SASKATOON – Jacqueline Harrison admitted that nerves were a challenge in her debut appearance Saturday at the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials.
You wouldn’t know from the results.
Veteran skip took a couple of deep breaths before settling into the trick and making a game-winning deuce for a 6-5 win over defending champion Rachel Homan in the first game of the women’s round robin at the SaskTel Center.
“We were just putting rocks in play and putting them in good spots and trying to make his shots as difficult as we could,” Harrison said. “We’ve all been in big game situations before and yeah, this is a really special event and you want to do it right.”
Harrison, of Waterdown, Ontario, went through recent pre-tests to earn last place on the nine-team women’s field. He has played in a few Grand Slam events and Ontario Championships in the past, but this is by far the biggest event of his career.
Dunstone reunites with his junior teammate after a late lineup change before testing
Two of her teammates, vice Alli Flaxey and second Lynn Kreviazuk, missed the playoffs at the 2017 tryouts in Ottawa. Laura Hickey completes the Dundas Valley Golf & Curling Club lineup.
Harrison struggled with butterflies at times and said his knees were shaking a bit at times. He shot 76 percent for the game and improved to 5-12 in his life against Homan.
“It’s great, everyone wants a win in their first game,” Harrison said. “Just get comfortable, take some shots … we are very happy.”
Homan, who won the 2017 trials in his hometown of Ottawa, represented Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but did not make the podium. She is a favorite again this time, while Harrison is a long shot at 66-1.
“This is how we started last time (in testing), so we didn’t want to change anything,” he joked.
Homan fell to Chelsea Carey in the first round robin four years ago, but beat Carey in the final to reserve his Olympic ticket.
Tanner Horgan looks forward to the Olympic curling events in Saskatoon
Meanwhile, Carey is in fifth place and assists with the coaching duties of Tracy Fleury, who opened with a 7-4 victory over reigning national champion Kerri Einarson.
Einarson had some bad luck in the third final when his stone picked up and Fleury took advantage with a draw for two. Fleury rubbed a guard in the seventh to set up an Einarson tie for two that tied the game, but Fleury bounced back on a triple in the ninth.
“It’s been a great year for us, we’ve been very consistent and we seem to find ways to win close games,” said Fleury, who improved his record against Einarson to 5-0 this season.
Fleury’s team is the runaway leader in the Canadian women’s team rankings.
“So far they are rolling,” Carey said. “Things go your way when you play so well.”
In the other games of Draw 1, Jennifer Jones beat Krista McCarville 8-5 and Casey Scheidegger edged Laura Walker 6-4.
The announced attendance for the afternoon draw was 4,558. The place has capacity for about 14,000 people for curling.
With the Olympic places at stake, the intensity increases in curling events
In the late tie, Mike McEwen edged Matt Dunstone 7-2 and Brad Jacobs dropped John Epping 9-3.
Defending men’s champion Kevin Koe, who also missed the Olympic podium in Pyeongchang, opened with a 9-2 win over Tanner Horgan. Brad Gushue scored three in the 10th final for a 6-4 victory over Brendan Bottcher.
“I haven’t been this nervous on an open hit in so long,” Gushue said. “I got into the trick and I was like, ‘Oh my God. These are the nerves of the Olympic trials.
“That’s what we play for. It was exciting to have him and I did the shot, so that’s the important part. “
The top three teams in the men’s and women’s draws will advance to the playoffs. The finals are scheduled for November 28.
The winning teams will represent Canada at the February Winter Olympics in Beijing.
This Canadian Press report was first published on November 20, 2021.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
The Canadian News
Canada’s largets news curation site with over 20+ agency partners