A combination of excitement and relief sums up the reaction of Robyn Silvernagle to winning the provincial Scotties title on the weekend.
“We’ve lost two provincials so to finally break through and win feels pretty incredible,” said Silvernagle after pulling off a 6-5 win over Sherry Anderson to claim the provincial women’s curling championship in Humboldt.
Anderson, who was the defending champion, had the hammer in the final end and needed to make her last shot to deny Silvernagle the title again for a third straight year.
Silvernagle could not even bring herself to watch Anderson throw that final stone.
“That’s pretty typical for me for not wanting to watch,” said Silvernagle.
“I don’t think Stefanie (Lawton) was surprised at all when I said ‘I can’t watch this.’ I guess we did all we could do and we were hoping for Sherry to miss. She had a really hard shot to make and she didn’t quite make it. So we feel fortunate that way, but we played a good end, and it was a good game by both teams.”
Team Silvernagle had been the clear favourites in Humboldt. They finished with the best overall record in the round robin, losing one game the entire week.
Yet it wasn’t an easy road to the final. The team had to come back from 5-0 down against Chantelle Eberle, and three down to Kristen Streifel to win those games on Friday.
“We battled hard and dug deep and managed to get those victories which was really important,” said Silvernagle.
“Again, it just shows a little bit of our team character and how we won’t just give up and we’re willing to fight for what we want.”
After losing to Anderson in the final the year before, and to Penny Barker’s rink the year before that, Silvernagle was clearly happy to have that weight off of her shoulders.
She credits “hard work and determination” as making the difference.
“It feels pretty good to win and now it’s just turning around and refocusing on our next task at hand.”
That next task will be competing in the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The spotlight will surely be on Silvernagle and “Team Saskatchewan” as they go into that competition. It will be a major step up in competition as well as media attention, but that is something her team experienced already in North Battleford at the recent Meridian Canadian Open.
“Any time you get the chance to play the top teams in the world and play on spectacular ice, you’re going to take it,” said Silvernagle of that experience. “We feel fortunate that we were able to play at home and really embrace that crowd, and get used to having that crowd around.”
The Silvernagle team will now take time to get ready for the national Scotties, happening Feb. 16-24.
The plan is to do some practices and “fine-tuning” over the coming weeks, in between their full time jobs. They also plan to get some rest beforehand and “feel focused and ready”.
Twin Rivers Curling Club is planning to hold an event to send off Team Silvernagle to the Scotties on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.
Silvernagle says her team looks forward to that event so they can show “their support and appreciation to the fans.”
She also hopes her team’s triumph in the Saskatchewan Scotties will spur on interest and participation in the game here in the Battlefords and area.
“Hopefully it brings some attention to curling and maybe get some new people trying it. We have a fantastic facility so it’ll be great if more people came out and actually played, even if it’s just in a fun league – it doesn’t have to be in a high competitive league… but yeah, to keep curling alive.”