"Hi, this is the Grand Slam of Curling calling and YOU are invited to Conception Bay for the 2019 #BoostNational!"
The #gsoc curling phone is ringing as the qualification cut-off date has passed. Who received the calls? Who answered? And who is left sitting at home alone wondering what could have been?
The fun of proposing a new tour structure and ranking system is the comparison between the real and the make believe. We know what the current world looks like but what if we flip the script a bit and go through the wardrobe doors into the mystery land of the unknown?
Could the curling world also be flipped on its head through the injection of minor changes? For weeks this blog has been comparing the #TwineTime rankings to the real-time #OOM rankings in a build-up towards qualification for the next #gsoc event of the season. Ok yes the Tour Challenge starts this week so that is technically the next slam event but the next eligible slam I should clarify.
The Boost National cut-off was this Monday November 5. The teams on the pro-side of the cut line, the Top 14, would receive the call above while those just outside would be left sitting on the bubble hoping one of those above decides to hit the red "decline" button and turn down the offer.
Who are the teams on the invite? Does the qualification list differ between #TwineTime and #OOM? If so, by how much and who are the winners and losers? And which teams are waiting to see if their bubble is popped?
All these questions will be answered below....#ButFirst we need to add in the results of final weekend to earn those all-important qualification points. One of my favourite #TwineTime traditions and paying homage to one of my favs, here is your #GunnerRunback:
- At the #DEKALBSuperspiel in Morris, MB we had provincial battles in both #Tour1000 finals. For the men, it was an all-Sasky final (and perhaps preview to the 2019 provincial tankard final?) with Team Dunstone defeating Team Muyres in the battle of #TwineTimeFam members. Manitoba's Team Gunnlaugson and Team Calvert reached the SF. For the women, it was an all-Manitoba final for the home province fans with Team Flaxey knocking off Team Clark-Rouire to claim the first championship as a new squad. Saskatchewan's Team Holland and Switzerland's Team Stern rounded out the Top 4.
- #PolarPower reigned supreme in Kemptville, ON at the #RoyalLePageFallClassic when Kerry Galusha collected her first career #wct title as Team Galusha knocked off Team Arsenault for the spiel win. Team Murphy and Sweden's Team Wrana collected SF finishes at the #Tour500 event.
- At the #MayflowerCashspiel in Halifax, NS it was a double victory for the home town crowd when Team Murphy and Team Brothers collected tour titles. Team Murphy collected the #Tour500 W defeating Team McDonald in the final. Team Webb and Team MacKenzie qualified C-side and reached the SF. For the women, Team Brothers earned #Tour250 championship points when she defeated #TeamUpset contender Team Smith from PEI in the final. Team Hilliard and Team MacDiarmid completed the 4-team playoff bracket.
- Kelowna, BC hosted the #KelownaDoubleCash, a combined #Tour250 event, and saw the two early contenders for the provincial title emerge victorious. On the women's draw, Corryn Brown continues to try and distance herself as the B.C. Scotties front-runner collecting title #2 on the season when Team Brown defeated Team Slattery in the final. For Team Slattery this would be their second consecutive finals appearance, having reached the final last week in Kamloops. Team Wark, Kamloops winner, and Team Hudyma reached the SF. On the men's side, the new-look Team Cotter, with former Sask champ Steve Laycock at vice, won their 1st tour title together when they defeated defending Canadian and World junior champ Team Tardi in the final. Defending B.C. champ Team Geall and consistent #TeamUpset flag bearer Team Wenzek finished with SF results.
- At the inaugural #PragueClassic in Prague, CZE Sweden's Team Bryce emerged victorious knocking off #TeamUpset contender Poland's Team Jasieka, a nice tune-up result for the Polish team heading into the upcoming European Championships later this month. Team Bryce collected the inaugural title and max #Tour250 points. Russia's Team Vaskov defeated Czech's Team Kubeskova for third place.
- Bern, SUI debuted another new #wct event with the #GrandPrixBern Inter Curling Challenge. Italy's Team Mosaner defeated Scotland's Team Brydone to claim the inaugural title. It was an all-Swiss battle for third place with Team Hoesli defeating Team Schnider.
With a #Tour1000 event in the books for the men and women, along with a few #Tour500 and a handful of #Tour250 events, teams were collecting points all around the globe this weekend trying to increase their world ranking and, for some, steal a spot at the upcoming #BoostNational.
How did the results shake up Ranking Mountain this week? Without further adieu....
- Team Hasselborg - 3750 (LW: 1)
- Team Einarson - 2650 (2)
- Team Kovaleva - 1980 (3)
- Team Homan - 1900 (4)
- Team Carey - 1882 (5)
Hon. Mention: Team J. Jones, Team Scheidegger, Team Tirinzoni, Team Wrana, Team Flaxey
- Team Epping - 3745 (LW: 1)
- Team Edin - 2380 (2)
- Team McDonald - 2065 (4)
- Team Dunstone - 2040 (NR)
- Team Koe - 1935 (3)
Hon. Mention: Team De Cruz, Team Carruthers, Team Bottcher, Team Gushue, Team Jacobs
The women's mountain remains unchanged as the Top 5 securely have their feet planted in their positions...for this week anyways. Never get too comfortable on a mountain though folks. One quick step could spell disaster and a tumbling down the rankings while another team makes the right slide out of the hack and steals your spot near or at the top.
