Parksville wins a return of the provincials

The Jim Cotter rink out of Kelowna, captured its second straight BC Men’s Curling championship Sunday night in Parksville. - James Clarke Photo
The Jim Cotter rink out of Kelowna, captured its second straight BC Men’s Curling championship Sunday night in Parksville.
— image credit: James Clarke Photo

Team Cotter punched their return ticket to the Brier down at Parksville Curling Club on Sunday, by way of an exciting 6-5 win over Team Pierce, and local organizers did such a bang-up job hosting the event that Curl BC has agreed to let Parksville host it again next year.

An event-high 16-teams took to the ice at the Parksville Curling Club last week (Feb. 8-12) for the 2012 BC Men’s Curling Championship, all vying for the single berth into Canada’s national men’s final to be played out in Saskatoon.

Sunday’s final pitted Royal City skip Brent Pierce against defending BC Men’s champion Jim Cotter out of Kelowna

This one was a chess match from start to finish, punctuated by some outstanding shot-making, and in the end, Team Pierce saw their season come and end in a nail-biter that came down to the final shot.

Pierce, who had the hammer as the A Event winner, counted one in the first end to go up 1-0, and Cotter countered with one of his own in the third. Cotter scored one in the fourth end to go up 2-1, and Pierce tied it 2-2 with one in the fifth. Cotter scored two in the sixth to go up 4-2, and Pierce knotted it at 4-4 in the  seventh with two of his own.

Pierce counted one in the eighth end to go up 5-4, and Cotter was counting two for a 6-5 lead and the win in the ninth when Pierce and his team called a time out to talk strategy.

Pierce had two options: draw the four foot for the tie, or play the angle take-out for the win.

Pierce opted for the takeout, and missed by inches. It was a gut-wrenching loss for the rink out of New Westminster. Pierce’s lead Grant Duzura fired his broom from the house towards his duffle bag in disgust as their season came to an end.

The team took it hard.

“Excellent game,” PCC president Jim Hoffman said Monday.

“For the pressure they were under it was a fantastic finish. I would have bet money that (Pierce) would go for the draw and the tie to force the extra end, but he went for it and missed. He’ll be back next year, though. Without a doubt.”

“It was a tough game,” Kelowna skip Jim Cotter surmised after. “We knew it was going to come down to the wire. They’re a great team.”

“I don’t know,” Jim shrugged easily in between other curlers coming up and congratulating him when asked if he would have played the take-out.

“It’s a tough call. It’s a feel shot; one day I may play it, one day I may draw.

“At the end of the day you have to make your shots, and one thing about these guys,” he offered as he looked over towards his teammates, “is they’re very resilient.

“Great teammates, and a great coach,” he said of two-time world champion Rick Folk, who he said has been “a real calming influence.”

Folk himself had great things to say about the host club, about the atmosphere and the excellent ice, and agreed the final was a doozy.

“It was anybody’s game; there were a lot of good shots, and some mistakes by both teams,” he said.

Asked what he would have done in that instance Folk said he would have probably called for the draw, but made the point, “it was all or nothing ... that’s not the wrong call at all.

“Fifty per cent of the time he makes that shot, so we were fortunate today.”

“It’s good curling — really good,” confirmed Neil Watson, an investment advisor with Dundee Wealth and one of the founding members of PCC. He was the MC at the local club’s official opening back in 2003.

“Really well organized,” he said of the big ‘spiel adding, “we’ve had really good feedback on our support and we’re looking forward to doing it again.”

Watching on Sunday with his Grandma and clearly into the curling was Ben Meldrum, who at 12, and a regular curler in Qualicum Beach, was not only one of the youngest fans on hand Sunday, but quite possibly the face of the future of the sport. He said he has seen “lots of good shots.” Asked if he learned anything watching the men, Ben paused for a second and summed it up with a succinct, “I learned how much ice I need.”

PCC manager Allan McAskile was in his element and duly pleased with how it all panned out.

“It’s been great. The crowds have been wonderful and the competition’s been great. Our volunteers, all 200 or so of them, have really done a great job and I’ve also talked to a number of curlers and they all love the ice, they say it’s some of the best ice they’ve ever curled on.”

After the medals had been handed out and the hardware handed over Bonspiel chair and PCC member Penny Shantz made it official when she announced the BC Men’s Curling Championship, “will be back in Parksville next year.”


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