Taking her skills to Nationals

Alison Duddy, and the Neighbour rink, is headed for the wheelchair nationals once again after a successful provincials.

Alison Duddy, and the Neighbour rink, is headed for the wheelchair nationals once again after a successful provincials.

Her team, with new skip Darryl Neighbour, dominated the tournament, winning every one of their games.

The tournament pitted three teams, the Austgarden, MacDonald and, of course, Neighbour rinks, for supremacy.

In the round robin, each team played the other two teams.

In their match against the Austgarden rink, the Neighbour rink won handily, coming out strong in the first couple ends to jump to a strong lead, with a six in the fourth end that gave them their game winning total.

Despite the score, Duddy said it wasn’t her greatest performance.

Next, the Neighbour rink faced off against team MacDonald, beating them 6-2, after collecting four one point ends, along with a lone two point end.

In the finals, it was Neighbour/MacDonald rematch, with Neighbour coming out on top 7-2 after a solid game.

Though it was the fifth time Duddy has been to provincials, she was a bit nervous.

“I was a little more nervous than usual because we have a new skip on our team, so we haven’t played together a lot,” she said.

The team’s previous skip, Gary Cormack, had to pull out at the beginning of the season due to personal issues, but came back in at the last minute, joining the MacDonald rink, which took second. The Neighbour rink picked him up as an alternate after the tournament, though, so he’ll be joining the team on their way to Nationals.

Now the team has their eyes on the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship, taking place in Montreal, Quebec, from April 28-May 4, which is later than usual, putting Duddy in a bit of a difficult spot.

“It’s going to be a little bit interesting this year because our club here in Quesnel they close, I believe, the third week of March,” she said.

“So I’m going to be without ice for pretty close to a month before we go. But Prince George, I believe, has ice to the middle of April so I’m hoping to get up there a couple times.”

She’ll also be travelling down to the Lower Mainland to play with the rest of her team to get more experience with her new skip.

That’s where the second problem comes up.

“The level of play, in the last five years, has grown exponentially. A lot of teams have the opportunity. to play together in leagues, whereas here in B.C. where our team is so spread out, we don’t have the opportunity very often to play together,” she said.

Add to that a coach that will be in Sochi helping at the Olympics and the hardest thing about Nationals might be the logistics of getting together to play.

But when the time comes, it will be Quebec they’ll be looking out for, as it’s not only the team with the home advantage, but it was the team threat beat B.C. last year.

 

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