Kerri Einarson's curling team wins fourth straight Canadian women's curling title
KAMLOOPS — Kerri Einarson's curling team achieved a Canadian women's championship four-peat Sunday with a 10-4 win over Manitoba's Jennifer Jones.
Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Harris became just the second team to win four consecutive Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
"We've worked extremely hard to make this happen," Einarson said. "It feels just as good as winning our first."
Colleen Jones' foursome won four in a row from 2001 to 2004.
"It's just been an incredible run with this team," Sweeting said. "I'm super-excited to wear the Maple Leaf a little longer."
Einarson will represent Canada in the women's world championship March 18-26 in Sandviken, Sweden.
Einarson stole two points in the fifth end Sunday for a 4-2 lead.
"That was a big steal there and kind of flipped the momentum a little," the skip said.
Einarson led 5-4 in the ninth when Jones missed her attempted raise.
Einarson made an open hit to score four, and Jones shook hands.
Manitoba had hammer to start the game because of earning the higher playoff seeding
After holding each other to single points in the opening four ends, Einarson stole the pivotal deuce.
With two Einarson stones at the top of the eight-foot rings covering the button, Jones had to throw to the outside and her draw was light.
"If I could throw one again, that would be it," Jones said.
The two sides again traded single points until the ninth.
Einarson beat Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville 7-5 in the afternoon semifinal to get to the championship game.
Harris, who is pregnant and due in June, was a sweeping workhorse Sunday in back-to-back wins for Einarson.
"She is a machine out there. She's just determined. She pushes through anything," Einarson said. "She doesn't ever complain."
Harris posted accuracy percentages of 97 per cent in the final and 94 per cent in the semifinal.
"Being pregnant and curling is not the easiest thing in the world, but I'm really excited that I could do it, and put my mind to it," said Harris, who is optimistic she can stay in the lineup at the world championship.
"I'm pretty stubborn," the lead continued. "I think I'm going to do everything I can to play then. Hopefully I don't get that much bigger.
"That would be the only upset for me because it would be a little bit harder. I think I have what it takes to still play if I keep moving and hopefully everything is still healthy."
Einarson and company return to the 2024 Tournament of Hearts in Calgary wearing the Maple Leaf again as Team Canada, with a chance at a record fifth consecutive title.
"Hopefully we have another one in us next year, but even if we don't, this is an amazing run that we've had," Harris said.
They also pocket $108,000 from a prize purse of $300,000 and are eligible for Sport Canada "carding'" money as part of Curling Canada's national-team program.
Einarson won the first of four Canadian crowns in 2020 in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Less than a month later, the world championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Einarson placed sixth in the 2021 world championship in Calgary's bubble.
Her foursome took the bronze medal last year in Prince George, B.C.
Einarson said earlier in the tournament in Kamloops she felt her team had unfinished business at the world championship.
"We expect to play well and hope to bring home gold for Canada," the skip said.
"We're going to give it our all and just go enjoy ourselves."
Jones fell a win short of a record seventh Canadian championship.
The 46-year-old skip had taken over a young team of curlers under the age of 25, who played in their first Hearts final Sunday.
"I'm just disappointed we didn't come out and put our A game together, but all in all, pretty happy with the week," Jones said.
Birchard collected her fifth Canadian title.
She was a member of the victorious Jones' team in 2018, so Einarson's victory Sunday was her fifth gold medal.
"It's insane, Birchard said. "I don't know what kind of streak this is, but I'll take it and keep riding it until it's done."
Einarson, Sweeting and Birchard were selected first team all-stars at their position with Northern Ontario's Sarah Potts chosen at lead.
Ontario skip Rachel Homan, Wild card third Laura Walker, Ontario second Emma Miskew and Harris comprised the second all-star team.
Attendance in Kamloops averaged 2,000 per draw with a high of 3,439 spectators for Sunday's final.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2023.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press