The 2019 BC Senior Curling Championships crowned its champions on Sunday at the Trail Curling Club.
The Marilou Richter team from Penticton-Kelowna, with Dawn Everest third, Cindy Curtain second, and Deirdre Riley lead, went undefeated, closing out the tournament with a 6-4 victory over Team Sheila Cowan in the women’s final to claim gold.
“It feels unbelievable,” said skip Richter. “I’m still numb. It was a really stressful last couple rocks there and not having hammer in the eighth is always a little dicey but everyone played so hard. Kudos to Sheila’s team they played well.”
On the Men’s side, the highly touted Wes Craig and Craig Lepine teams met in the final and didn’t leave anyone disappointed, delivering an extra-end thriller to decide the winner.
“I’ve played Craig (Lepine) so many times,” said Wes. “I played him in the final last year. So it’s great (to win), it’s a whole new team I have this year, and they played well. Everything went well except for the first game when we lost to Craig.”
For Richter, the key moment in her final match came in the fourth end, when Cowan was counting two with rocks side-by-side and buried on the button. Somehow skip Marilou Richter found a path and ran her own rock onto the two red stones, moving them just enough to score two and take a 4-1 lead.
However, Cowan battled back scoring two in the fifth end, and tying the game with a steal on a measurement in the sixth. Richter scored one in the seventh, and when Cowan was unable to move Richter’s shot-rock off the button on her final stone, stole the eighth for the victory.
“We got a nice deuce in four and I always like to have hammer in the sixth and eighth ends,” said Richter. “You always try to build that way, we just didn’t get the measurement in the sixth end. That was fine, there’s some stats that say if you’re one up after seven you have a pretty good chance of winning, so I was happy we got our one to go up and then just make it as hard as we could on them to get their one or their two to win.”
The Wes Craig team, with Steve Waatainen third, Craig Burton second, and Keith Clarke lead, lost to Lepine in the opening match, 4-3, following a circus shot by skip Lepine on his final rock.
It was Wes Craig’s turn this time. Down 4-2 in the eighth, Craig found a port and bumped his own rock into the four-foot to knock out Lepine’s stone, score two, and force the extra end.
“In the eighth end we were in all sorts of trouble, but Steve set us up by leaving us laying two, and then I knew at least I have a shot for the tie by Steve getting one of the yellows out,” said Wes. “A great shot by Steve, then I made a good shot to follow.”
In the ninth, perfect rocks from third Waatainen buried a stone on the back of the four-foot. Skip Craig followed with a great shot on his final stone, making a draw around a Lepine guard to the button to sit two. Lepine was left a tough run-back double take-out for the win, and was thin on the hit, as the raised rock jammed the shot-rock onto the second Craig stone and Lepine’s rolled just out of the four-foot for a thrilling 5-4 Team Craig victory.
The BC Senior Men’s title is Craig’s fourth (2010, 2014, 2015, 2019) but the first for his teammates, while Lepine has won it three times (2013, 2017, 2018).
“There’s a rivalry, but it’s friendly,” said Wes. “We really get along well. This is our fifth time in a BC final because we’ve also played mixed against him too. So he’s up 3-to-2 on me.”
Four teams were tied after the round robin at 5-2 with Lepine earning the first seed by virtue of a collective measurement on draws to the button during the round robin.
Craig had to take the long road to the final, playing a tie-breaker against Team Doug Marshall before advancing to the semifinal against the Castlegar/Trail team skipped by Bill van Yzerloo, the second seed, who had beaten Craig in the round robin.
Team van Yzerloo with Myron Nichol third, Alex Coutts second, and Richard Faunt lead, battled back from a 5-3 deficit to score one in the seventh and steal one in eight to force the extra frame. But the Craig foursome, with the hammer, scored one in the ninth end for the 6-5 victory.
“I’ve been in four of these events in the last five, and these guys always seem to be in the finals,” said van Yzerloo. “We were really looking forward to maybe changing that combination and we came close. But those guys are great, Lepine won both the seniors and masters last year, so hey, just to compete with those guys and be as close as we are is a pretty good feeling.”
In the women’s event, Richter went through the round robin 7-0 for her first BC title, while Team Cowan, 5-2, defeated Chilliwack’s Lisa Deputan 6-3 in the semifinal.
Both van Yzerloo and Deputan earned the bronze medal. The Women’s Castlegar/Trail/Christina Lake team skipped by Heather Nichol, third Marnie Matthews, second Lee Bedard and lead Joyce Maloff, went 2-5.
Thanks to the support of many volunteers, the Trail Curling Association, co-chaired by Sandra Stadjuhar and Faunt, put on an impressive and successful event, which was roundly lauded and appreciated by competitors, officials, and spectators.
“Everyone did a fantastic job,” said Richter. “The ice was beautiful and consistent, it was the cleanest ice I’ve ever played on, and the volunteers were great, just everything was top notch.”
The Richter and Craig teams will head to Chilliwack for the 2019 Canadian Senior Curling Championship, Mar. 22-28.\