Curlers fare well at playdowns

Another season has now just about come to an end for competitive curling teams, so we’ll review this week how local squads fared in the various age categories of Curl B.C. playdowns…

We’ll start with the masters (60-plus) women’s division, where Nanaimo entries could boast very successful playdown runs. Regional playoffs were held in Cowichan, with five teams competing for the two available berths to provincials. Two local rinks were in the field and both Nanaimo teams advanced to the B.C. championships. Skip Sally Noonan and her team of Jill McGlenen, Sharon Luttrell, Shirley Cookman and coach Ron Kaneen won three straight games at regionals to claim the A berth. Skip Marg Obee and her team of Noreen Martin, Moyra Graham, Inga Brunton and coach Gloria Palinkas lost to Noonan in the A final, but rebounded to capture the B berth.

So both Nanaimo rinks joined six other teams at the B.C.’s this past weekend in Qualicum. The Noonan team went 0-3 in their games, but played well and gained valuable experience against some tough opposition. Obee did extremely well, advancing all the way to the championship game where she was edged 6-5 by Karin Host of Richmond.

Two local entries competed at the masters men’s regionals in Cowichan, but although both came close, neither earned a provincial berth. Skip Val Fenton and his teammates Jim Wilson, Bob Hungar, Gord Borbandy and Don Denton went 2-2, while Craig MacRae and his team of Frank Voysey, Al Herbertson and Dave Yule were 3-2.

In the senior (50-plus) women’s division, there were no local teams in playdowns this season, although Nanaimo’s Deb Pulak played second on the Hazel Watson rink from Qualicum. Senior men’s coastals were held at Comox Valley, where 23 teams fought it out for four berths to provincials. One of those teams featured Frank Voysey and Jim Newlands from Nanaimo teamed with Comox skip Ron Schmidt and posted a 3-2 record.

Mens’ playdown teams this year could take part in two separate Coastal competitions to gain a berth to provincials. The first was held in Maple Ridge, where 20 teams vied for two spots at the B.C.s and the second was at Juan de Fuca, where another 15 rinks fought for the two remaining berths. One Nanaimo team was involved, that being the foursome of Kevin Weinreich, Dave McGarry, Sean Krepps and Kyle Anderson. There was no joy for the locals, however, as they went out 0-2 at the first event and 1-3 at the second.

A similar pair of coastal playdowns was held for women’s teams hoping to get to provincials and the award for perseverance must certainly go to Nanaimo’s only contender. The local team of skip Nicole Backe, third Shannon Gallaugher, second Gloria Palinkas, lead Barbara Zbeetnoff and coach Katie Witt had made it to provincials last year. This time around they had to fight hard to get back. In the first Coastal playdown the team lost in the finals of all three events for a provincial berth. Then in the second Coastals, they lost in the A final in an extra end, before coming through with a 7-5 win in the last-chance B final. That sent the Backe team to the women’s provincials in Cloverdale, where they finished with a 3-6 record, good for seventh place.

Nanaimo did not have any junior (20-and-under) men’s teams on the playdown trail this season. However, local player Griffin Woodward played second on the Kyle Jackson team from Delta that qualified for provincials and placed fourth with a 4-3 record. The Nanaimo junior women’s team of Kesa Van Osch, Nicole McCurrie, Marika Van Osch, Kalia Van Osch and coaches Jim Newlands and Cindy Van Osch, won the B event at their Coastal playoffs in Victoria. The team then went 3-4 at the B.C.s in North Vancouver, taking fifth place.

At the juvenile (16-and-under) men’s level, two local teams took part in zone playdowns. Dave McGarry coached the foursome of John MacDonald, Brenden Booth, Dakota Stevens and Brenden Sandberg. The entry of Tyler Nobel, Steven Franklin, Stephen Champion and Jared Nobel was coached by Blair Franklin. Both rinks bowed out with 0-2 records.

Another pair of Nanaimo teams competed in zone juvenile women’s playdowns. Coach Cindy Van Osch saw her team of Dallyce Gillespie, Ava Whitney-Coulter, Mikayla Anderson and Bethany Booth post a 2-2 record. Meanwhile, Jim Newlands was coach for skip Shaelyn Rice and her teammates Morgan Beech, Marika Van Osch and Talya Jesperson. Rice and her teammates went 3-0 at the regionals to earn a berth at provincials held in Lake Cowichan, where they earned silver.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.