The senior men and women's provincial curling championships are on ice at the Club,
a warm-up for next year's Tankard and Scotties coming to St. Thomas
Saturday, February 22, 2020
ST. THOMAS - It is a step to hosting the biggest curling event in Ontario.
Since Wednesday for five days, the St. Thomas Curling Club has been hosting the Ontario Curling Association men and women's senior provincial championships.
"For us to have a provincial championship here is a huge thing for us," said Colin Sinclair, tournament chair and St. Thomas club member. "This is a large competition for any curling club to hold."
The last major curling event in St. Thomas was a TSN Skins bonspiel in 2002.
For the club, it's a prelude for when St. Thomas host the 2021 Men's Tankard and Women's Scotties in late January. That would bring notable names such as John Epping, Glen Howard and Rachel Holman to the Railway City.
"We are hosting next year in (Memorial) arena, the two marquee events for curling in Ontario, the men's and women's provincial championships," said Sinclair. "This is a warm-up and to get the volunteers involved. It's the excitement of all the club members to have a common goal and bring some activity to not only the club but to the local area."
The club is currently in discussions with St. Thomas city council about the event.
"We're hoping the city will partner with us next year," said Sinclair.
Last month, Cornwall hosted both the 2020 Tankard and Scotties. In 2019, Elmira had the event and Sinclair explained the gate brought in $21,000.
"We're hoping to brining a lot of money into the local economy with this event," said Sinclair. "For Elmira, the economic impact was $1.2 million for the community. We want to bring that into St. Thomas. It's not only good for our club, but good for the community."
The event will require around 200 volunteers.
At the same time, the Tankard and Scotties, along with the senior provincials, should raise more awareness about curling, a sport that has been played in St. Thomas since 1870.
"It was on the pond where Foodland is," said Sinclair.
The club on Park Avenue opened in 1956.
"A lot of seniors are still engaged in sport and the social aspects of the game," Sinclair said. "We're trying to attract younger members. There is a lot of competition for people's time and entertainment dollars."
]Sinclair added curling is an inexpensive sport, with an annual membership at the club less than $600. Anyone can try one's hand at curling for free.
senior event features eight men and women's teams,
with players over 50 years of age.
Middaugh and Anderson earn direct berths to finals
Sherry Middaugh (Thornhill), looking to defend her senior title, went undefeated in the round robin with a 7-0 record, earning a spot directly in the women's final, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
"We haven't been perfect but we seem to find ways to win. We've had games that finished early and we had two games that came down to last rock," said Middaugh. "Getting number one was important to us. With only a three team playoff, it's important to get that final spot, have last rock and get to choose the colour that we want."
Middaugh won the senior event a year ago and made it to final at Nationals.
Saturday's morning draw featured Middaugh edging Colleen Madonia, 4-3, in the game of the undefeated rinks, scoring one in the eighth and final end.
"That determined first place and our last game was important too, to be playing well and having momentum heading into the playoffs," said Middaugh.
Middaugh completed a clean run through the round robin, needing just six ends to take care of Kathy Brown, 9-4, in her final game. A four spot in the sixth ended the game.
Madonia (Thornhill) and Allison Goring (Bayview) play a semifinal Sunday morning.
Bob Armstrong, out of the Ingersoll Curling Club, had to wait a little longer to find out his rink's final placement.
teams, Armstrong, Tim Meadows (Thornhill) and Howard
Rajala (Rideau) finished at 5-2.
A tie-breaker gave Armstrong a berth in the men's final, 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Meadows and Rajala meet in a semifinal Sunday morning.
The winners of both finals move on to the National senior championships, in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, March 16-22.
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