Thursday, March 24, 2011

Canadian Nationals - midway recap

An innovation introduced at this year's Canadian Nationals are the coloured tubes, blue and yellow seen in the photo above. They have been placed at each end of the ice to hold equipment, delivery sticks and skips' brooms, not in use. This is a great idea and should be adopted at future events.

The ice has held up well, is keener than many teams will have played on at their home clubs with draws running around 14 seconds hog to hog. There's about 3 feet of swing. Manitoba skip Chris Sobkowicz reported that there was some frost on the edge of the outer sheet when he defeated BC last night.

“You had to believe what you saw and go with it!” he told Lisa Shamchuk, who is writing reports for the CCA's website.

Ontario rookie Alec Denys had led the "cover the pin" $1,000 challenge with a draw that finished 35.8cm from the pin before the start of Draw 2. He was deposed by Frank LaBounty, whose rock before Draw 5 ended just 34.7cm away.
But they both bow to Chris Sobkowicz's 3.3cm at the start of Draw 6

The $1,000 prize has been donated by R. Vallee Home Rentals and will be split if here is a tie. $200 goes to the runner-up.

Despite the relative unfamiliarity with time clocks, there have been few problems. The most frequent complaints are caused by the throwers not moving away after their throw. Until they cede the delivery position to the other side, their clock will continue to run.

The rules state time will continue to run for the delivering team until:

-all stones have stopped
-the moving stones have crossed the back line
- the skip of the delivering team has relinquished the house to their opposing skip
-players from the delivering team have moved to the side.

Players have to get used to not admiring the path of their shots and travel down the side of the sheet, thereby not obstructing their opponent's view, for their clocks to stop. "We're trying to get them to behave as regular curlers do in competition," Head Official Linda Kirton told me.

The teams are playing under the "old" timeout rules, where clocks stop at a called time out, and restart when the coach has had 60 seconds to talk to the team. (Current rules do not stop the clock at coach 'interventions.')

This was a factor in the Draw 4 match between Alberta and BC, played with a lot of rocks in the house and needing an extra end to decide it. Umpires were at the ready to make quick decisions if necessary as both teams ran their clocks close, but were able to use time-outs to ease the pressure.

Bellrose Volunteers
 St Albert's volunteers
Ice Player Assistants (IPAs) have been volunteering from local High Schools (Bellerose High School, St Albert) and doing an excellent job that is greatly appreciated by the curlers, many of whom would not be throwing cleaned rocks without assistance. The students have also been volunteering as meal servers.

Cathy Craig has been juggling 3 hats - club manager, event manager and Host Team coach. Her team would be sitting top of the table had they not twice given up 4's in the 8th ends of games in which they had 7-3 leads, and lost in the extra. They are still on track to make good on her prediction that they would make the playoffs, an extremely impressive performance from a team who have not played against this opposition before.

It's probably no coincidence that local publicity brought out local government inspectors. The club's renovations, completed two years ago, have been inspected, and the fire marshal wanted in on the action to test fire alarms, but was persuaded to wait until the club did not have to test evacuate 50 plus wheelchairs.

photo - Lisa Shamchuk

Each sheet has a ramp

photo - Lisa Shamchuk
and each competitor received some art by Colin Vince
In past events Day 4 is the test of stamina for the teams unused to playing twice a day for three consecutive days. With Draw 6 now under way, we'll see.

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