What’s that old cliché? You’ve got to be good to be lucky, and vice-versa?
Cheryl Bernard of Calgary knows all about it as she heads into the last three rounds of the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, women’s division, on Wednesday with an unbeaten 4-0 record.
Bernard and her team of Susan O’Connor, Carolyn Darbyshire and Cori Bartel polished off the last of the Pre-Trials qualifiers, Kelowna’s Kelly Scott, on Tuesday afternoon and now face their top-seeded peers the remainder of the way, with Calgary arch-rival Shannon Kleibrink and defending Canadian champion Jennifer Jones on the opposition docket on Wednesday.
“It’s key,” agreed Bernard, moments after accepting a 9-7 gift decision from former world champion Scott in Tuesday’s only assignment. We have tough games, we know that. Obviously we’ve had tough games. But I’m, uh, sort of enjoying this. Whatever’s going our way, it’s good.”
Scott led by two playing the 10th end but missed both her shots and Bernard, who’d jammed a cluster of her own stones in the four-foot behind a guard, wasn’t even required to swing the hammer to score four and slip away with the win.
“Every team I ever saw win anything of this magnitude had to have a lot of things going its way,” said Bernard. “And you have to be making shots and you have to get stronger and stronger as you go along. That’s sports!”
Bernard admitted a guard out front set the stage for the game’s turnaround. “Everything rolled our way in that last end,” she said. “Hey, I’d like an easy one but it doesn’t look like I’m going to get one.”
She admitted she struggled with draw weight and yielded what should have been a killing three in the seventh end.
Defending Trials winner Kleibrink moved a game back of the leader at 3-and-1 with a 7-4 decision over Krista McCarville (2-2) of Thunder Bay. Kleibrink hammered a three on the board in the second end and refused to relinquish control thereafter.
“They played a strong game,” said McCarville. “We just didn’t get a lot of opportunity to get back in it.”
Kleibrink said her team is starting to attain the same comfort level it enjoyed when piling up a seven-game win streak in the last Trials and a 10-of-11 round-robin run at the 2008 Scotties.
“Same rocks, same ice, same feeling,” she said. “The whole team is feeling pretty comfortable. They aren’t missing any peels. They’re on fire. On ice this good, it’s hard to be bad.”
Elsewhere, defending Canadian champion Jennifer Jones squared her record at 2-2 with a tenacious 8-7 conquest of Calgary’s Crystal Webster (1-3). And Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton also pulled even at 2-2 with a 10-4 thumping of Saskatchewan counterpart Amber Holland (1-3) of Kronau.
In addition to the Bernard-Kleibrink match Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m., McCarville faces Scott, Jones plays Lawton and Webster goes against Holland.