In what was basically a weekend of blowouts, there were two teams left standing at the close of the Chicken Chef Norman Mixed Zone Playdowns, which took place on Feb. 4-5 at the Gordon M. Rupp Curling Rink in Snow Lake.
Representing the Burntwood Club, Thompson’s Ferrol Asham rink of 3rd Jennifer Rolles (a Snow Lake girl), 2nd Jarred Schuman, and Lead Kristen McLellan took the ‘A’ side and the Local Kelly Peterson rink of 3rd Judy Peterson, 2nd Darcy Tower, and Lead Leone Jackson won out on the ‘B’ side.
The teams were competing under a ten-end format, but there wasn’t a game that went that distance all weekend. It seems that the teams in the competition were either really on their game or really off it, unfortunately, the draw played no favourites and those who could do no wrong were frequently matched with those curling under the opposite mantra.
The first draw on the afternoon of Feb. 4 saw Jonathon Sawatzky’s combined Snow Lake/Thompson team of 3rd Kelly Wiwcharuk, 2nd Braden Wiwcharuk-Roy, and Lead Jodi Cockle beat Thompson’s Sam Antila foursome of 3rd Pam Antila, 2nd Ian Graham, and Lead Shawn Neufeld by a score of 8-1. On the next sheet, the Kelly Peterson team bested The Pas’ Shawn Robertson rink of 3rd Lori Forbes, 2nd Jeff Lecombe, and Lead Kim Hominick by a score of 9-1.
That evening in the 5 p.m. draw, it was the Asham rink winning 8-4 over the Peterson rink, and the Antila foursome sending the Robertson team home by way of a 10-4 win. Following a meal and a bit of socializing, the four remaining teams got a little shuteye in anticipation of competition the following day.
Sunday’s 9 a.m. draw saw the Asham rink go up against Sawatsky, beating them 8-2 and taking the ‘A’ side berth to the Mixed Provincials. One sheet over, the Peterson rink won out over Antila 8-5, thus putting them in the 1 p.m. draw against Sawatsky for the ‘B’ side berth. That contest saw the Peterson rink win 8-4 and solidifying the teams that will represent the region at the Chicken Chef Mixed Provincial Championship.
Over the entire weekend the temperature outside hovered around the freezing mark. That meant that the ice plant was working overtime, but so was iceman Don Playford. He shaved ice between every draw and had the sheets pebbled to perfection. Players were heard to state throughout the weekend that the ice was excellent. As well, scorekeeper Gord Downie was on top of things… making sure scores were both accurate and submitted.
The Provincial Championship event will take place at Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge Curling Club from March 22-26. There will be 16 teams taking part. Seven of them by way of Berth Bonspiels held in the Norman, Central, and Eastman/Interlake regions and eight qualifying in Berth Bonspiels held in Winnipeg, Westman/Parkland Regions. The 16th team will be the Defending Champion Sean Grassie team who curl out of the Deer Lodge Curling Club.
The Provincial Mixed Championship will be decided by a round-robin competition. The championship round will be a page playoff, with the first place teams in each group playing each other and the second place teams playing each other in their first games.