The B.C. Royal Canadian Legion Curling Playdown was held at the Rossland Curling Club on the weekend and when the rocks settled it was the Fraser Valley Zone representative that took home the provincial title on Sunday.
The final game pitted the South Vancouver Island Zone’s Cowichan Lake Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 53, and Fraser Valley Zone’s Chilliwack Branch # 4 with skip Kevin Britz, third Ken Britz, Darin Jarvis second, and Gord Bradley lead.
In a 10-end game that pushed the three-hour mark, the turning point came about 15 minutes into the match. With last rock in the first end, Chilliwack skip Kevin Britz faced a well-guarded Cowichan rock in the four foot. His only option was a challenging raise takeout from out in the wings. Sweepers Jarvis and Bradley were called on and off the length of the ice, keeping it close. In fact, it was right on, raising his rock onto the shot rock to count two in the first end, for a three point swing.
The teams exchanged singles the rest of the way but with a 7-6 lead going into the 10th end and with hammer, the Chilliwack team continued hitting all opposition rocks in play. Not the most exciting 10th end, but effective, running the Cowichan team out of rocks and sealing the win and a trip to the Legion Nationals in Birch Hills, Sask. in March.
Local curlers had a tough weekend as the Tom Hall, Jim Albo, and Clare Coleman rinks were shut out of the playoffs.
The Scotties: In women’s curling action, the field for the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts was completed on Monday with the crowning of several provincial champions.
After losing in three previous B.C. finals in her career, Patti Knezevic’s Prince George rink prevailed Sunday with a 5-3 extra-end victory over Victoria Curling Club’s Sarah Wark rink. Wark had beaten six-time B.C. Champion Kelly Scott earlier Sunday to advance to the final against the Knezevic rink. The Caribou team with third Kristen Fewster, second Jen Rusnell and lead Rhonda Camozzi went undefeated through the championship including three wins against the Wark rink.
Meanwhile, Olympic women’s curling champion Jennifer Jones will represent Manitoba in next month’s Canadian women’s curling championship.
Winnipeg’s Jones defeated Kerri Einarson 5-2 in Sunday’s provincial final in Winkler. Jones is a four-time Canadian champion and won a world title in 2008. She’ll compete in her 11th national championship Feb. 14-22 in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Julie Hastings defeated Sherry Middaugh 9-5 in the Ontario women’s final in Penatanguishene. Hastings has twice skipped Ontario in the Scotties and finished third in 2009.
Stefanie Lawton will wear the host province’s colours after doubling Michelle Englot 4-2 in the Saskatchewan final in Assiniboia.
Valerie Sweeting downed Chelsea Carey 9-7 to take the Alberta title in Lacombe.
Mary-Anne Arsenault will skip Nova Scotia at the Scotties. The former second of five-time champion Colleen Jones defeated Theresa Breen 7-5 in Dartmouth.
Suzanne Birt’s team from Prince Edward Island, a former world junior champion, claimed her eighth provincial women’s crown Monday with a 10-4 victory over Kathy O’Rourke in Summerside.
Quebec’s Lauren Mann, Heather Strong of Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Ontario’s Tracy Horgan, Yukon’s Sarah Koltun and Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories secured their berths earlier this month.
New Brunswick’s women’s final is scheduled for next Sunday.
Defending champion Rachel Homan of Ottawa gained an automatic berth as Team Canada. Nunavut chose not to enter a team this year under a new format that allows for separate entries from the three territories as well as Northern Ontario team.
Horgan, Galusha and Koltun will square off in a three-team round robin qualifier with the winner advancing to the main draw.
The winner of the Scotties represents Canada at the world women’s championship March 14-22 in Sapporo, Japan.