The Senior Curling championship heated up at the Trail Curling Club Wednesday, highlighted by a number of key men’s and ladies’ matches going down to the wire.
Entering Draw 3 Wednesday morning, it was a battle of the undefeated teams as Cranbrook’s Tom Shypitka dueled Castlegar’s Myron Nichol rink, and on the ladies side it was Karin Lepine going to an extra-end with Debbie Jones-Walker.
After a close 7-6 victory over Mel Steffin’s Victoria rink Tuesday night, Shypitka, with third Fred Thomson, second Don Freschi, and lead Bill King, on the strength of two big ends, went on to an 8-6 win over Nichol and moved to 3-0, the only undefeated team remaining on the men’s side.
“It can’t get much better than that,” said Shypitka. “We grinded the last couple games out, they were tough but we held in there.”
Skip Myron Nichol and his team of third Rick Brown, second Terry Kryzcka, and lead Rob Babiarz didn’t miss, and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two ends and a 4-3 advantage heading into the fifth end.
But it all changed when Shypitka counted another three-ender and a 6-4 lead to turn the momentum. He followed that up with a steal, and after blanking seven, with Nichol threatening a big end of his own, Shypitka executed a brilliant raise and a steal of one.
“The raise in eight was a turning point for sure. They were looking at getting a deuce or maybe even three if I don’t make that.”
The shot made it 8-4 Shypitka, and although Nichol scored two in the ninth to draw within two, he ran out of rocks in the 10th.
In Ladies action, the Kootenay Zone rink of skip Teresa Hiram, Rhonda Lee Bedard as third, Rose Beauchamp second, and Cindy Pettapiece from Castlegar as lead, got into the win column with an impressive 8-7 victory over defending champion Penny Shantz.
“We all played well in this game for sure,” said Hiram.
Shantz held a 3-1 lead going into the fourth end, but an improbable steal of three, turned the tables on the Salmon Arm team. Hiram, buoyed by the theft, stole another in the fifth to go up 5-3.
Shantz answered scoring two to tie it in the sixth, but Hiram replied with a deuce of her own in the seventh, before Shantz tied it at 7-7 in the eighth.
“The steal of three, kind of generated us up, and it was just keep it going, and then in the ninth when we came deep on our first draw, I said, ‘Forget it, it’s going to go to a blank end, and we’ll just have hammer coming home,’” said Hiram.
It worked to a tee, as Hiram with her last stone tapped back the Shantz red rock and count one for the victory.
Hiram played arguably three of the toughest teams in the tournament to start, dropping its first match to former world champion Jones-Walker 7-5 yesterday, and was down 6-5 to four-time B.C. Champion Smiley on Tuesday night heading into the eighth end until a massive six-ender by Smiley finished the game.
“This is my first go-round at the provincial level as a player, so for me every time I go in it’s huge. These guys are great, they’re fabulous players, you just watch them, you know theyr’e going to be good,” said Hiram.
A back and forth match between the Jones-Walker and Lepine rink would go to an extra end. Tied at 5-5, Jones-Walker tried to frieze to a Lepine stone on the four-foot with her final rock, but it bumped, creating just enough separation for Lepine to remove it for three and an 8-5 victory.
The Kathy Smiley team suffered its first loss against the Wendy Cseke rink Wednesday. Thanks to a four ender in seven, Smiley held a 7-4 lead in the eighth, but Cseke answered right back with three, then stole a point in the final two ends for a 9-7 triumph.
In the other women’s match Nanaimo’s Ridgway rink beat team Wyatt from Terrace 13-1, while on the men’s side Gellowitz beat Steffen 10-5, Lepine survived a late charge by Craig for a 7-5 victory, and Pughe defeated the Teskey rink 7-3.
Wednesday’s Draw 4 results were unavailable at press time. Draws five and six go today at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.