WEEK 5 RECAP
The 2016-17 curling season is now in full swing with just about all of the top teams having made their season debut following action in Week 5 which included two men’s events and three women’s events.
The field at the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic in Cornwall was stacked with nine of the top ten teams in the world hitting the ice. This included defending world champions Team Koe, Team Jacobs and Team McEwen each playing in their first event of the season.
The round-robin stayed true to form with six teams in the current WCT Order of Merit qualifying for the playoffs resulting in quarter-final match-ups such as Team Epping vs Team Jacobs and Team Gushue vs Team McEwen. In the semi-finals it was Team Gushue defeating Team Epping 7-3 by scoring three-enders in the 4th and 6th ends while in the other semi-final it was Team Koe stealing two in the 7th end to secure a 6-2 victory over Team Edin. In the final, Team Koe stole three points in the 4th end on their way to a 9-3 victory over Team Gushue that was playing without Brad Gushue for the second consecutive week.
The other men’s event this weekend was the Cloverdale Cash Spiel in Surrey, BC. Defending champion Team Joanisse qualified for the playoffs where they lost their quarter-final game against Team Sieg of Tacoma, Washington. In the semi-finals, Team Sieg lost 4-3 to Team Cseke of Kelowna who scored two points in the 8th end for the victory. In the other semi-final it was Team Liu of China defeating Team Schneider of Vancouver 8-3. Team Liu, who went undefeated during the event, played a solid game in the final to beat Team Cseke 6-4.
Team Homan made their season debut at the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic and they certainly did not disappoint. Rachel Homan and her rink finished tied atop the round-robin standings at 4-0 along with Team Cadorin who have certainly been making an early season statement. Team Homan took control of their semi-final game against Marie-France Larouche and her team from Québec by stealing three points in the 5th end on their way to a 9-3 victory. In the other semi-final it was Team Flaxey of Caledon defeat Team Cadorin 6-5 to reach the final for a second consecutive week. Team Homan dominated the final on their way to a 7-1 victory over Team Flaxey including a steal of three in the 4th end that put the game out of reach.
There was a strong field in Saskatoon for the Colonial Square Ladies Classic including Team Carey, Team Muirhead and Team Sweeting along with Team Jones and Team Einarson who were both making their season debut. Team Fujisawa of Japan and Team Hasselborg of Sweden had strong starts to the event and both qualified through the A event. In the semi-finals, it was Team Muirhead defeating Team Jones 9-3 ending a solid weekend for Team Jones who was skipped by 2010 Olympic silver medalist Cheryl Bernard with Jennifer Jones getting a late start to this season having given birth to her second child last month. Meanwhile, in the other semi-final, it was Team Wang of China defeating Team Hasselborg of Sweden 7-5 by stealing a point in the 8th end to protect what had been a one-point lead. In the final, Team Wang scored three points in the 6th end to take control of the game on their way to a 7-4 victory over Team Muirhead. It was Team Wang’s first victory on the World Curling Tour since the 2013-14 season.
At the Cloverdale Cash Spiel in Surrey BC, Team Gushulak of Vancouver was hoping to repeat as champions. In the semi-finals, Gushulak and her rink stole four points in the 4th end on their way to an 8-1 victory over Team Koltun of Whitehorse. In the other semi-final, Team Hudyma of Vancouver stole points in three different ends in a 7-2 victory over Team Thompson of Kamloops. In the final, Team Gushulak scored three points in the 2nd end on their way to defending their championships with a 7-2 victory over Team Hudyma.
HONOURABLE MENTION PERFORMANCE – Week 5
This week’s Honourable Mention Performance goes to Team Jones of Winnipeg and their guest skip Cheryl Bernard. In their first event of the season, playing without Jennifer Jones who recently gave birth, Team Jones lost only once while qualifying for the playoffs at the Colonial Square Ladies Classic where they defeated Team Fujisawa in the QF before losing to Team Muirhead of Scotland in the SF.
HOT TAKES – Week 5
- Teams from Sweden continued their strong start to the 2016-17 season with Team Edin following-up their victory at the Stu Sells Classic with a semi-final appearance at the Shorty Jenkins Classic while Team Hasselborg has qualified for the playoffs in each of their three events so far this season including their victory at the OCT Fall Classic.
- It is still unclear how long Brad Gushue will be out of action as he rests and rehabs an injury. However, in his absence, Team Gushue has managed to qualify for the playoffs in both their events including a solid performance this week at the Shorty Jenkins Classic where they made the final while contending against a very strong early season field.
- A few teams are having sneaky good starts to their season including Team Brewster of Scotland and Team Gunnlaugson of Manitoba on the men’s side while Team Flaxey and Team Eberle are off to strong starts on the women’s side.
- No need to panic this early in the season but Team Laycock is no doubt looking forward to playing at home in this weekend’s College Clean Restoration Curling Classic after a tough stretch in Ontario where they failed to qualify for the playoffs in their two events.
WEEK 6 PREVIEW
Week 6 will be a busy one on the World Curling Tour with four events on the men’s tour and three events on the women’s tour.
The headline event on the men’s tour this week will be the College Clean Restoration Curling Classic in Saskatoon. Team McEwen will look to defend their championship in the event against a strong field that includes Team Jacobs, Team Carruthers, Team Thomas, Team Laycock, Team Bottcher and Sweden’s Team Edin who will look to continue their strong start to the 2016-17 season.
David Bohn and his team will look to defend their title at the Mother Club Fall Curling Classic but will face stern challenges from a number of rinks including Team Gunnlaugson who are off to a strong start to their season and Team Dunstone. Meanwhile, the field is wide open at the KW Fall Classic in Kitchener-Waterloo with a number of teams from Ontario battling for the title which was won last year by Team Liu of China who will not defend their title this season. In Lower Sackville NS, 2016 provincial champions Team Murphy of Halifax headline the field at the inaugural Lakeshore Curling Club Cashspiel.
On the women’s tour, Team Flaxey will look to defend its championship and continue their strong start to the 2016-17 season at the KW Fall Classic. Team Fleury and Team Middaugh are among the rinks that will look to dethrone Team Flaxey at the event in Kitchener-Waterloo.
There will be a strong Manitoba flavour at the Mother Club Fall Curling Classic in Winnipeg where Team Englot and Team Overton-Clapham will be among the favourites to come away with the title. Meanwhile, the inaugural Lakeshore Curling Club Cashspiel will take place in Lower Sackville Nova Scotia. Team Brothers, the defending provincial champions, will be among the favourites along with Team Breen and Team Clarke, minus their former skip Mary Fay, who will be making their first start of the season.
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