Around Curling: With fill-in skips, Homan defeats Jones to win Saville Shootout
Both sides were missing their world class skippers, but Team Rachel Homan and Team Jennifer Jones still found themselves going head-to-head in the final of the Saville Shootout in Edmonton on Monday.
Homan missed the team's season opening bonspiel after giving birth to her third child earlier this month and was replaced by two-time Canadian champion Heather Nedohin. Chelsea Carey, also a two-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champ, filled in for Jennifer Jones, who was not with her team for the event.
In the final, Nedohin, alongside third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes, put together a strong second half to earn the victory in their first bonspiel of the 2023-24 curling season.
Trailing 5-2 after five ends, Team Homan scored two in the sixth end then stole a pair in the seventh before they grabbed a single in the extra end for the close 7-6 win.
Carey, third Karlee Burgess, second Emily Zacharias and lead Lauren Lenentin had a chance to win it with a double in the eighth end, but settled for one.
Team Jones defeated Team Homan in the final of last year's Saville Shootout.
Team Jones, who were Scotties finalists last year, won six of their eight games over the four-day event, including wins over Team Satsuki Fujisawa in the quarters and Team Serena Gray-Withers in the semis.
Team Homan had a perfect 8-0 record, beating Team Jessie Hunkin and Team Kate Cameron earlier Monday in the playoffs.
The 20-team field had a $25,000 purse and was comprised of many of Canada's top rinks, including the four-time defending national champions in Team Kerri Einarson, who fell in the quarterfinal, and Team Kaitlyn Lawes, who missed the playoffs.
Jones, Homan, Einarson, Gray-Withers as well as Kayla Skrlik (1-4), Nancy Martin (0-5) and Clancy Grandy (2-3) will be at the PointsBet Invitational later this month in Oakville, Ont.
On the men's side of the draw, it was Brendan Bottcher and his Calgary foursome winning their first bonspiel of the season with a 4-2 triumph over Victoria's Team Catlin Schneider in the final.
Bottcher, third Marc Kennedy, second Brett Gallant and lead Ben Hebert lost just one game all week, grabbing wins over Team Aaron Sluchinski in the quarterfinal and the 2023 Canadian Junior champions in Team Johnson Tao in the semifinal.
Following his departure from Colton Flasch's Saskatchewan rink at the end of last season, Schneider took over skip duties for the 2023 British Columbia champs after Jacques Gauthier left to join Team Kevin Koe in Alberta.
It was a strong second event for the new-look Team Schneider, beating Team Ryan Wiebe in the quarters and his former team, now led by Mike McEwen, in the semis.
Team Karsten Sturmay, who represented Wild Card 3 at last year's Brier, went 5-0 in the round robin before losing to Team Tao in the quarters.
Bottcher, McEwen, Sturmay, Sluchinski, Wiebe and Tao will all compete at the PointsBet Invitational in Oakville from Sept. 27-Oct. 1.
Mouat Stays Hot
Two events and two wins so far for the defending world men's curling champions out of Scotland.
Bruce Mouat and his rink from Stirling won their second straight bonspiel to open their 2023-24 curling season on Sunday, handling countrymen Team Ross Whyte, 6-2, in the final of the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard.
Mouat, third Grant Hardie, second Bobby Lammie and lead Hammy McMillan Jr., put up a three-spot in the eighth end to secure the victory.
Team Mouat, who defeated Canada's Team Brad Gushue in the gold-medal game at last year's World Men's Curling Championship in Ottawa, won all seven of their games in Oakville and are now 13-1 on the season after winning the Euro Super Series in late August.
Mouat also defeated American rinks led by Korey Dropkin and 2018 Olympic gold medalist John Shuster in the quarterfinal and semifinal, respectively.
Reid Carruthers, Glenn Howard and Sam Mooibroek will compete at the PointsBet Invitational in Oakville later this month, but all three were unable to advance to the playoffs at the Stu Sells this weekend.
John Epping and his Toronto crew will be at the PointsBet as well and they made a strong run this weekend before dropping the semis to Team Whyte.
On the women's side of the draw, Seungyoun Ha and her South Korean team of third Hyerin Kim, second Taei Yang and lead Sujin Kim defeated Scotland's Team Rebecca Morrison, 5-4, in an extra end final.
Ottawa's Danielle Inglis and Halifax's Christina Black fell in the quarters, the best result for any of the Canadian rinks in the field. Both will compete at the PointsBet Invitational as will Isabelle Ladouceur and Hollie Duncan, who weren't able to make the playoffs.
Peterson, Grassie capture MCT Challenge
Winnipeg's Team Beth Peterson defeated Japan's Team Honoka Sasaki, 7-5, in the final of the MCT Challenge on Sunday.
Team Peterson, also featuring third Jenna Loder, second Katherine Doerksen and lead Melissa Gordon, went 4-1 over the three-day event, including beating Team Asuka Kanai in the semifinal.
Veteran skip Sean Grassie won the men's event with an 8-3 win over Jed Brundidge in the final.