School was in session Sunday for Jessica Monk’s rink at the St. Albert ladies bonspiel.
The team of university students, who had never curled together before as a foursome, aced their final with a convincing 8-1 triumph over Kim Hamson in seven ends.
“We’re all friends from university and we decided to come in to the bonspiel for fun so we’re quite excited to win it,” said Monk.
Her line-up of third Kristan Thompson, second Nicole Kaup and Amy Janko gave up one in the first end before tying it in two and then stole the remaining points before Hamson threw in the towel.
“We managed to get a lot of rocks in play so it was a fun game to play,” Monk said. “They had the pressure on us for the first three ends and we had to make shots against two to three rocks but after that everything seem to kind of go our way.”
The Bellerose Composite High School graduate credited Kaup and Janko for putting the team in position to steal their way to victory.
“Our front end had really nice draw weight and they were getting lots of rocks in there so all Kristan and I had to do was just throw guards for the rest of the game,” said Monk, who curls with Thompson in a Sunday night league at the Saville Sports Centre.
Monk’s deuce in four to make it 4-1 signalled the beginning of the end for Hamson.
“They started to play a lot more aggressively and taking more risks with their game so their skip ended up having to throw some tough shots. She was close on a lot of them but she was throwing some tough shots,” said Monk, the third rocker for Tiffany McKeeman in the Edmonton women’s super league.
Hamson scrambled to play catch up after Monk pulled off some dazzling shots that left her opponent trying to limit the damage instead of going for points.
“It was a pretty tight game for awhile,” said Hamson, who was heavy drawing for two in the first end as Thompson swept it out of harm’s way. “The biggest difference was the skip’s position. Our front end kept up to their front end but their skip wasn’t missing.”
Hamson said the TSN turning point was a pistol by Monk in the third end that rearranged the house.
“Her angle raise takeout was a big shot and it gave them all the momentum,” Hamson said. “Those girls were curling good and once they made that big shot they never missed after that. They kept executing and putting the rocks in perfect positions. They didn’t give us a foot back in the door.”
Hamson took the loss in stride.
“I never mind losing to a team that plays that well and they really outplayed us,” she said. “We’re really pumped to see young curlers out there and doing well. It’s good for the sport.”
Hamson’s seasoned crew of third Marilyn Whitehead, second Karen Sutherland and lead Laurie Hayman played last year in the Wednesday night league at the St. Albert Curling Club before switching over to the Lancaster Park Curling Club.
“The ice is a lot keener here than what we’re used to,” Hamson said.
In the 16-team bonspiel they polished off the Murch, Forbes and Fenton rinks en route to the final.
“All four of us played really well to get here, we just fell short today,” Hamson said.
Monk and her buddies marched past the Albert, Day and Merryweather rinks in pursuit of the bonspiel crown.
“We played pretty good. It was definitely fun,” said Monk, a perennial provincial contender as a skip as a junior.