MIDLAND – During a three-day period in Welland in March 1989, the curling gods smiled on a group of women from Midland.
In recognition of their accomp- lishment in claiming the Southern Ontario Ladies Curling Association’s Business Women’s Tankard that year, eight ladies from two teams will be inducted Saturday into the Midland Sports Hall of Fame.
“It’s very much an honour to be selected,” said Sandra Brett, who was the skip of one of the two Midland Curling Club teams that claimed the title.
Brett’s teammates included Margaret Moore, Nancy Deenen and Nancy Brett.
The other Midland team included skip Donna O’Hara, Dale Walsh, Kathy Peter and Arlene Shirley.
A tankard entry in those days consisted of two teams, with the title going to the group with the highest aggregate score.
The gruelling tankard events were single-knockout competitions, meaning one defeat sent a team to the sidelines immediately.
“Myself, Margaret and Nancy (Moore) knew each other well, as we had been curling together since 1982,” said Brett.
Coming from a small curling club, Brett noted she and her team interacted with members of the O’Hara rink often during the season.
“Donna and I curled many times together,” she said.
By the time the two rinks arrived in Welland, they were very familiar with the pressures of a tankard final, having travelled the same route in 1983, 1985 and 1987, only to suffer defeat.
In 1989, Brett and her team defeated Humber Highland in semifinal play, setting up a championship showdown with a team from the Galt Curling Club.
“In the 10th end, I had one rock hidden in the house on the 12-foot, but there were a bunch of guards out front of it,” said Brett.
The Galt skip executed a draw, navigating her rock behind the guards that were sitting on the four-foot.
“At that point I said to myself, ‘Oh boy, I am not going to be able to get over there without crashing on the guards,’” she said.
With her last rock, though, Brett spilled the Galt guard out of the house while her rock hung around on the 12-foot, giving her team the championship.
“It’ll be a shot I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I had made it until it hit the hog line and started to curl.”
When the team returned to Midland, they presented the championship trophy to officials with the Midland Curling Club, anxious to have it proudly displayed in the trophy case.
Unfortunately, the trophy was so large it couldn’t fit in the display case. Ultimately, Brett ended up keeping it in her living room for most of the following year.
Today, she still smiles when she admires the crest and engraved silver goblet she was presented with as champion.
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