Well, another week of great World Curling Tour action has come and gone. This week saw the preview of a new feature here at NerdCurl, my solo weekly preview show. Each week I’ll preview and predict what’s coming up in events on the World Curling Tour. If you haven’t already, take a listen to my preview for week 8:
With that, let’s start with the first event to wrap up: Women’s Masters Basel.
Congratulations to Team Sidorova, winners of the 2015 Women’s Masters Basel! They went undefeated throughout the whole event, defeating Team Hasselborg in the quarterfinals, Team Muirhead in the semifinals, and Team Tirinzoni in the final…and what a final it was! At the fourth end break Sidorova was down 4-0. They scored 2 in the fifth and then stole another 2 in the sixth to tie things up. A near-miss on a hit by Sidorova in the seventh prevented the force and allowed Tirinzoni to score 2. Coming home with the hammer and down 2, Sidorova’s final shot was nothing short of incredible…a double-raise takeout to score 3 and win! If you haven’t seen it yet forward to 2:06:00 in this video and watch it, trust me.
Pretty spectacular, eh? Seriously though, as any of you who read or listen know I am a huge fan of Team Sidorova so needless to say on a personal level I was ecstatic at the outcome. This was their first time winning this event, and was also their first event final appearance and first event win of the year. Overall their season is off to a better start than last year, and I have a feeling that overall it’s 2015-2016 is going to be their best season yet. Next up for them is their playdowns for the European Championships, which start this week.
Looking at my predictions, I correctly predicted 7/8 qualifiers. Of course, with the exception of Team Fleming those 7 teams were basically the favorites. Really the only upset was Team Hasselborg knocking out Team Sigfridsson. I’m not really surprised though as they’re a really solid team and are really coming into their own. For that matter, Team Fleming is having a really good season as well, and I think both of these teams are going to be regular contenders sooner rather than later. I was 1/2 for my finals teams, but that was mainly because Team Sidorova eliminated Team Muirhead in the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, Team Muirhead had a surprise line-up change. Lead Sarah Reid suffered what was described as a lower-body injury, and was sidelined. Stepping up to fill in was none other than Janine Greiner.
If you’re not familiar, Janine Greiner played lead for Mirjam Ott, and has not played competitively since the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Apparently she was on the organizing committee for the event, and was therefore quickly able to step in in Team Muirhead’s moment of need. She played well, and on a personal level I thought it was cool to get to see her play again. Like Team Sidorova, Team Muirhead also has their playdowns for the European Championships this week, so hopefully Sarah Reid’s injury isn’t anything serious and she’ll be able to play. If not, I’m not sure who will play as their alternate, as their usual alternate Lauren Gray is skipping her own rink.
Congratulations to Team Kevin Koe, winners of the 2015 Direct Horizontal Drilling Fall Classic! Now back-to-back winners of this event, they went undefeated throughout, defeating Team Park in the quarterfinals, Team Laycock in the semifinals, and Team Bottcher in the all-Alberta final. After failing to qualify in their first event, they have now won their last two and are off to a much better start than last year. No doubt they’re going to have a great year.
As for my predictions for the event, I was 5/8 on qualifiers. Park, Lizmore, and Hoiberg qualified, while I had predicted Clark, Forrest, and Virtue to make it in. Team Hoiberg was somewhat of a surprise, but so far they’re having a really good season and are starting to emerge as the heir apparent to Team Ulsrud in Norway. Of note is that their lead, Alexander Lindstroem is the twin brother of Kristian Lindstroem of Team Edin. With the final I was 1/2, I had Koe but had predicted Laycock to be there as well and ultimately win the whole event.
Congratulations to Team Homan, winners of the 2015 Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic! After winning their first game, Team Homan lost their next two games and had quite a battle on their hands. They ended up having to fight their way through the C road to qualify, before defeating Team Fleury in the quarterfinals, Team Rocque in the semifinal, and Team Carey in the final. This is their first time winning this event, and will only further extend their lead atop the CTRS rankings. Team Homan is off to an amazing start this season…4 events, 4 finals, 3 wins. Impressive to say the least.
I correctly picked 6/8 qualifiers for this event, including my “dark horse” pick Team Ostlund…more on them in a moment. Team Jaeggi and Team Kleibrink made the cut, where I had predicted Team Lawton and Team Einarson in the playoffs. Team Jaeggi is off to a good start so far this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reach the level of Teams Feltscher, Paetz, and Tirinzoni in terms of competitiveness. Switzerland certainly is second in depth only to Canada when it comes to women’s curling. Once again I was 1/2 with finals teams, as I had predicted Team Rocque facing Team Homan in the final (as opposed to the semifinal). I did correctly predict that Team Homan would win the event though.
Getting back to Team Ostlund, after winning their first two games they lost two in a row and found themselves on the C road with Team Homan. After fighting to get into the playoffs they fell to Team Rocque in the quarterfinal. A good result for them though, as it is their second playoff appearance of the year out of four events and their first one in Canada. I think they will continue to improve throughout the season and I’m hoping to see them achieve their goal of qualifying to represent Sweden at the European and World Championships.
Congratulations to Team McEwen, winners of the 2015 Stu Sells Toronto Tankard! This is their second event win of the year, and their first time winning this particular event. They lost their second game and then managed to qualify through the B road. In the playoffs they defeated Team Gushue in the quarterfinals, Team Kean in the semifinals, and ultimately Team Howard in the final. This is Team McEwen’s second event win of the season, and their second win in a row. So far they’re off to another excellent start, although I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not they’ll finally achieve their dream of winning the Manitoba Provincial and playing in the Brier.
As for my predictions, I was 6/8 when it came to qualifying teams. Team Kean and Team Bailey qualified, while Team Casey and Team Shuster failed to qualify as I had predicted. Surprisingly, the seemingly unbeatable Team Gushue found themselves qualifying via the C road, along with Carruthers and Edin. This was the first time this season for Gushue and Carruthers to travel this route, while Edin has had to take the hard road to qualify already. All three teams were eliminated in the quarterfinals. I was 0/2 on final teams and obviously didn’t correctly pick the winner…I had Carruthers repeating their win from last year, defeating Gushue in the final. All three of these teams are off to great starts though, and when it comes to Edin I think their decision to reside and practice in Ottawa for much of the season is already paying dividends.
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