Rachel Homan delivers a rock during the fourth round-robin draw of the Humpty's Champions Cup on April 24, 2019, in Saskatoon. (Anil Mungal)

Homan, Einarson continue to climb at Champions Cup

April 24, 2019, 8:35 PM

SASKATOON — Team Rachel Homan and Team Kerri Einarson have both moved up to the top of the table with 2-0 records in the Humpty’s Champions Cup.

Homan, the double defending champion from Ottawa, trumped Team Jamie Sinclair of the United States 8-3 in the fourth round-robin draw Wednesday afternoon while Einarson, from Gimli, Man., earned a 7-1 win over Russia’s Team Vlada Rumyanceva.

It looked like Homan was auditioning for the NBA sinking a pair of three-pointers in the first half while forcing Sinclair to just singles to lead 6-1 at the halftime break.

“That was a nice scoreboard,” Team Homan lead Lisa Weagle said. “It was good to pick up a couple threes and some really nice shots by everyone up and down the lineup on our team. I’m really happy to be 2-0.”

The teams shook hands early though as Sinclair (1-1) was forced to hit for another lonely point in the fifth while facing three counters and Homan connected with her last in the sixth to tack two more points on the board.

The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling is testing out a no-tick zone rule during the eighth and extra ends during the tournament. Teams cannot move rocks sitting on the centre line during the first five rocks of the final ends.

Weagle has become known as the master of the tick shot and weighed in on not having the finesse manoeuvre in her arsenal towards the end of the match. (Although it helps when her team finishes their games a couple ends early and don’t run into that problem.)

“To me, I feel if you manage the scoreboard and have hammer in the last end, I think you should be able to play ticks,” Weagle said. “That’s kind of the advantage of having hammer but we’ll see how it goes here and what the results are like.”

Jolene Campbell is subbing for Team Homan second Joanne Courtney.

Meanwhile, Einarson captured the Players’ Championship just a week-and-a-half ago and carried the momentum forward with her team shooting 91 percent against the reigning world junior champions.

“We came into this event hoping we’d do well but we’re just focused on playing well and having fun,” Team Einarson lead Briane Meilleur said. “It’s the end of the season so we just want to make sure we have fun out there for most but a win would be nice again. We’ll see what happens.”

Team Einarson struggled to start the Players’ Championship with a 1-3 record before righting the ship around winning four straight games en route to the title. Suffice it to say, it’s been smoother sailing here getting that second win.

“It’s a better start, that’s for sure,” Meilleur said with a laugh. “We’ve been playing better to start this event too, so that’s good. We’ve just got to keep rolling with it but we have some hard games coming up so we’ve got to make sure we stay focused and play well for the rest of the round-robin.”

After a deuce to open in the first, Einarson added single steals in three consecutive ends for a 5-0 advantage at the break. Rumyanceva (0-2) broke the shutout with a single in five and shook hands after Einarson hit for another deuce in six.

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Russia’s Team Alina Kovaleva scored five in the fifth end during a 7-4 win over Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta. Kovaleva improved to a 1-1 record while Scheidegger started out at 0-1.

Calgary’s Team Chelsea Carey completed the comeback to defeat Team Isabella Wrana of Sweden 6-5. Carey (1-0) trailed 5-1 at the break and rolled away with a point in five, back-to-back single steals in six and seven followed by two more in eight. Wrana dropped to a 0-2 record.

Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher beat Regina’s Team Matt Dunstone 9-8 in extra end in the lone men’s game on the draw. Bottcher, who has won the past two Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling men’s titles, is 1-0 to start while Dunstone dropped to 1-1.

Round-robin action continues at 8 p.m. CST.

Broadcast coverage begins Thursday at 2 p.m. ET / Noon CST on Sportsnet with online streaming available via Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

Notes: The Humpty’s Champions Cup is the seventh and final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the season featuring 15 men’s teams and 15 women’s teams who won high-profile events over the course of the season to qualify. … The total purse is $250,000, split evenly between the men’s and women’s divisions, with the winners earning $40,000.