A total 19 curling teams started the day, but only four will be left standing by the time Saturday’s play is done at the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford.
Elimination games dominated the day Saturday at the Civic Centre to determine who would play in the men’s and women’s finals Sunday at the Civic Centre.
The first order of business was to finish off the last three men’s C qualifiers in the morning draw, to set the final field for the quarterfinals. Those games saw Brad Jacobs defeat Matt Dunstone 8-2 to send the Regina rink home. John Epping won over Peter De Cruz 5-3 to end the defending champions’ run, and Niklas Edin finished off Braden Calvert 7-5.
With the 16 playoff participants now set, the quarterfinal round began with four games on the women’s side. Once more, the focus of North Battleford fans was on the hometown Robyn Silvernagle rink as they found themselves in a rematch with Silvana Tirinzoni in one quarterfinal.
Silvernagle scored one in the second, but the wheels came off soon after. Tirinzoni scored two in the third and then stole two in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead, to the groans of the audience at the Civic Centre.
In the seventh, Tirinzoni’s team scored two more to take an insurmountable 6-1 lead. Silvernagle shook hands, and Tirinzoni’s team from Switzerland was on to the semifinals.
A title at the same event where Silvernagle was a volunteer statistician two years earlier would have made for a storybook ending for the team from Twin Rivers Curling Club. But it was not to be.
“We definitely struggled a little bit today,” said Silvernagle to reporters. “We knew they were going to come out firing after yesterday’s game, we just didn’t play where we needed to play.”
In other quarterfinal games, Rachel Homan scored one in the eighth end to eke out a 4-3 win over Casey Scheidegger. Nina Roth and her USA team advanced with a 6-3 win over Laura Walker, and Eve Muirhead of Scotland delivered an early KO of Chelsea Carey, scoring seven in the first end en route to a 10-3 victory.
That set up games between Homan and Roth and between Muirhead and Tirinzoni.
Men’s quarterfinals followed in the afternoon: the first to be decided was between Brad Gushue and Glenn Howard, with Gushue winning 6-2. That set up a semifinal match with Brendan Bottcher who advanced over Brad Jacobs 5-2.
John Epping advanced with a 6-4 win over Kevin Koe, and Bruce Mouat vs. Niklas Edin went to the extra end, where Edin prevailed on his last shot, 5-4.
Both the men’s and women’s semifinals go tonight at the Civic Centre.
Follow our Twitter feed @TheNewsOptimist for updates of Saturday’s action. Also check out the videos posted at our Facebook page of post-match interviews with Silvernagle and Tirinzoni after their game.