The men do see a slight change among the Top 5. The top spot remains unchanged, as expected, with Team Epping now sitting at week #8 on the apex of the mountain. What a run! Team McDonald may have lost the final in Halifax but the deep playoff run moved them up a spot from last week. And our big winner of the week is Matt Dunstone, collecting the big #Tour1000 title in Morris and bumping his ranking up to #4. #DunnyIsMoney this season as this win is title #2 for the season and follows up the QF finish at The Masters last weekend.
With this weekend being the final opportunity for teams to earn qualification points for the #BoostNational, which team(s) survive the bubble (according to the #TwineTime rankings anyway)?
Starting with the men's race:
- Epping (1) Edin (1)
- Edin (2) Gushue (2)
- McDonald (4) Koe (3)
- Dunstone (12) Epping (7)
- Koe (3) Mouat (4)
- De Cruz (5) Carruthers (5)
- Carruthers (6) Jacobs (6)
- Bottcher (7) De Cruz (8)
- Gushue (8) Bottcher (9)
- Jacobs (9) Walstad (11)
- Schwaller (11) Gunnlaugson (10)
- Mouat (10) Howard (12)
- Walstad (13) Dunstone (16)
- Muyres (NA) Shuster (15)
- Calvert (NA) Schwaller (14)
- Willsey (14) McDonald (17)
- S. Thompson (15) Ulsrud (13)
- Howard (16) Paterson (19)
- Paterson (17) Calvert (18)
- Gunnlaugson (NA) Ruohonen (20)
For 10 of the 14 teams above the thin red line, it is standard business as usual regardless of which system is used. Again some of the positional numbers may change but the collective qualifying #gsoc unit remains in tact.
The big winner is Matt Dunstone! His victory this weekend in Morris moved him hovering the cut line to sitting comfortably in green. A great example of how results, again regardless of system, can move a team up (or down) the rankings. Dunstone needed a deep playoff run in Morris to have a shot so what did he do? Went on to win the title!
On the #TwineTime side, Kirk Muyres did the same. He was sitting well outside the bubble last week but a run to the final in Morris would be just enough to earn an invite to Conception Bay. What a SF we saw in Morris between Muyres and Gunnlaugson. Based on the #TwineTime rankings, that game ended up being a de facto qualification game. Had Gunner emerged victorious, he would be sitting in the coveted #14 spot right now. Similar response for Team Calvert. Had they won their SF vs. Dunstone, they would also be on the positive side of the qualification line.
Team McDonald and Team Schwaller remain the outliers for #TwineTime while Team Howard and Team Shuster retain their invites into the Boost National based on the #OOM. McDonald has qualified in all 7 events entered, including a championship win in Gatineau, and has made a strong case for promotion into Tier I status this year. Pressure will be on to see how they perform at the Tour Challenge Tier II this week.
The women's race looks like this:
- Hasselborg (1) Hasselborg (1)
- Einarson (2) J. Jones (2)
- Kovaleva (3) Homan (3)
- Homan (4) Einarson (4)
- Carey (5) Fleury (5)
- J. Jones (6) Tirinzoni (7)
- Scheidegger (7) Carey (11)
- Tirinzoni (8) Fujisawa (6)
- Wrana (10) Scheidegger (12)
- Flaxey (NA) Walker (8)
- Yoshimura (9) Muirhead (9)
- Robertson (11) Robertson (14)
- Clarke-Rouire (NA) Sinclair (10)
- Stern (19) Roth (13)
- C. Brown (18) Wrana (15)
- Rocque (12) Sidorova (17)
- Fleury (13) E. Kim (16)
- Sidorova (14) Flaxey (18)
- U. Gim (15) Yoshimura (19)
- Fujisawa (16) Harrison (NR)
LOTS of differences between the two systems, as has been noted the past few weeks. No need to rehash all of it once again as many of you, myself included, are not too surprised. One of the keys though is the on-going theme of "with victory comes great reward" and we see it once again with the women's rankings.
Team Flaxey's title run in Morris moved them well behind the bubble to the positive side of the cut line. Results yield reward. Similar situation for #TeamJCR. They had a strong run to the final in Morris and would move above the cut line as well, knocking a strong Corryn Brown out of an invite spot.
The women's rankings see way more discrepancies compared to the men. Now remember, before you instantly take aim at attacking the #TwineTime system remember the wild card factors here. #OOM takes into consideration a cumulative result over more than one season when determining their ranking where #TwineTime is YTD. Of course there will be differences. In addition, the #TwineTime system is using a varied tour structure. One would have to imagine this new proposed system would cause many teams to re-structure their tour schedules. Some may play an extra #Tour5000 event and replace a #Tour250 event. Or a team may decide to play an extra one of two #Tour250 events rather than taking two or three weeks off.
The direct comparison and relationship does not completely work, #TwineTime recognizes this fault in the system. But the core value, foundation and rationale behind the proposed system and the variances in the ranking comparisons are still worth noting and discussing.
So discuss on.....
ICYMI the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships are underway in Korea right now. For a full event preview/prediction, including a historical look back at the #PACC competition, check out the #TwineTime blog post HERE.
In addition, we welcomed a NEW members to the #TwineTimeFam this week folks. Get to know Laura Walker as she sits down to talk with the blog on some interesting topics like the Women of Curling calendar, gender (in)equality, curling with all-stars, a few fun #LightningRound questions and so much more. Have a listen HERE.
And of course this week #curling eyes will be focused on Thunder Bay, Ontario for the next Grand Slam of Curling event, the Tour Challenge. #TwineTime will have your preview of BOTH the Tier I and Tier II championships sliding from my house to your house soon.