Two local women will represent province in November
NEW GLASGOW – For the third straight year a Bluenose rink skipped by Marion MacAulay will represent Nova Scotia at the Dominion Curling Club Championship.
Marion MacAulay, Kerri Denny, Gilda Chisholm and Donalda Buckingham pose with their trophy and banner after winning the Nova Scotia Dominion curling club championship Sunday in Wolfville. They will represent the province in November at the national event being hosted at the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax.
Traveler’s Canada will be the name on the event when they take on Nunavut in their opening draw of the national event on Nov. 24 at the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax, but it will still be the same championship they added the past two seasons.
For Donalda Buckingham it was her first time at the provincial event after travelling to Thunder Bay for the national event with this team in November. She joined the team after Ann MacLean stepped away for personal reasons, making this Buckingham’s first full season with the team.
She said she was slightly nervous heading to nationals, but even more so for provincials.
“Really, I was more nervous because I knew the team had already achieved it and I needed to make sure that I could help them achieve it again,” she said. “I was definitely more nervous at provincials than I was at nationals.”
Friday MacAulay and her team of Kerri Denny (third), Gilda Chisholm (second) and Buckingham (lead), opened with an 8-2 victory over Audrey Dorey of Wolfville and an 8-3 win against Mayflower’s Gail Hayes.
A 6-5 win over Denise Fitzgerald on Saturday afternoon won them the first qualifier to put them against Meredith Harrison. The Truro rink ran MacAulay out of rocks in the eighth end to win 6-4 and take one of the two spots in the event final on Sunday.
This was their first loss in the double-knockout event, meaning they had to run the table Sunday in order to claim another provincial title.
“We had to talk (Saturday night) about what our chances were of pulling off three straight wins and what happens if Meredith won her first game in the morning, which would’ve meant we’d have had to beat her twice to go,” said Buckingham. “We knew she was going to be up against good competition and that they would be tough if we got through to play them in the second or third game, but we had to focus on game one first.”
They started off Sunday with a convincing 8-1 win in five ends over Dartmouth’s Andrea Rushton before an 8-2 win over Fitzgerald, lining up a rematch against Harrison in the final.
“We had our eye on the prize at that point and just needed to play well to get there,” said Buckingham.
After a blank in the first, MacAulay stole one in the second end before making a double on her last shot to force Harrison to one in the third. From there the Bluenose rink scored three in the fourth before stealing one in five and then two in the sixth to win 7-1.
“This has been pretty amazing, I can’t believe I’m here and I can’t believe this is what it feels like,” said Buckingham about her initial reaction to winning the provincial event. “I’ll be digesting it for the next three days, which I am, I’m still digesting it all.”
Being the representative for the host province also has the group excited after having few supporters at the national event in Thunder Bay just four months ago.
“We are so pumped up and excited about that you wouldn’t believe it,” she said. “In Thunder Bay Gilda’s mom Cathy was there and was the lone fan doing the wave for Team Nova Scotia. She was awesome, but I’m hoping we’re going to draw more people to root on Team Nova Scotia this year.”
The tough aspect of their preparation will come in the fall after being away from the curling club for April to August. Their plan was brought up briefly on their drive back from Wolfville on Sunday night, which will entail getting as many games and practices in before November as possible.
“We talked a little bit about that on the way home because the people that are going into playdowns for their provincial competition in the fall are at a more significant advantage than we are having not curled all summer,” said Buckingham. “We discussed how we can get some extra games and practice time before we actually have some ice in New Glasgow. We’ll be putting together a plan that gets us ice time in September and into October before curling really gets underway.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris