Adams nips Lee for district berth

It was a battle of the up-and-comer versus the veteran with a berth at the district playdowns on the line.
And experience won.
Thunder Bay skip Diane Adams, curling under the Rainy River club banner, upended first-year ladies’ competitor Angela Lee of Stratton 7-5 in an extra end in Sunday’s final round-robin match to claim the second of two district berths next month in Dryden.
The former member of the 1989 world championship rink skipped by Heather Houston stole two in the extra end to ice the victory.
“She really didn’t have a good shot to work with,” Adams said from her Thunder Bay home. “They were nosing a lot of peels. We just wanted to guard some of their angle raises.”
Dawn Sauve of Dryden earned top spot in the three-rink competition after going 2-1—beating Adams twice 8-6 and 7-5 but losing 11-3 to Lee.
Both rinks will join five others (two each from Fort William and Port Arthur and another from Longlac) at the eight-rink district playdowns Jan. 3-6 in Terrace Bay, with two spots for the Ontario Scott Tournament at Hearts on the line.
An eighth rink from the home club has yet to be confirmed.
“Overall it went well,” said Adams, a lifetime member of the Rainy River curling club who guided a foursome made up entirely of Thunder Bay players last weekend—third Marla Sobush, second Angie Delpino, and lead Cindy Orr.
“[Sauve] gave us quite a battle. We had never played them before so we didn’t know what to expect.
“I think something could be said for Dryden having the advantage of knowing the ice and playing the rocks in their home rink,” she added. “[But] it was good to go there and get a spot.”
Lee started out on the wrong foot Friday, dropping a 11-1 decision to Adams. She regrouped to beat Sauve before losing the deciding game to Adams to finish at 1-2.
Her rink of third Kelli Smith, second Rachelle Neilson, and lead Amy Staciw had been put together just before the event.
“That first game, we just had a little trouble,” said Lee, 21, who now lives in Thunder Bay while attending Confederation College.
“We were definitely in that last game. You’re still kind of learning. We got better as the weekend went on. We regrouped well,” she added.
Adams agreed the Stratton foursome looked rough around the edges, and added she was pleased more than two rinks threw their names into the hat for the zone playdowns.
In recent years, it had been she and Fort Frances skip Kathie Jackson who had been acclaimed to the districts.
“The competition is so good now that you really have to know the players and how they throw. It’s pretty tough to go into any competition with a pickup team,” said Adams.
And she thinks Lee will play a contending role on the ladies’ circuit down the road.
“Angela’s a very good shooter and calls a game very well. You just have to go through the years to gain more experience,” Adams said.
Lee said her first go in the ladies’ competition was an eye-opener.
“It’s definitely a little different. I had played against the same teams all the time [in juniors] so I knew what to expect,” said Lee, a former junior national competitor for Stratton.
“All these women’s teams show you different things. It was a huge practice for me.”
But Lee’s curling season is far from over. In addition to fielding a mixed team for playdowns, she is leading her college rink into the varsity provincials in February.
Lee also will bring her regular rink to the annual bonspiel in Stratton that same month.