Stu Sells Oakville Tankard: Canadians triumph, Fleming and Murdoch show promise

Teams Gushue and Homan took the men’s and women’s honours at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, but there was good early season form on show from Scottish teams Fleming and Murdoch too.

The first World Curling Tour event of the year attracted big names including 2014 Olympic champions Team Jones and current world champions Team Edin and Team Pätz.

The format was a triple knock-out, with A, B and C roads leading to quarter finals on Sunday night, then semi finals and finals on Monday.

Team Fleming (Hannah Fleming, Lorna Vevers, Alice Spence and Abi Brown) were dealt an early blow when they lost 8-5 to Team Liu of China, conceding four in the eighth end.

However, they bounced back in their next match, eking out a 5-4 win over Team Driendl, before going on to beat Canadians Team Carlson 6-5, with a score of three in end six and a steal of one in end seven proving pivotal.

An 8-3 win over Team Hastings, again of Canada, came next – as they claimed steals in ends one, two, five and eight – and that set up a big tie against Team Sweeting.

Team Fleming held their own against the 2015 Scotties finalists, drawing level at 4-4 in the sixth end, but Sweeting claimed scores of one in ends seven and eight to win 6-4.

That bumped Team Fleming down to the C road, and their Oakville Tankard journey was over as Team Liu beat them again, this time 6-0 – having scored two in end one, the Chinese rink claimed steals of one in ends two, three, four and five to force the concession.

The women’s event was won by Team Homan, who raced into a 5-1 lead over Team Pätz in the final before seeing it out 5-4. It’s Rachel Homan and co who go into the first Grand Slam of Curling event (the Tour Challenge, beginning today) in the hottest early season form.

In the men’s competition, Scotland was represented by Team Murdoch, who matched their Basel Masters performance by reaching the quarter finals again.

After a 6-5 extra end victory over Team Harris of Canada, the Scots fell to a 7-6 loss to Team Walker, also of Canada and also in an extra end.

A second consecutive defeat – 8-6 versus Canadians Team Retchless – dropped Team Murdoch down to the C road, but they kept themselves alive with a 5-4 win over Team Plys (USA).

Two extra end 6-5 victories over Canadian rinks – Team Balsdon and Team Desjardins – saw Team Murdoch into the quarter finals the long way round.

Unfortunately they were swept aside in their last eight clash with Team Carruthers – losing 7-0 – as Carruthers marched into the semis and then the final, where they lost an all-Canadian encounter against Team Gushue by a 5-3 scoreline.

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