Amy Nixon was at times overwhelmed subbing as skip of Team Kleibrink. Lisa Eyamie, expecting her second child in March, was at times tired as the late draws wore on.
Both Calgary skips excelled under adversity and made the women’s final in the Twin Anchors Curling Classic in Vernon. Nixon stopped Eyamie 8-3 in six ends to pocket $7,500. Eyamie settled for $5,500.
“I’m just relieved,” said Nixon, who with Kleibrink in Hawaii recuperating from surgery, added 2010 Olympic silver medalist Carolyn Darbyshire to her front end. “For me, it’s almost been humorous today that we have continued to roll and I had a great team in front of me. They saved me a number of times today when I wasn’t all there, struggling, and I’m really fortunate to have a chance to play with them.”
Bronwen Webster, who played third, and Chelsey Bell rounded out the championship foursome in a field of 24. Kleibrink won the cashspiel in 2008.
“When we came here without Shannon, I haven’t skipped in eight years or something,” said Nixon, a lawyer at Mt. Royal College. “It was a little bit of a ‘how’s it gonna go?’ We didn’t know Carolyn at all and she fit in awesome. We had a lot of fun today no matter what happened and winning made it even better.”
Nixon marked her 34th birthday late Thursday night by falling 7-3 to Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie. From there on, it was all victories, including Sunday playoff wins over Kelly Scott of Kelowna and Liudmila Privivkova of Russia.
“In some ways, we maybe got not real fortunate, but a little bit fortunate against Kelly Scott. She came so darn close to making her draw in the extra end. The field was good.
“That Russian team that we beat in the semifinals, they have been rolling. They won Regina. Kelly’s Scott’s team, I have a ton of respect for, how can you not for them? Sasha (Carter) and Kelly just played unreal against us in the first six ends. There’s a ton of Alberta teams we play all the time, the (Valerie) Sweetings, Sonnenberg, Eyamie.”
Nixon, who received texts of encouragement from Kleibrink, leaned on Webster for strategy.
“Bronwen (Webster) typically plays second and I play third so we’re used to playing together. It’s just a bit different being in the house together.”
Nixon said Kleibrink had surgery Sept. 8 for what “she called it a ‘little surgery on her kidney, no big deal.’”
The same foursome will compete in the Calgary Autumn Gold cashspiel this weekend. Kleibrink is expected to begin throwing practice rocks soon.
Eyamie, wearing a coat in Sunday’s final, was backed by new third Maria Bushell and a front end of Kyla MacLachlan and Jodi Marthaller. Eyamie had previously played in her first Vernon cashspiel with Calgary’s Heather Rankin.
Eyamie, a 34-year-old project management professional, went 3-2 in the round-robin before posting playoff wins over Sonnenberg and Sweeting.
“It’s been great, what a great start for our team,” said Eyamie. “We’ve got a new player at third so it’s basically a new lineup so we’re pretty happy. This is our second event and it’s pretty happy awesome to make it to the final. The money is a bonus. We’re looking for points for the (Canadian curling trials) Olympics.”
On the final, she said: “We had a few missed shots in the first end so they got a bit of a jump on us. We tried to hang in there and see what could happen and it’s just kind of the way it goes.”
The losing semifinalists each earned $4,000, while the losing quarterfinalists took home $2,000.