Jackson off to provincial club playdowns
Their goal was to win the regional playdowns at their home rink and qualify for the Dominion Curling Club provincial championships—and the Kathie Jackson foursome was able to do just that.
Jackson, who was joined by third Teresa McFayden, second Lisa Penner, and lead Kris Sinclair, went a perfect 3-0 to finish in first place in the Region 1 women’s playdowns at the Fort Frances Curling Club over weekend, which earned them to a spot in the Northern Ontario championships next month in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It was a little bit rough at the start,” she added. “[But] we all curled well in all three games this weekend, so we’re very happy about how things went.”
When asked the key to her team’s success, Jackson felt it came down to having a good take-out weight, which had been an issue for the rink this season.
“We’ve kind of been throwing the rock a little bit too hard all year long and we’ve been rolling out of the house a lot,” she explained.
“But we all had nice control weight this weekend and that made a huge difference for us.”
After giving up back-to-back steals to trail 2-0 after two ends in their opening game Friday night against Kenora’s Lori Hoppe, Jackson took control with a three-ender in the third end en route to a 7-4 win in seven ends.
“The start of that game was a bit of a struggle for us as they were able to steal those points early,” Jackson noted.
“But we got it together by getting three points in the third end, and it felt like we were pretty much in control from there,” she added.
The Jackson rink then continued their winning ways Saturday morning with an 8-3 victory over Kelli-Dawn Baker (Sioux Lookout), thanks largely to a three-ender in the fourth.
“Once again, it just came down to being consistent from shot to shot,” Jackson explained.
“We were throwing the right weight on every shot, and we weren’t getting over-excited as getting pumped up sometimes leads to you missing the shot,” she reasoned.
Going into their final round-robin game Saturday afternoon, Jackson sat tied for first with Jackie McCormick of Stratton, with the winner of their head-to-head encounter earning the provincial berth.
But it turned out to be a one-sided affair as Jackson cruised to a 7-1 victory in five ends, thanks largely to stealing five points in three ends.
“I don’t really play to steal unless I absolutely have to,” Jackson stressed.
“But if we get into a situation further along in the end where we have the chance to do so, we will certainly play for it,” she noted.
“When we don’t have the hammer, we try to keep the rocks in front of the ‘T’ line, and that was the biggest reason why we were able to get a steal of three in the fourth end,” she added.
While this will mark the first time Jackson has competed at The Dominion provincials, slated for April 4-7 at the Soo Curlers Association, the other members of her rink already have done so.
Sinclair and Penner both went to the 2009 provincials in Copper Cliff while McFayden competed at the 2010 event in Thunder Bay.
But the biggest challenge all four players might face is the fact none of them have curled in Sault Ste. Marie before, which means their pre-game practices will become even more important.
“It’ll be a good thing to have the practice time beforehand to try and work on things down there,” Jackson noted.
“We will have about 10 minutes before each game on the sheet that we will be playing on to get a hang of it,” she explained.
“And if we do that, we should get up to speed right off the hop.”
Having competed at Ontario Scotties playdowns numerous times in the past, Jackson already is used to the rigours of a provincial competition.
And she feels good about her rink’s chances of qualifying for the nationals in Thunder Bay in November.
“We know that the competition will be of a higher calibre there but we know that we can do it,” Jackson enthused.
“Our main goal is to go and have fun as a team, but hopefully we will do well enough to head off to the nationals,” she added.