If the opening draws of the 2019 BC Senior Curling championship is an indication of things to come, then Trail is in for a thrilling ride.
Wednesday’s second Draw was a carbon copy of the opening Draw on Tuesday night when six of the eight games came down to the final end, leaving attendees at the packed Trail Curling Club unsure of which game to watch.
However, for locals, Draw 2 showcased a Kootenay match-up between Castlegar/Trail team skipped by Bill van Yzerloo and the Tom Buchy foursome from Kimberley with third Rob Ferguson of Trail. Buchy was looking for his first win, while van Yzerloo, after an 8-6 victory over Team Macdonald in Draw 1, was looking to go to 2-0.
“There’s a lot of tough teams here, yesterday went to last rock, today went to last rock so you’re going to see a lot of that,” said van Yzerloo.
Buchy led 2-0 heading into the fifth end, but van Yzerloo scored two to tie it in five only to fall behind 3-2 in the sixth. The teams blanked the seventh and with van Yzerloo wielding the hammer, the Castlegar/Trail team scored two for a 4-3 victory.
“That last one was pretty close, but the boys came through and we had a couple of last shots to make there and we came through so it worked out great, and 2-0 is a great start for us,” said van Yzerloo.
Doug Marshall also went to 2-0, with Marshall beating the Rob Koffski rink 6-5 in an extra end Tuesday before running over the defending-champion Craig Lepine team 11-3.
Team Wes Craig from the Island beat Koffski 6-5 in another close match on Wednesday, and Team Steve Write remained perfect with a 7-6 victory over Team Larry McDonald from Richmond.
On Tuesday night, a much anticipated match-up between the Lepine rink and another perennial favourite in Team Craig set the bar high for drama.
The Craig foursome came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the seventh end and was poised to steal the eighth and final end. Skip Wes Craig made a crucial bump with his last rock to sit three, and with three consecutive stones buried in the four foot, the middle rock resting on the button, a way in for Lepine looked impossible.
“There was no way we could hit those without jamming on the back rock, and if that rock (on the eight-foot) wasn’t there we wouldn’t even have a shot,” said Lepine.
The only shot for Lepine was a difficult in-off a Craig rock sitting pin-high on the eight foot. Throwing big weight, Lepine’s final rock banked off Craig’s stone and spun to the button, knocking out the shot-rock for a 4-3 victory.
“I missed some easy ones early, so it was good to make that one.” said Lepine. “It was the only shot we had.”
The history between the two teams goes back a ways, with Lepine beating Craig in last year’s final to win the BC Seniors title.
“In the last game of the round robin we played them (Craig) and he made a very similar shot to what I made to beat us,” said Lepine. “So I’ve played Wes in two provincial mixed finals, two senior finals and one semifinal so he’s been a rival for a while.”
Lepine also won the Men’s Senior’s event the last time he visited Trail in 2013, and his wife Karen won the women’s event.
On the Women’s side, only two teams remained at 2-0 after two draws. Team Marilou Richter (Penticton/Kelowna) beat Team Karen Anderson of Kelowna 6-4 in the first draw, then snatched a dramatic win from Team Sheila Cowan Wednesday morning to go to 2-0.
Richter trailed Cowan 5-2 in the seventh end but scored two, then stole an improbable two in the eighth end for a 6-5 victory.
“Basically we were just trying to play for one, maybe sit two in case she rolls out and we could steal to maybe tie it up,” said skip Richter. “We just kept rocks in play, patience, and that’s what it is a lot of times and the girls just swept that great. It was a tough shot for Sheila and we came out of it on the right end.”
Chilliwack’s Lisa Deputan eked out a final end 5-4 win over Heather Nichol’s Castlegar-Trail rink in Draw 1, then beat the other Kootenay team, Joy Romeo, by the same score in Draw 2.
Romeo scored three in the second end on their way to a 6-5 victory over Team Ernst from Quesnel, Tuesday, to sit at 1-1. while Nichol fell to 0-2 with an 8-3 loss to Ernst on Wednesday.
Cowan’s Royal City-Delta Thistle team were in tough against Team Leslie Shearer from Nanaimo but held off a late charge for a 6-5 win. Shearer made up for it with a 5-4 victory over Anderson in Draw 2.
The close matches are a good indication of the parity that prevails in senior curling, and with five more draws remaining, the games are only going to get better.
“There’s a lot of good teams, and a very open field,” said Richter. “We just have to take it one game at a time, one shot at a time, and persevere.”
Draw 3 was played at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, but results were unavailable at press time.
See Scoreboard for upcoming matches, or stay up to date by going to trailtimes.ca.