PORT McNEILL—The ladies of Broughton Curling Club embarked on a world tour last weekend. And they never had to leave the club.
With a theme of Curling Around the World, the annual Ladies Open Bonspiel encouraged rinkmates to dress in costumes representing different countries, and also to bring food and drink items from those countries to the popular dinner and social that preceded Saturday’s finals.
“I found a tablecloth that loosely resembled plaid,” said Sonya Strang of skip Heather Brown’s “Team Scotland,” who converted the fabric into a vague approximation of a kilt. “I thought, ‘good enough.’ I’ve got a nice, cheap costume.”
Brown squared off against Brenda Drummond’s Team Canada in the A final, one of three played in a skins format that provided payouts totalling more than $600.
Both skips expressed some confusion about the rules, which required rinks possessing the hammer to score two rocks to earn the “skin” for each end. A blank or single rock pickup with the hammer resulted in a carry-over of that skin to the following end, while a steal was good for the end and the skin.
“We’re still trying to figure out this skins format,” said Bonny Bramham, Brown’s third, as Drummond swept the first three skins in their A final.
“I’m used to playing to win the end, not to get two stones,” Brown added.
Further adding to the confusion was a progressive skins payout which made the later ends more valuable than the early ends. Once Brown broke the ice with a win in the fourth, she rallied nicely with Bramham, second Denise Blid and Strang, her daughter and lead. She won three of the next four ends to move ahead in the money chase, and finished with $172.50 after she and Drummond agreed to split the eighth and final skin instead of carrying it over to an extra end.
“We’re happy to split it and get off the ice,” said Drummond, who finished with $142.50 while curling with Kristen Kerr, Stephanie Manke, Tammy Symons and Serena Foldy.
Ann Gray of Port Hardy’s Fort Rupert Curling Club secured a steal on the final shot of the B final to earn a $150 payout. Rival skip Jessica Garrick of Team Germany, whose hammer nudged Gray’s shot rock but failed to dislodge it, settled for $60 after her shot, which represented a $50 swing.
Garrick curled with Amy Miller, Neva Perrott and Julia Roy, all garbed in miniature, feathered Tyrolean caps and a rough approximation of lederhosen. Gray and rinkmates Megan Cadwallader, Kylie Anderson and Naomi Stead wore what appeared to be standard curling garb. When asked what country her rink represented, Gray answered, “The Arctic.”
They shared the region with C Final representative Sarah Russell, who claimed her similarly outfitted rink represented the North Pole.
“We had Santa hats, but nobody could see because they kept falling in our faces when we curled,” Russell said.
After surrendering the opening end to Bronwyn Coyne, Russell and teammates Kathryn Hawrys, Jamie Woodford and Kate Green went on to sweep the next six ends. Coyne, skipping Team France 2, managed to win the final — and most lucrative — end to salvage $30 of the $105 payout for the C final.
Coyne and rinkmates Natalie Diaz, Amanda Kehler-Stevens and Joanna Galvin sported jaunty berets to indicate their host country. But the prize for best costume went to Team France 1 — Charlotte Mellstrom, Kat Tjepkema, Lisa Lenarduzzi and Heather Hawley — who donned the striped shirts and white face paint of traditional mimes.
Having failed to reach the finals, the mimes watched the action from the upstairs lounge along with Jennie-Lynn Noel’s defending bonspiel champions. Noel’s rink has not competed this season due to other commitments with their childrens’ activities, but came to enjoy the social and watch the finals.
So did they have a favourite rink they were cheering for?
“It’s hard,” said Tricia Ewen, Noel’s third. “We’ve got friends on all the teams.”
“We’re cheering for curling,” Noel added.