team sole possession of first place with a 5-0 scorecard as the tightly-wound pack of 10 teams begins to separate in the standings. The tunnel-visioned Homan, however, said her focus is on the ice and not the leaderboard.
“I haven’t really, honestly, been paying attention to what everybody else has been doing,” she said. “I’m just trying to stay on our own game and what we’re doing and trying to keep going with that because we could slip up at any time. They're all really good teams (here).”
Homan’s evening win came from a four-point final rock in the eighth end and snapped a three-game winning streak Horgan rode into the fifth draw.
“The games are all going to be tough and there have been battles,” said Homan. “The game tonight was really, really close — a difference of one or two shots — so we’ve got to keep going. There’s a lot of good teams ahead and we’ve got a tough day tomorrow. So we’ll just keep plugging away and try to play our best.”
Homan will kick off play Thursday against six-time national Scotties curler Sherry Middaugh who, after a tough Tuesday, rebounded with two wins Wednesday. Middaugh took an extra-end 7-6 victory over Ottawa’s Jennifer Hanna in the early draw and a 7-3 win over Nimik in the evening.
After battling Homan Thursday afternoon, Middaugh will face-off against the 2011 provincial runner-up, Krista McCarville, in the late draw. Middaugh's 3-2 rink from the Coldwater Curling Club finds itself between a rock and a hard place.
“We’ve put ourselves against the wall,” admitted Middaugh, “but we’re still in an OK position and the teams that we still have left to play are the teams ahead of us, which is good, too. We determine our own fate.
“Even though we had a good day today — which we needed — we can’t forget about yesterday and we’ve got a really big day tomorrow.”
In other Wednesday matches, McCarville recorded her third- and fourth-straight wins after edging Thunder Bay rival Marlo Dahl 5-4 in the afternoon and Kathy Brown 10-3 in the evening.
After battling Middaugh through an extra end in the afternoon, Hanna again sat knotted after 10 ends in the evening, this time against Mississaugua’s Cathy Auld. Hanna fell to Auld 7-5. Auld beat Brown 7-2 in her afternoon match.
Horgan took her early match 8-3 over the North Bay’s Laura Pickering. Pickering, who remains winless in the tournament, took another loss in the evening at the hands of Dahl.
With four draws remaining, two teams sit at four wins and a loss (Auld, McCarville), two teams sit at 3-2 (Horgan, Middaugh), three are clumped at 2-3 (Brown, Dahl, Hanna) and two have yet to earn a win (Nimik, Pickering).