Ottawa curler Graham Rathwell helps Ontario win Canadian club curling title
BY JOE PAVIA
Team Ontario celebrates its Canadian club curling title. (Submitted photo)
They went out in a blaze of glory.
The Team Ontario men, with Ottawa’s Graham Rathwell at second, defeated Team Saskatchewan 6-3 in the final of the Travelers Curling Club championship Saturday in Kelowna, B.C.
Ontario controlled the game by stealing deuces in two ends, the first pair in the second end.
“We were forced to one in the first end. Our skipper (Wesley Forget) made a couple of beauties in the second end,” Rathwell said. “We ended up stealing two in the second and that was really a big turning point. To go ahead 3-0 after two was a big deal. We felt more comfortable being a little bit ahead. We could just play our game and go from there.”
Although they went undefeated, they had some close calls.
“It wasn’t like we rolled through everybody,” Rathwell said. “Certainly in our pool we had four really good teams. We really had to focus and come back in two games. I think that kept us honest. Yes we went undefeated but it wasn’t for lack of trying by other teams.”
Their pre-game draws to the button in the round robin earned Ontario the hammer in the first end of the final.
“We had a really good draw to the button score all week,” Rathwell said. “I think it was 60 centimetres or something in total.”
The final ended early. Saskatchewan shook at the end of seven rather than play the last end.
“We just looked around and we were a little surprised initially because we were up three and we had the hammer but we kind of figured especially in a game that big that they would play the last end,” Rathwell said.
Rathwell related how his teammates all shook hands and just started smiling because we realized “We were national champions and we all breathed a sigh of relief.”
The team was surprised when it got to the Ottawa airport.
As the squad got off the escalator, family and friends were there to greet them, holding a large banner touting their accomplishment.
With the second now living in Ottawa, the team is no more. Even the Kingston residents are all playing on different teams in the men’s league at Cataraqui. But they will always have Kelowna.
RACE IN THE HOUSE
This Thursday and Friday, CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada is in Ottawa and visits the Ottawa Curling Club for some on-ice teammate rescues.
Two Ottawa teams won events on the weekend. In Hamilton, Team Allen won the Glendale Cashspiel. The team features Steve Allen, Brett Lyon-Hatcher, Rick Allen and John Steski. In Charlevoix, Que., Team Lewis won their senior tournament. The players are Brian Lewis, J.P. Lachance, Graham Sinclair and Mike Johansen. They defeated defending champion Serge Reid.
The U21 challenge round rinks that advance to the provincials in Russell this January after the weekend’s challenge were Ryan Hahn, Jacob Delisle, Courtney Auld and Hailey Armstrong.
OTTAWA IS THE PRIZE
The Home Hardware Canada Cup begins today in Brandon, Man. At stake for the 14 teams competing (seven rinks of each gender) are berths in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings next December at the Canadian Tire Centre. There is also $140,000 at stake. Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, the defending champion is back. Ottawa Brier winner Kevin Koe also is competing. TSN covers every draw.
The Dominion-Chalmers Curling Club three-member team of Jeff E. Gregory, Tom Kennedy and Rob Joye scored an eight-ender at the RCMP facility on Nov.19.
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