The Deane Horning rink bounced back from an earlier loss to Kimberley’s Tom Buchy to defeat his long-time nemesis in the final of the Men’s Kootenay playdowns on Sunday.
The win automatically qualifies the Horning rink for a trip to the provincial curling title in Parksville in March.
The winning foursome comprised of skip Deane Horning, third Don Freschi, second Rob Nobert, lead Adam Wood, and fifth Kevin Nesbitt went a combined 4-1 over the weekend, but the team put together arguably their best effort in the final match against Buchy.
Brilliant and timely shot-making by Freschi of Trail helped the Horning rink score three in the eighth end to break open a tight 3-3 match and send the former B.C. champs to a 7-5 victory.
“We made some really nice shots in there, and we got a couple doubles, and we popped them for three which is really, really good,” said Freschi.
Buchy third Dave Stephenson came up a little light as he curled around a guard to tap back his yellow.
With two reds guarded in the four foot, one as shot and the other as third stone, Freschi stepped up and threw a laser that sent Buchy’s outside yellow rock careening out of the rings and the other yellow sideways, narrowly slipping between the two reds, to leave the Horning rink counting three. Buchy tried for the double, but only got the one red, leaving Horning a draw for three.
“They are turning points, you get a couple of their rocks out of the house it’s always good for us,” said Freschi.
Buchy was setting up for a big end in the ninth, when Freschi made a third straight double in as many ends to clear out two yellow stones. Horning then made a delicate hit and roll for shot, yet the unflappable Buchy came around and tapped the red rock back for two, to make it 6-5.
Nevertheless, Horning was in perfect shape coming home with hammer. Buchy’s front end set it up well, placing rocks in the 12-foot and a couple long guards. However a Buchy raise was heavy leaving Horning covered and biting the button for shot. Horning put up a guard, leaving Buchy a difficult angle raise. He struck it thin giving Horning the victory.
“Every time we play Tom (Buchy) it’s a good game, he has a great curling team,” added Freschi. “We’ve been tight all the time. Me and Dean (Horning) were talking about that, every time we played it’s been high-scoring games but the last two have been pretty low, but always great games against those guys.”
The Horning rink beat Brian LeMoel’s Trail rink in the first draw 11-3, then took out Nichol 10-8 to send him to the A Event final which he lost to Buchy 5-4. Horning then played Tom Shypitka rink from Creston for the B Event to see who would play Buchy in the first playoff final.
Horning outlasted Shypitka 9-7, sending the Creston rink to the C Event final against the Nichol rink.
Nichol needed three in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead and two more in the tenth for the victory and the 9-7 win.
Buchy however would spoil Nichol’s run, with a 7-2 victory in the page playoff, and will join the Horning rink in the provincial championship.
Horning has been on a B.C. Championship team three times, two with Pat Ryan and once in 2005 skipping his own rink with Nelson’s Fred Thompson as third, Freschi second, Rob Nobert lead, and Grant Fines fifth.
The team is hoping this year will see another return to the dance, as the Tim Horton’s Brier just happens to be hosted by Edmonton, the same city that held the 2005 Brier when Horning’s team finished in fifth spot just out of the playoffs with a 6-5 record.
“In 2005 we’ve been to the brier, we’ve been in the provincials a few times after that and been close, but hopefully this year we put it together and get back. We got the team, and it’s in Edmonton again so maybe that’s a good luck charm,” added Freschi.
The last B.C. Team to win the Brier was Greg McAulay’s team in 2000.