Andries, Kennedy win third Manitoba curling club title

Fort Rouge Curling Club skip Tracy Andries, a Riverton product, looks on after delivering a stone in the sixth end of the Manitoba women’s curling club championship final against Jackie Dewar, while second Diane Christensen (left) and lead April Klassen follow the stone down the ice at the Charleswood Curling Club in Winnipeg on March 17. Nathan Liewicki / Interlake Spectator

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WINNIPEG — A pair of Interlake products are headed back to the Canadian women’s curling club championship for the third time in six years.

For Rouge Curling Club skip Tracy Andries and third Crystal Kennedy, both originally from Riverton, along with second Diane Christensen and lead April Klassen, stole the provincial women’s crown with a 6-5 victory over Jackie Dewar and her Elmwood foursome at the Charlewood Curling Club in Winnipeg on March 17.

“That was very stressful. I had a couple of bad shots in four and five that got ourselves into some trouble, but we didn’t give up and we kept fighting and pulled it off in the end,” Andries told The Interlake Spectator.

With her final stone in the eighth end, Dewar tried to play a soft-weight hit through a tiny port near the centre line, but she crashed on a guard to give Andries and company the winning point and a trip to nationals, which will be held at a yet-to-be-
determined location in late November.

The stone Dewar was trying to get at was a perfectly placed stone sitting at the top of the button, which Andries threw with her first stone in the eighth.

“Anybody that knows me knows I’m a hitter way before a drawer, so to make that draw was huge,” Andries said. “I’ve been throwing the draw to the button all week, so I knew I had my draw weight. We just had to get it there; the line was perfect.”

Kennedy, who now lives in West St. Paul, called her skipper’s perfect draw an “amazing” shot.

“I saw the line was perfect and I was just hoping it had enough weight to get there otherwise I didn’t know what we were going to do with out next rock,” she said.

After blanking the first end, Andries scored singles in the second and third ends before Dewar answered with three in the fourth. Andries relpied with a game-tying single in five and the two squads traded deuces in six and seven to set up an exciting last end for the provincial title.

Andries’ final stone — a medium-length guard — didn’t quite curl enough and it left Dewar a shot, albeit tough shot, for the victory.

“We wanted a little bit more cover but it got out a bit wider because we were throwing less weight and it just didn’t want to finish,” Andries said of the guard.

In the end, however, the Fort Rouge squad finished the event with an unblemished 7-0 record, which included a 5-4 pool-play win over Carlene Strand (2-3) and her West St. Paul Curling Club team, to improve their record in Manitoba finals to 3-2. Andries suffered a 7-1 loss to Deb McCreanor during last year’s final in Carman.

“We played really good. This is the first time we’ve ever gone undefeated at provincials so it was huge for us,” Andries said. “It’s been an awesome ride and this one is sweet.”

Despite the perfect record, Kennedy noted how difficult the competition at club provincials always tends to be.

“The competition coming out of here is still amazing, but when you get down to the semis and the finals it just depends on the kind of game you are having,” she said. “We just tried to play our best and stay calm because when you get down you’ve got to stay calm.

Although the team plays out of Winnipeg, Andries hopes her win generates more buzz  in the Interlake and across rural Manitoba for an event that has lacked interest in recent years.

“I don’t understand why, because it’s such a fun event and when we go back to Riverton, we put our picture up in the club and we try to promote it because it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “We’ve been to Halifax, we’ve been to Kelowna and it’s an awesome experience. I wish more people would join because there’s some really good rural curlers from the likes of Petersfield, Stonewall and Morden.

Andries, Kennedy, Christensen and Klassen reached the semifinals during their first nationals appearance in 2014 and captured the title in 2016 with a four-ender in eight to defeat Alberta 8-5 in the final. They will look to bring home another Canadian title in November.

Dola misses playoffs

Selkirk Curling Club skip Garry Dola, third Kelly Gowerluk, second Keith Beerling and lead Larry Specaluk came up short of the playoffs at the Manitoba men’s curling club championship.

Dola and company opened the event with two losses — 5-4 to Kevin Thomson of the Thistle Curling Club and 7-2 to Brandon’s Travis Taylor — before rebounding with two wins in his last three pool-play games. Dola defeated Charleswood’s Cory Anderson 6-3 and Dale Fust of La Salle 6-5, but his 2-3 record came up one win shy of earning a tiebreaker.