VIRDEN — Curling has always been in Robin Campbell’s blood, and she’s showing it this week at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Campbell, who was born and raised in Brandon, has gone from a five-year hiatus from curling to skipping Deb McCreanor’s team in Virden this weekend just two years after returning to the roaring game. Getting back into the swing of things hasn’t been hard for the 33-year-old accountant, who now lives in Winnipeg.
"It was easier than I thought (to get back to elite curling)," she said. "It did take a little while getting your touch back and the feel of draw weight and getting your consistency back, but it was a bit like riding a bike where you can get back onto it. I have a big history of curling and I curled most of my life, so I didn’t really forget how to throw a stone, so that was good."
Campbell’s experience in curling is quite extensive. She won the 1995 provincial high school championship with her sister Lori while representing the Vincent Massey Vikings. Lori was picked up as a fifth for her Scotties team, but isn’t expected to play.
Campbell has also appeared in three junior provincials, one mixed and this is her third provincial Scotties. She was McCreanor’s fifth last year.
Her break from curling, however, had her far away from ice. After the 2006 season, Campbell moved to Bermuda and spent four and a half years there to work and avoid the cold Manitoba winters. She returned last season and started this season as third before moving into skip, although the team is still under McCreanor’s name.
"I kind of like that," she said. "I feel like it’s a little less pressure when it’s not my name. It’s Team McCreanor; it’s our team. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing or not."
This week hasn’t been great for Campbell, as her squad lost its first four games and is out of playoff contention.
However, she is glad to be back on the ice and playing at a provincial championship so close to home and in front of a lot of family members who came out to support her.
"I’m looking forward to the rest of the week," she said. "… We just want to have fun and have good games and curl well and hopefully knock off a few teams along the way."
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Winnipeg’s Barb Spencer became the winningest player in Manitoba Scotties history on Thursday with her 5-2 victory over Brandon’s Kortney Teale on Thursday afternoon. That was Spencer’s 96th career victory, passing Winnipeg’s Cathy Overton-Clapham.
"It’s a great record and I’m glad I’ve been able to play at an elite level for so many years and play in 20 Scotties," Spencer said. "It’s an honour. I’m proud of my accomplishments."
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The fans were almost the saving grace for Dauphin’s Lisa Menard in Wednesday’s late draw. The timekeepers and umpires didn’t see her call a timeout in the extra end, which caused time to expire before she threw her last rock. However, the fans in the stands were adamant that she had called timeout and she was allowed to throw her final stone.
Menard missed her raise-double takeout and lost 9-7 to Michelle Montford.