With a cold draw to the button, Edmonton’s Val Sweeting has punched her ticket to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings.
Sweeting and teammates Dana Ferguson, Joanne Courtney, Rachelle Pidherny and coach Taina Smiley can now pack their curling bags and plan for a trip to Winnipeg after defeating Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C., 6-4 in the final Trials qualifying game of the Capital One Road to the Roar, presented by Monsanto, on Sunday afternoon in Kitchener, Ont.
With the win, Sweeting claims the final women’s berth in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, and will join seven other women’s teams vying for the honour of representing Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Sweeting heads to the Canadian Curling Trials as somewhat of an unknown on the women’s curling circuit, but that doesn’t bother her.
“We had a bit of a rough time in Winnipeg at a Slam when we were there (in late October),” she said about her team’s preparation this season. “We had a very early flight back to Edmonton, and the first thing we did was go and practice at the Saville (Sports Centre). We didn’t want to be disappointed like that here. So all that hard work paid off, and it feels great.”
Scott and teammates Jeanna Schraeder, Sasha Carter, Sarah Wazney and coach Brent Giles rattled off four straight wins early in the competition to qualify for playoffs, but after losing the Page playoff A-B Trials qualifying game 12-4 on Saturday night to Renée Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alta., needed to regroup quickly.
“Maybe in hindsight, sitting off for two days since we qualified (for the playoffs) isn’t the best recipe,” said a subdued Scott. “But we didn’t dwell on the fact that that was our fate. We were happy to qualify the way that we did, and just didn’t bring our best the last two games. Today was a lot better, but just chasing a little.”
“It was just one of those games that didn’t work,” she said. “You go and restart the game and it might be totally different, but in that game, it wasn’t working for us.”
In the fifth, both teams’ sweepers – Carter and Wazney on Scott’s, Pidherny and Courtney on Sweeting’s – put on a clinic, repeatedly guiding their skips’ rocks through a small port. Sweeting was able to steal a single when Scott’s final takeout attempt didn’t get the roll.
The turning point of the game came in the sixth, when Sweeting stole three to go up 5-2. After forcing a single in seven, she blanked the eighth to hold on to hammer and made a spectacular runback double in nine, but Scott was still able to steal one to keep it close.
Trailing 5-4 in the 10th, without hammer, Scott needed two to win, but Sweeting made the perfect draw to put the game away.
“It feels great,” said Sweeting. “We kept it tight at the beginning and stepped it up for the last half and played well. That steal of three was unfortunate and uncharacteristic of Kelly. We knew we would have to stay strong and that they would make good shots to get back in it.”
The final game of the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar on Sunday night will see 2006 Olympic gold-medallist Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., take on reigning Tim Hortons Brier champ Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., for the last qualifying spot among men’s teams.
Click here to see post-game interviews with Kelly Scott and Val Sweeting.
The Capital Road to the Roar continues on Sunday at 7 p.m. (all times EST). The draw will be televised on TSN2.
Live scoring, statistics and updated draw brackets are available at https://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
The French version of this story will be available at https://www.curling.ca/2013roadtotheroar-fr/ as soon as possible.
To purchase tickets to the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar, presented by Monsanto, go to https://www.curling.ca/2013roadtotheroar-en/tickets/
For ticket information about the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, go to https://www.curling.ca/2013roaroftherings-en/tickets/