NEW GLASGOW – It may not carry the prestige of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but make no mistake: there’s a provincial title up for grabs and the curlers want it badly.
The 2018 NSCA Women's Travelers Championship is taking place this coming weekend at the Bluenose Curling Club in New Glasgow, with one local entry: skip Courtney Buchanan and her teammates (lead Donalda Buckingham, second Shauna Collier and mate Kerri Denny).
The foursome has reached the final of the Travelers for the past two years (in Sydney in 2016 and last year in Wolfville), but came up short each time.
“We’ve been working really hard,” said Buchanan, a curler of 25 years who moved to Pictou County three years ago.
“This is our third year together and we’re ready. It’s all about preparation and execution. And being at home makes it extra special.”
The winner of the six-team championship will attend nationals sometime next fall (host club to be announced at a later date).
Last year’s nationals were in Kingston, Ont.
“The teams that qualify for this event have to play in the same club and have to play together for a year,” said event chairman Danny Roy, pointing out that elite players just can’t throw together an all-star team for a spiel like this.
“It’s the equivalent of a club-level championship.”
To prepare for provincials, Buchanan’s rink has been holding regular practices and played against other teams at Bluenose CC.
“We’ve had some guys give up their Friday nights, giving us (practice) games,” she added.
Denny, who has curled for more than 30 years, said playing in their home club means they will get a lot of local support.
“We’ve come close the last two years and it’s something we’ve been working toward,” she said. “Winning it would really mean a lot to us.”
The teams will practise on Friday morning, and the action will get started at 2:30 p.m. with three games; Buchanan’s rink will play Dartmouth’s Louise Browne to open the championship and she also has a 7 p.m. game against Tanya Phillips of CFH Halifax.
Each team will play three games Saturday in the round robin, with tiebreakers (if necessary) and playoffs to be held Sunday.
Teams taking part in the 2018 NSCA Women's Travelers Championship, being held at Bluenose Curling Club this weekend:
• Courtney Buchanan (Bluenose)
• Sharon Murray-Sellars (Windsor)
• Michelle Williams (Lakeshore)
• Tanya Phillips (CFB Halifax)
• Louise Browne (Dartmouth)