Sunday, September 13, 2009

Scottish Brits win Ontario Tour title

OAKVILLE, Ontario – Greg Balsdon’s 7-5 victory in the final over Rob Lobel signified a solid 2009 men’s Ontario Curling Tour Championship.

Both Greater-Toronto-Area (GTA) teams are provincial contenders, and semifinalist Wayne Middaugh is no slouch, either.

Middaugh, incidentally, lost to the Lobels – again – as has often been their head-to-head result over the past decade or so.

However, when Eve Muirhead bushwhacked Brantford’s Jo-Ann Rizzo 8-0 in just four ends to capture the women’s title (above photo by Anil Mungal), everything had seemed a bit... odd.

Not the fact that Muirhead’s highly skilled squad won the event, going 7-0 throughout the week. Just the fact that Muirhead represents the Great Britain Olympic team, who all happen to be Scottish, and who are now jetting home across the Atlantic ocean, about as far as away from Ontario, Canada as one could expect.

“We played very solid as a team,” said Muirhead, who was supported by 2002 world champion skip Jackie Lockhart, 2007 world bronze-medal skip Kelly Wood and veteran Wood front-ender Lorna Vevers.

“(Rizzo) missed a draw in the second end and that was our steal,” said the three-time world junior champion Muirhead, who nabbed four points after scoring two in the opening frame.

“We didn’t really miss a shot after that, I don’t think.”

Muirhead said she loves to come to Canada “to get in spiels like this, the opponents are quite good.

“And we’ll be back in a few months to come.”

The Olympians-to-be, who captured $5,000 for the victory, will compete in an exhibition series during the men’s Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event in Mississauga, to be followed by women’s tour events in Red Deer, Alberta and Saskatoon.

Rizzo, who earned $2,500, was as supported by U.S. skip Patti Lank (who replaced calendar girl Chrissy Cadorin), Lee Merklinger and Leigh Armstrong.

Rizzo went 3-1 in her pool before defeating Quebec’s Eve Belisle 8-3 in the quarterfinals and Thornhill’s Colleen Madonia 5-3 in the semifinal.

Muirhead had a cracker of a match in her semi, edging Hamilton’s youthful Brittney O’Neil by a 5-4 count.

On the men’s side, Balsdon earned $6,000 for the win while Lobel was consoled with $3,000.

Other men’s playoff contenders included Middaugh, Sarnia’s Jason Young, Guelph’s Rob Rumfeldt, Harriston’s Jake Higgs and Trevor Feil of Elora.

No comments: