GRAVENHURST - It wasn’t the golden finish they had hoped for, but the Sinclair rink of Ontario, featuring Gravenhurst native Holly Donaldson as the vice skip, slid off the national final ice bronzed.
Holly Donaldson (right) returned from the women’s Canadian junior curling championships in Fort McMurray, AB with a bronze medal finish and earned the second-team all star player award at the ending banquet, having the second highest shooting percentage through the tournament. (Photo submitted)
Donaldson, the 19-year-old daughter of Mayor Paisley Donaldson, said she and her fellow teammates were satisfied with their finish this year at the women’s Canadian junior curling championships in Fort McMurray, AB, held Feb. 2 to 10. It was the Manotick-based rink’s second consecutive appearance at the national finals, a feat accomplished by an Ontarian team only four times.
“In the end we were all still pretty proud and we can’t complain,” she said. “Everyone in Ontario wanted to be where we were that week, so there’s nothing to hang our heads about.”
Skipped by Jamie Sinclair with Katelyn Wasylkiw and Erin Jenkins rounding out the lead and second spots, Donaldson plays the vice and earned the second-team all star player award at the ending banquet, having the second highest shooting percentage at 71 per cent during the tournament.
The crew went 7-3 through round-robin play, losing a heart-breaking, one-point, final-shot game to the eventual gold medal winners from Kamloops, BC.
“But that happens; we played them tough and could have won that game, it just didn’t roll our way,” Donaldson said.
Their round-robin record forced a tie-breaking match against the Yukon to see which team would make the playoffs and the Sinclair rink capitalized to move into the semi-finals against the rink from Manitoba on Feb. 10.
It was a tight contest where the Sinclair rink had to play catch-up, but kept grinding from hack to house to force an extra and deciding end.
‘We were chasing them’
“We gave up a bad end in the fifth and we were chasing them from that point on,” Donaldson explained.
“In the ninth (end) we managed to steal one to force the extra end, but they held the hammer.”
It would be a tough 10-6 loss for the Ontario team but enough to earn the bronze medal and a good way to end off the season for the junior women. It will also be their last run at championships together as a team as Donaldson remains the only one young enough to still be eligible for the junior squad. She said her main focus now will be her university schooling in southern Ontario, but come next curling season, she will likely be back on the ice.
“I have offers so it’s a matter now of making my choice,” she said of finding another Ontario team.
“I have a lot of things to think about, but for now, it’s school.”