(Left to right) Sherry Middaugh, Jo-Anne Rizzo, Lee Merklinger, and Leigh Armstrong will be competing at the Women’s Masters Basel event beginning Oct. 9 in Switzerland.

Curler Sherry Middaugh looks for success across the Atlantic

Skip and her rink seek 1st win of season

Sherry Middaugh will look to stay in the house, even though she’s a long way from home.

Alongside Jo-Anne Rizzo, Lee Merklinger, Leigh Armstrong, and Lori Eddy, Middaugh will be competing at the Women’s Masters Basel event beginning Oct. 9 in Switzerland.

The veteran curler’s team makes an annual trip across the pond, but it heads into unknown territory this season.

“This is our first time going to this event,” Middaugh explained. “Last year we went to Sweden, but we have also gone to Norway and China.

“We realize that it’s a long haul being away from friends and family so much, so we try and make one fun and memorable trip each year.”

Team Middaugh will have the tough task of being the lone Canadian team in this tournament against some of the best that Europe has to offer.

Team Pätz after their world championship victory.
(Left to right) Alina Pätz, Nadine Lehmann, Marisa Winkelhausen and Nicole Schwaegli showing off their 2015 world curling championship gold medals. (Twitter)

“Last year’s world champ, (Alina) Pätz from Switzerland, will be there,” she said. “(Flims) Feltscher from Switzerland is there, Eve Muirhead who has an Olympic bronze medal, (Margaretha) Sigfridsson who has an Olympic silver medal, (Anna) Sidorova from Russia is going to be there, so all of the top European teams are there for sure.

“They come over to Canada quite often to compete, so we’re quite familiar with some of them, but it’s fun to go overseas and play in their backyard.”

Paradise, N.L., was the site for the first leg of the Grand Slam of Curling, the Tour Challenge. This was also the first competition of the year for Middaugh.

Her team battled to a place in the eight-team playoff, but was unfortunately defeated by Team Fleury from Sudbury, Ont., in the quarter-finals.

Team Middaugh has only played in one other event on the young season, where it failed to make the playoffs at the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic in Cornwall, Ont.

Different parts of Ontario

All four curlers on the team hail from different regions of Ontario, stretching from Ottawa to Brantford, so it is difficult for the team to play together on a regular basis, let alone when there are only a few clubs in Ontario who have ice.

“We haven’t been on the ice for a couple weeks, three of us do play a summer league down in Oakville every Wednesday night, but we don’t have ice other than there,” Middaugh said before heading to Switzerland. “We’re not practising regularly, where a lot of the teams have had a bit more ice than we’ve had, so that’s a concern.”

The team will look to redeem itself in Basel, and Armstrong, the team’s lead, believes she and her teammates are ready for the stiff competition.

“We’re feeling like it’s mid-season already, we’re in mid-season form,” Armstrong said. “The competition is getting tougher, but we’ve been together for a long time and I think we are due for a big win.”