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Barker defends home ice with Sask Women's Curling Tour win

Former Scotties provincial champion wins third straight SWCT event
There are a few World Curling Tour teams waiting in the wings, but there’s little question that if the Scotties provincial women’s curling championship were to start today, Penny Barker would be a heavy, heavy favourite.

And for good reason: when you’ve won three straight Sask Women’s Curling Tour events, topping some of the best teams in the province and beyond, well, people tend to take notice.

Barker, third Deanna Doig, second Christie Gamble and lead Danielle Sicinski went undefeated through the SWCT stop at the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre this past weekend, defeating Team China’s Ya Han 7-3 in the final.

“It would be nice if we could keep on rolling and provincials were next weekend,” Barker said with a laugh. “But we’ve known this all year long, gear up all through fall and set yourself up so you have a direct bye into provincials. Then rest up and practice. We’re feeling really good right now, so it’s just tweaking things.”

The foursome have now won three of four SWCT stops, including the Regina Highland on the Oct. 25 weekend and – most importantly – the Saskatoon Nutana on Nov. 1, a win that gave Barker a direct berth into the Scotties provincials Jan. 24-28 in Melville.

This past weekend opened with a barnburner 7-6 win over a very familiar opponent in Lorraine Arguin followed by a 9-2 win against Regina’s Rae Ann Williamson and 5-3 victory over Saskatoon’s Jana Tisdale.

That sent Barker into the playoff round, where she defeated Sherry Anderson’s regular team, skipped by Nancy Martin, 6-4 in the quarter-final before downing Anderson’s senior team, skipped by the reigning world senior champion herself, 5-4.

From there, it was into the championship final where a unique opponent in Team China’s Ya Han awaited. A three-ender in the first and deuces in the third and fifth gave Barker a 7-2 lead, and after Han was held to a single point in the sixth, the two teams shook hands.

“We managed to put a little pressure on early, it’s nice to get a three-point lead and then you can just focus on more hits, you don’t have to be as aggressive going forward,” Barker said. “So it was nice to get up early and just focus on throwing the rocks.”

As fun as it might have been facing a team from out-of-country, curling is curling no matter the opponent.

“We just play our game and I think we’ve done a really good job staying with our gameplan and keeping that confidence up,” Barker said. “It’s just about making shots, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing and we just want to play well every game.”