Rachel Homan's rink shoots to top of rankingsMasters victory earns team some rest before Ontario Scotties playdowns
|Skip Rachel Homan delivers a rock during the final of the Women's Curling Classic in Winnipeg Monday October 22, 2012. (BRIAN DONOGH/WINNIPEG SUN/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA - Rachel Homan’s rink got a well-deserved break.
Coach Earle Morris gave the team the week off after a stellar six-event run in which the Ottawa curlers soared from 13th to first in this season’s Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS).
They also vaulted to second place in the money list by winning the Rogers Masters in Brantford last weekend while improving their bonspiel record to 37-8.
But in some ways their work is just beginning. Their goal is to reach the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials for the 2014 Olympics.
There are two routes to get there. The less desirable is to slug it out for one of two spots up for grabs at the last-chance pre-trials in Kitchener in November 2013.
Homan described it as “the pre-trials bloodbath” after her Brantford victory. It’s a 12-team, triple knockout format with a playoff. The rink is almost assured of a pre-trials spot, but if Homan had her druthers she would love to give Kitchener a miss.
The easier path is to win the Capital One Canada Cup, Nov. 28-Dec. 2 in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Homan didn’t make the cut for that event, but whoever wins takes a strong competitor out of their way.
What’s left for direct entry into the trials revolves around points. With two of the six berths already awarded (to Jennifer Jones and Heather Nedohin) and a third going to the Canada Cup winner, every point is important.
The fourth spot goes to the 2012-13 CTRS leader (Homan leads with 127.443 points; Stefanie Lawton of Saskatchewan is second with 124.00); the fifth to the CTRS leader for 2011-13; and the remaining berth to the CTRS runner-up for 2011-13.
Only 30 points separate first from sixth in this season’s CTRS.
What hurts the Ottawa gals is their low 2011-12 points — 43.195 — makes qualifying through past CTRS rankings virtually impossible.
What looms large is the Ontario Scotties. Playdowns begin Dec. 7. Should they make it to the Ontario Scotties (also in Kitchener), the province’s depth-rich teams (Sherry Middaugh, Tracy Horgan, Allison Nimik, Krista McCarville) may await. With other CTRS contenders favoured in their home provinces as well, making Kingston’s national Scotties is important. The first to fourth place teams garner between 45 to 20 points, respectively.
These women have their work cut out for them.
ROGERS MASTERS NOTES
Other local teams and players made some money in Brantford. Bryan Cochrane qualified through the Tier Two bonspiel to earn $5,500. Lee Merklinger, with Middaugh, made the same amount, as did Lynn Kreviazuk with Nimik.
The Tankard Tune-Up cashspiel on the weekend saw Ian MacAulay earn yet another victory (the rink’s third this season). MacAulay, Steve Allen, Rick Allen and Barry Conrad defeated Shane Latimer 7-0 in the final. The women’s side pitted Jaimee Gardner against Montreal’s Allison Ross. Gardner and her squad of Allison Farrell, Kim Brown and Trish Scharf prevailed 4-3. Both winners left with $2,000, while the runners-up earned $1,200. Paul Adams and Joey Taylor captured the two open sections.
The City View club is beginning a “Learn to Curl” league in January. The Sunday afternoon league will run from 3-5 until April. The cost is $100. Contact Cheryl Carroll at email@example.com for more information ... The recently started RCMP Getting Started league has attracted 19 new curlers and counting ... The OCA Tim Hortons Masters zones are this week, while the Pepsi Junior zones are this weekend ... The Capital One Canada Cup begins on TSN Nov. 28 at 10 a.m.