Nanaimo Curling Centre skips went a decade between winning Team B.C. jackets. Now the club has got its second set in one year.
Skip Penny Shantz and her teammates Debbie Jones-Walker, Debbie Pulak and Shirley Wong won Curl B.C.’s senior women’s championship on Sunday in Kelowna, defeating Langley’s Karen Lepine 10-9.
The back-and-forth final was certainly worthy of a championship game.
“Actually, I would call the last game crazy,” said Shantz. “We played very well all week to finish on top in first place, but the last game was a little bit see-sawish. But we won, right? So that’s good.”
The NCC rink had an opportunity to score “a bunch” of points in the sixth end, said the skip, settling for one, and then the Langley rink turned around and scored four in the seventh to take an 8-5 lead.
Shantz and company regrouped to score four of their own in the eighth, setting up a ninth end that proved to be a turning point.
“They were sitting three and we made a hit-and-roll that they couldn’t get to and that was the big steal,” she said. “Because then we were two up coming home.”
Shantz’s team curled well in the 10th end to make a comeback impossible for Lepine.
“She actually called down from the other end and said, ‘I really don’t have a shot here,’ and she didn’t.”
So Shantz and her teammates won the game, the provincial championship, a set of Team B.C. jackets and a berth in nationals in Abbotsford next month.
“That’s great,” she said. “We’re Team B.C. and we’re looking forward to that, all of us.”
The skip, who lives at Nanoose Bay, and third Jones-Walker, who lives on the mainland, have reached the pinnacle of curling success in the past as they won gold medals for Canada in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary when curling was a demonstration sport. The other two members of that 1988 team were skip Linda Moore, now a TSN commentator, and Lindsay Sparkes, who will coach Team B.C. at nationals.
They always hoped to get the team back together once they turned 50, and it’s sort of happened.
“You have to play seniors,” said Shantz. “It’s sort of like the Champions Tour in golf, right? All my buddies are in seniors now because we’re all 50.”
Pulak lives in Nanaimo; Wong, in Nanoose. Shantz, Pulak and Wong curl with Darah Provencal as SRS Industrial in the Nanaimo Curling Centre’s Christensen Collision Cash League.
“I’d have to give them credit for a lot. They’ve had so many championship teams come out this year that it’s really good competition and all of us in that league are stronger because you love your competition.”