Curling fans enjoy favourite time of year

For fans of the sport of curling, this is always the most enjoyable time of the year. There’s plenty of excellent competition to be seen, with action both on television and on the ice locally…

Two weekends ago, the Scott Tournament of Hearts wrapped up in Charlottetown.  The top women’s teams in the country vied for the national title, with British Columbia represented by the Kelly Scott foursome from Kelowna. Scott did well, getting into the playoffs before losing a tie-breaker game to Nova Scotia. But the big story was the final end steal that gave Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland an upset 8-7 win over three-time defending champion Jennifer Jones. Holland and her team now move on to represent Canada at the women’s world championships, beginning March 19 in Denmark.

Then during this past week, fans have been able to watch coverage of the Canadian men’s championships being staged in London, Ont. It has marked the first Brier appearance for  B.C. representative Jim Cotter and his team from Vernon, and he was in tough against a field that includes such past winners as Kevin Martin, Jeff Stoughton, and Glenn Howard. The final will be played Sunday (March 13), with the winner to then represent Canada at the world men’s championships April 2-10 in Regina.

As for the local scene, the past few weeks have featured several bonspiels at the Nanaimo Curling Centre on Wall Street.

We’ll catch up first with results from the Nanaimo Interclub Bonspiel, which was sponsored this year by Wineworks. Senior men’s vice-president Gord Borbandy sends word that 24 rinks took part, with the teams composed by drawing names from the hat from the ranks of both the senior men and senior ladies’ divisions.

Prizes were awarded to top teams in three events, with the A event title going to skip Vic Uniat and his teammates Merv Osler, Thane Birch and Keith Ruthman. Winners of B event were skip Bob Ree along with Marg Carter, Henry Rempel and Gary Williams. Capturing top honours in C event was the foursome of skip Bob Franklin and George Taylor, Lloyd Learmonth and Gary Schenk.

Next up, the Nanaimo Senior Ladies’ Bonspiel and my thanks to Jill McGlenen for passing along results. The championship in A event was earned by skip Dianne Smith and Eleanor Voysey, Diana Johnstone and Diane Baker. Runners up were Marg Obee and her team of Noreen Martin, Moyra Graham and Inga Brunton. Third place went to Sally Noonan, Jill McGlenen, Sharon Luttrell and Shirley Cookman.

First place in B event was won by the team of skip Darcy Dreger, Patty Pedersen, Teri Palynchuk and Patty McRory. A Parksville entry skipped by Genette McDonald claimed second place and placing third in B event were skip Carol Tromans, Margie Carter, Leona Keltie and Sue Kowal.

Nanaimo skip Shirley Sloan and her teammates Karen Hungar, Marion Huck and Susan Barber were the top team in the bonspiel’s C event. In second place came skip Jessie Whittam, playing together with Denise Wood, Babe Smith and Judie Roberts. Esquimalt curler Ethel Vincent and her team claimed third.

Winners of D event were the foursome of Peggy Rooney, Barb Cox, Norma McLuckey and Lorna Ruthman. Ann McKenzie skipped her team of Sharon Stonehouse, Agnes Geiger and Stacia Smith to second place in the event, with third place going to skip Jean Kline and her teammates Phyllis Barr, Donna Williams and Monique McKenzie.

Last weekend at the curling club, the 12th annual Family Bonspiel was held, organized by Dorina Medland and her committee. The goal is to invite families out for a day of good curling, sportsmanship and memories, with the emphasis on introducing new curlers to the game. This year curlers ranged in age from 9 to 85, with the prize for the youngest curlers won by by Trevor Franklin and the prize for oldest curler taking part went to Ken Medland.

Capturing the first place A event trophy was the rink of Madison McDonald, Marg Obee, Ian McDonald and Donna Gannon. John MacDonald skipped his rink of Don MacDonald, Mary Lou Haines and Quinton MacKay to the B event trophy. The Franklin family rink including members Kevin, Blair, Stephen, Lisa, and Trevor topped the C event, with D event won by the Riley Hoesing rink consisting of family members Darah and Don Provencal and Rick Polden.

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

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