Sweeting, Jacobs earn Trials berth
KITCHENER, Ont. – Val Sweeting of Edmonton and Brier champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie claimed the final two spots at the Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials next month in Winnipeg.
Jacobs used a three-point fifth end to propel himself out of 3-2 hole against 2006 Olympic champion Brad Gushue and earn a 7-5 win at the Capital One Road to the Roar pre-trial on Sunday.
On the women’s side, Sweeting, holding the hammer in the 10th end, needed a draw to the four-foot ring with her final shot and was on the mark for a 6-4 win against two-time Canadian women’s champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C.
Scott was ready to score two, but Sweeting made the same shot she missed in the ninth end, which gave Scott a steal of one point to make it 5-4.
“I knew what too heavy felt like so I obviously didn’t want to throw the same thing,” Sweeting said.
“We have the best sweepers there and I knew just throw it close and they would judge it, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Scott, however, seemed to have the final end set up with the way she wanted it, making Sweeting attempt a shot she had already failed.
“We wanted her to shoot against a couple and probably have her draw. She hadn’t drawn in a while,” said Scott, who gave up five straight points to Sweeting, including three in the sixth.
“But they made every tick, every peel. They didn’t give us much to work with, so that was probably best case.”
Scott admitted that her rink of Jeanna Schraeder, Sasha Carter and Sarah Wazney didn’t seem to recover from the two days off that came with having a perfect 4-0 record. She was never on the mark in Saturday’s A-final against Renee Sonnenberg and couldn’t build on a 2-0 lead against Sweeting after two ends.
“We just didn’t bring our best the last two games,” she said.
“(We were) just chasing a little and never really had our ends set up, and never really dictated the play out there.”
Sweeting, who was in a rush to catch a plane out of town, has booked her ticket to Winnipeg as probably the most unknown commodity going into the eight-team trials.
“I’m very excited. We’re really happy that all the hard work has all paid off,” Sweeting said of her team of Dana Ferguson, Joanne Courtney and Rachelle Pidherny.
“We played well here and we’re going to look at what we need to keep doing and what we can do better to succeed there.”
Jacobs and his squad of Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden will join Sweeting in Winnipeg. Through an oft-questioned point system, Jacobs had to go to the pre-trials instead of getting a bye to trials.
“We didn’t make it directly in and we had to do this the hard way, and I think being defending Brier champions it wouldn’t be right if we weren’t there, if you think about it,” Jacobs said.
His opponent agreed.
“Looking back on it, Brad Jacobs deserves to be in the Olympic trials,” said Gushue. “You know, if anybody was going to beat us and go there, it’s good that they did. As Canadian champions, they should be in the trials in my opinion. They shouldn’t have had to play this game.”
Despite losing his 3-2 lead in the fifth end, Gushue and his crew of Brett Gallant, Adam Casey and Geoff Walker kept plugging away and kept the score close, including a steal of a point in the ninth end to make it 5-4. Thoughts of tying the game seemed to get dashed though when Casey’s stone caught some debris on the ice just as he let go of it and kicked away.
“It’s just the luck of it,” Gushue said.
“He made an absolute honey of a shot on his first and if we get that second guard up and played something with their top reds earlier, we had a chance to steal two. It just sucks. In the last end to see something like that, it was unfortunate.”
Jacobs, though, put himself in a good position to win by playing more aggressive than he did in the A-final against John Morris.
“We played a lot better today,” Jacobs said.
“The end that we got three, the fifth end, when E.J. made the run back and the perfect hit and roll, I thought to myself, ‘OK, that’s what we needed to get back to who we are on the ice.’ So we really credit E.J. for making those two shots and getting us back on track.”
So now Jacobs will have to take that aggression out west when he faces Jeff Stoughton in his first match at the trials in Stoughton’s hometown.
“Ya, I guess he’s going to be pretty nervous,” Jacobs joked.
© The Canadian Press, 2013