Homan makes history playing Elite 10 men’s event

In the first ever battle of the sexes in curling, Rachel Homan and her rink make history on the first day of the Elite 10, but drops a pair of matches to Team Epping and Team Carruthers.

VICTORIA — It wasn’t the result she was looking for, but Rachel Homan made Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling history Thursday playing against John Epping during Draw 2 of the Elite 10.

It was about more than just the score when the Ottawa rink of Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney, and lead Lisa Weagle became the first women’s team to play in a GSOC men’s invitational since Sportsnet acquired the series in 2012.

“It was fun to play,” Weagle said. “We’re grateful to be invited and to be playing here.”

Team Epping was in control on the ice, however, as the Toronto rink scored a 4 & 3 victory in the match play event.

“I think a lot of people were probably putting more pressure into it than we were but to us they’re four phenomenal curlers,” Epping said. “We just wanted to go out and play well against them. We knew that we had no control over what they did. If they played really well and we really played well then it would be a great game. But if they played fantastic and we played really well, they’d beat us.

“It was a lot of fun and I’m really happy that they’re here. It’ll be a great weekend for the crowd.”

Epping scored in the first and stole the second for a two-end lead. Homan made a draw for just one in the third as Courtney dragged it in for shot stone for the push. Epping drew for a deuce in four and stole in five to clinch the victory.

On top of match play — where teams attempt to win the most ends per game — a few new rules have been added to the mix. Teams cannot perform tick shots on guards sitting on the centre line, sweepers are not allowed to use stopwatches, and players cannot swap brush heads during the event as the sweepers and skip’s brushes are locked up in-between games.

While the tick has become Weagle’s signature shot, she wasn’t fazed by the rule.

“With match play you probably wouldn’t be playing the tick very much anyway. You really want more rocks in play,” she said. “It wasn’t too big of a difference. It’s kind of how we play the skins game anyway without the tick.”

Epping added that it was fun playing with the new rules.

“I think the no brooms thing you don’t really notice it as much when you’re playing just the first game of the spiel. You’ll probably see it as we play later in the week and with more games in it,” he said. “The no timing thing was interesting. You’re kind of just really using your gut on everything and a little bit of good guessing out there sometimes. But for the most part everyone is good at judging at this level and to us there were still a ton of draws made out there. We felt like we had a good feel of the weight and the paths so it’s great.

“The format is fun and I love that the Slams introduce new rules and are innovative to see how the players work and it just makes it unique.”

GSOC Elite 10: Scores | Standings | TV schedule | Watch online for free

Meanwhile, Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock stole the final end to prevail 1-up over recently crowned Brier champ Kevin Koe of Calgary.

Laycock stole the first pair of ends to go ahead by two. Koe took the third end to get on the board and stole in six to knot it up. Laycock was forced to just a single in seven that pushed to the eighth.

Reigning world champion Niklas Edin of Sweden took a 3 & 1 victory over Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher.

Edin stole the second end and Bottcher swiped the fourth. Edin scored in five to retake the lead, stole one in six and iced the game swiping another in seven when Bottcher missed his last shot.

The Elite 10 is the fifth event of the Pinty’s GSOC season and runs through to Sunday at the Q Centre at West Shore Parks & Recreation.

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