(LONDON, ON) – It was just like any other bonspiel in hundreds of communities across Canada; curlers, rocks, sweeping, yells of, “hurry hard!” The difference at the 2020 Continental Cup in London was the presence of the top international curling talent from Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, and Scotland, the TV cameras, and the stands full of spectators. Oh, and the $80,000 total prize purse on the line.
The feature competition of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions was hosted at Western Fair Sports Centre where the likes of Rachel Homan, John Epping, Anna Hasselborg, Bruce Mouat and eight other teams competed in round robin play as well as skins, doubles, and scrambles formats over four days in January. By the end of play Friday evening, Canada, represented by the teams of Homan, Epping, Kevin Koe, Chelsea Carey, Tracy Fleury, and Brendan Bottcher, had dug themselves a collective hole to the Europeans after two days of competition.
In three draws on Thursday Canada couldn’t muster more than 2 points to the Europeans’ 7. The results from Friday were even worse as the Canadians slid into a 13-5 deficit. Saturday morning, Epping and Koe each tied their counterparts Benoit Schwarz and Niklas Edin while Mouat defeated Bottcher.
In the afternoon, the visitors continued to pile on as they picked up 2.5 points to Canada’s 1/2 in mixed doubles match-ups. Heading into mixed scramble Saturday evening, Canada was trailing 17.5 to 6.5 with just nine events remaining on the schedule.
Sunday’s scheduled play begins with a 2pm draw featuring Epping vs Mouat, BJ Neufeld / Selena Njegovan / Ben Hebert / Liz Fyfe vs Edin / Sara McManus / Rasmus Wranå / Agnes Knochenhauer, and Carey vs Silvana Tirinzoni. The 7pm draw will consist of Bottcher vs Peter de Cruz, Koe / Fleury / Colton Flasch / Kristin MacCuish vs Oskar Eriksson / Hasselborg / Christoffer Sundgren / Sofia Mabergs, and Homan vs Eve Muirhead.
Future events on the Season of Champions calendar include the Canadian Juniors in Langely, BC, next week, the Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, SK, beginning 15 February, the Briar February 29, and the Women’s World Curling Championship on March 14 in Prince George, BC.