Nanaimo skips among winners at ‘Spiel on Heels’

As part of a very busy month filled with events, the Nanaimo Curling Centre recently hosted the annual Nanaimo Ladies’ Open Bonspiel.

As part of a very busy month filled with events, the Nanaimo Curling Centre on Wall Street recently hosted the annual Nanaimo Ladies’ Open Bonspiel.

Always a popular date on the curling calendar, this year’s bonspiel attracted a full field of 32 teams, including a dozen from out of town. No surprise there, as visitors are inevitably impressed by the hospitality and organization of Nanaimo bonspiels.  In addition to fine curling out on the ice, there’s always plenty of fun, entertainment, and socializing between games. Teams this year were treated to an excellent dinner and dance music, a costume contest based on the bonspiel’s ‘Spiel on Heels’ theme, and a full breakfast on the Sunday morning. Full credit goes to bonspiel chair Patty McRory and her hard-working volunteer committee.

As to the curling itself, Sunday afternoon saw finals held in the bonspiel’s four events.

The A event was sponsored by Bastion Trophies and featured the only two undefeated teams in the field. One of those was an all-Nanaimo team skipped by Joanne Phillips. The other featured local skip Nicole Backe, teamed with Renee Fisher, Rhonda Stoner and Heather Osachoff. It was a highly entertaining final – Backe led 5-3 after five, but Phillips scored once in the sixth, then stole to tie things in the seventh and stole again in the final end for a 6-5 victory. Other members of the championship team were third Tracey Newlands, second Terrie Fraser and lead Susan Barber.

Nanaimo teams captured third and fourth places in A event. Third went to Janelle Erwin and her team of Glynis Davis, Di Baker and Lisa Porteous Wong. In fourth spot was Leslie Shearer along with teammates Heather Lindsay-Lecuyer, Tanis Wilson and Sherry Squire.

Nanaimo Toyota sponsored the B event in the ladies’ bonspiel. In the final, Nanaimo skip Zorka Smith celebrated a birthday with a victory over the local squad led by Carol Tromans. Trailing 6-4, Smith struck for four points in the sixth end, then stole singles in the seventh and eighth for a 10-6 decision. Others on the Smith team were Wanda Cullen, Brenda Chaplin and Moe McGlenen, while Tromans was backed by Sandy Wilkinson, Susan Lobregt and Kelly Mayer.

Judy Gallacher and her Nanaimo team of Capri Koster, Sharon Luttrell and Donna Larter took third place in B event, with fourth overall going to a Port Alberni entry skipped by Shirley McMillan.

In the final of C event, which was sponsored by G.D. Stoneworks, the team of Michelle Cheetham, Michelle Twanow, Lois Russell and Sandy Forbes emerged victorious. The Cheetham squad posted a 7-5 decision over Shirley Sloan and her Nanaimo team of Karen Hungar, Moira Ryan and Eleanor Voysey. Local teams also claimed third and fourth places in the event. In third was skip Pat Merkel and her teammates Bev Cole, Linda Mick and Dorina Medland, while fourth went to Darcy Dreger, Dianne Smith, Laurie Grobowsky and Anita Chambers.

The D event was sponsored by Harbour Chandler and in a shortened final, Nanaimo’s Marika Van Osch and Dallyce Gillespie teamed with Brooke Capron and Sydney Brilz from Victoria to dominate Kim Johnsson’s foursome from the Comox Valley. The Van Osch juvenile girls’ playdown team scored four in the first end and cruised to a 10-0 win.

There’s more ladies’ curling action on tap this coming week at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. February 18-20 will feature competition in the annual Senior Ladies’ (50+)Bonspiel. We’ll pass along results in a future column.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.