Canadian Senior Curling Championship: Team BC misses medal by measurement

Team BC played 12 games over the week, the maximum number possible in the round-robin pool, championship-pool, and final-round format.

Team BC’s Bob Ursel rink came up a millimetre short of a medal at the 2016 Everest Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Digby, N.S. on Saturday, while a relieved Team Ontario won gold at the week-long event.

With Kelowna’s Ursel as skip, Dave Stephenson third, Trail native Don Freschi throwing second rocks and Nelson’s Fred Thomson as lead, the fourth seeded Team BC faced number-1 seed Team Ontario in the semifinal. In a close match, that saw BC take a 5-3 lead after scoring two in the fifth and stealing one in the sixth, Ontario would count two in the seventh to tie it, then steal the game with a single in the eighth end for the 6-5 victory.

“We did great, just that last game,” said Freschi. “We were the only team to beat Ontario and then we had them beat again in the semifinal. We played hard, it’s just unfortunate we had a couple of picks on Bob’s last rocks.”

In the seventh end, BC had an open hit to lie two but the rock picked and floated by leaving Cochrane a draw for two. With the game tied in the final end and BC with hammer, Cochrane’s last rock was a great shot at a double take-out but the Ontario rock didn’t roll far enough and after a measurement it was determined the game-deciding point went to Ontario and with it, a berth in the final.

“They beat us by a fraction of a hair, a millimetre on a measurement,” said Freschi. “It just stuck there, didn’t move, it went across and then stopped. The curling gods were against us.”

Coming off the devastating loss, Freschi and the Ursel rink then fell to the 2014 seniors champion, Nova Scotia’s Al O’Leary rink, 7-5, in the bronze medal game to finish fourth in the tournament.

Team BC played 12 games over the week, the maximum number possible in the round-robin pool, championship-pool, and final-round format.

After beating Alberta’s Ed Lukowich rink 6-4 to start the Championship Pool round, BC rolled to a 5-3 victory over Brad Heidt’s Saskatchewan team Thursday then handed eventual champion Bryan Cochrane’s Ontario Team their only loss in the tournament, 8-2. However, BC fell to defending champion Randy Neufeld of La Salle, Manitoba in the next match, 6-0, on Friday.

The top four teams from the Championship Pool went on to the semifinals, where Ontario would beat BC, while Manitoba rolled to the final with an 11-5 drubbing of Nova Scotia, sending the host team to the bronze medal game against Team BC.

In the final, Team Ontario could do no wrong, taking a 5-1 sixth-end lead on its way to a conceded 6-3 victory in seven ends over Manitoba.

Following his victory, Ontario’s Cochrane was thrilled to be standing at the top of the podium after a long week of competition and a harrowing semifinal match against Ursel and Team BC.

“That was a tough week,” the Men’s champion said on the website. “We had a really tough game against B.C. (Bob Ursel) this morning (in the semifinal). This was hard – that was very good curling out there this week. We hung in there and the guys played great.”

In the bronze medal game, Ursel’s rink was poised for a victory, leading 4-3 over O’Leary heading into the sixth end when the Nova Scotia skip scored two, and then stole two in the seventh on the way to a 7-5 win.

While a medal would have been nice for Team BC, after losing their shot at gold to Ontario, Freschi and the rest of the team took the upcoming game in stride and enjoyed the experience playing against Digby’s hometown team.

“We talked to Nova Scotia, the home crowd, so we just said ‘Hey, we’re just going to throw them up and down and see what happens,’” said Freschi. “We’re not too stressed about it. It’s just after losing that one we shouldn’t have, it was tough.”

In Women’s play, Colleen Jones’ Nova Scotia foursome took the gold with a 5-2 victory over Team Saskatchewan on Saturday. Jones, a six-time Canadian (1982, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) and two-time (2001, 2004) world champion, will try to become just the second curler to skip her team to victory at the Scotties, Worlds and Canadian Seniors. Cathy King from Alberta won the bronze with a 7-3 win over Ontario, and is the only curler to achieve that feat.

It was the first year that Kootenay curlers Freschi and Thomson curled with the Okanagan’s Ursel and Stephenson, and, according to Freschi, it certainly won’t be the last.

“We had a solid team, we had a blast this year, and we’re already talking about it. We’re going to stick together and win that damn thing next year.”

The Cochrane and Jones rinks will now compete as Team Canada at the 2017 World Senior Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Alta. Apr. 22-29, 2017.

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read