Sunday, October 14, 2007

Re/Max Women’s Masters

ARLESHEIM, Switzerland – Sweden’s Anette Norberg finished tearing through one of the top international women’s fields here this afternoon, but got a real scare in the process.

Norberg defeated Scotland’s Edith Loudon 6-5 in the final of the Re/Max Women’s Masters, played at Basel’s Curlingzentrum, the same venue of last week’s men’s Swiss Cup and last December’s B-Pool of the European Championships.

It marked the the first spiel win of the year – and the second straight masters title – for the Golden Girls, who are without third Eva Lund, who recently gave birth to her second child. Local Asa Hägmann filled in and got the job done.

The Norbergs also edged the only Swiss team to qualify for the playoffs, old friend Mirjam Ott, now of Davos. In the rematch of the 2006 Olympic final, the Swedes won another tight one by a 6-5 count, but this time they had to steal the final end to do it.

In the TCN photo by Urs Räber, Ott third Carmen Schäfer, new on the team this year, hollers for the brushes. Remember her now?

Another Scottish team skipped by Claire Milne made it to the semis, losing to Loudon.

One of the pinnacle women’s events on the World Curling Tour Europe, the Women’s Masters was devoid of any Canadian teams. Scheduling seemed to be the big issue, with the proximity of the first women's Grand Slam in Calgary the previous weekend – and its pile of available CTRS points – making it tough for teams to make the trip across the pond.

Here’s an idea for the stellar organizing committee, led by Manuela Kormann: play travel agent, to give distant teams a more robust itinerary. The Masters starts on a Friday, so offer a Thursday of exhibition games between travellers and local teams; perhaps even an evening of social fun, too.

The last Canadian team to play in the event, Edmonton’s Cathy King, arranged exactly that for her own team, in 2006. But if the committee were to offer this as an incentive, more long-distance trekkers might once again make the jump across the Atlantic.

They certainly don’t need to find any better ice conditions, hospitality, or organizational prowess. That is already top-notch.

Back to the WCT-E... did you know you can watch archived games from the Tour’s exclusive U1 TV coverage directly from the WCT-E website? Simply click on the box in the left-hand menu, and watch the show.

Finally, speaking of TV curling, tomorrow night in Baden marks a brave new era in Swiss curling, and The Curling News Blog will be there. Of course.

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