Curling season finishes with signs of spring

The annual Spring Fling held last weekend was the final bonspiel of the year at the Nanaimo Curling Centre.

With the calendar flipped over to April, another season of curling is quickly coming to an end.

On the international scene, the world women’s championships wrapped up two weekends ago in St. John, N.B. Canada was represented by Scotties champion skip Rachel Homan and her Ontario squad, who had to settle for the silver medal after losing 9-5 to Binia Feltscher’s Swiss team in the final. This week, the world men’s tournament is underway in Beijing, China, where Brier champ Kevin Koe and his Alberta team are representing our country.

Locally, the annual Spring Fling held last weekend was the final bonspiel of the year at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. A total of 32 mixed teams took part in the event, which featured a fun Canadiana theme. The bonspiel was organized by Ross and Tami Barnard and their committee which included Patty Pedersen, Denise Wood and Linda Olsen. My special thanks go to organizer Kellie Rice for taking time to pass along results following final games last Sunday.

The championship game in A event, sponsored by Johnston Franklin Lawyers, featured undefeated Nanaimo teams skipped by Steve Waatainen and Ian Cook. Cook scored two to tie the game 3-3 after the seventh end and appeared ready to steal the winning point in the final frame. However, Waatainen used his final stone for a super run-back shot that gave him a hard-fought 4-3 victory. Backing Waatainen on the winning team were third Angela Price, second Keith Clarke and lead Michelle Waatainen. Others on the runner-up Cook squad were third Heather Lindsay-Lecuyer, second Gary Howk and lead Susan Barber.

Third in A were Nanaimo’s Leslie Shearer and her teammates Doug Shearer, Susan Chepil and Mark Kirkham.

Winner of the Christensen Collision B event was the Duncan/Kerry Park entry skipped by Dave Shortill. In the final, Shorthill fell behind 3-0, but then scored in four straight ends for a 9-5 decision over Nanaimo skip Ken Rafter and his team of Sandy Przada, Darren Fargo and Lori Heelm.

Local teams placed third and fourth in B event. Taking third was skip Mike Kenefick and his teammates Judy Gallacher, Bob Palynchuk and Elaine Cloutier.

Sponsor for the C event was Laird Wheaton and the all-Nanaimo final resulted in a 7-2 victory for skip Howard Jeglum and his team of Brenda Ridgway, Ross Barnard and Tami Barnard. Backing Kulai were teammates Jill McGlenen, Jake McGlenen and Lois Powell. Third place went to the Paul Dunkin entry from North Vancouver.

The Spring Fling bonspiel’s other event was designated as a novice event, with pairs of experienced local curlers teamed with pairs of beginners. Sponsor for the event was MacDonald Environmental Sciences Ltd. and first place was won by the foursome of Nicole Backe, Jeff Bates, Craig MacRae and Deanna Bates. In the final, the Backe team recorded a 7-4 decision over skip Cheryl Toole and her team of Dan Bailey, Adam Coronica and Alina Abbott.

Finishing third in the novice event was Marla Guldbransen and her teammates Jess Pyett, Kelsey Brown and Angela Butcher.

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

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.