The third time was the charm for skip Carey Sulz and his rinkmates at Parksville Curling Club Sunday.
Scoring early and often, the hometown squad cruised to the championship of the annual Parksville Men’s Open Bonspiel with a decisive, 8-2 victory over the four-time defending champion Dale Hockley rink of Chilliwack.
Curling in the A final with third Chris Mohr, second Greg Peachey and lead Bob Hirschfield, Sulz rolled out a four-point first end, then tacked on four more in the third to build the 8-2 win and force handshakes following Hockley’s final rock in the fourth end of the scheduled eight-end final.
It was the third straight year the teams had squared off in the bonspiel, with Hockley besting Sulz in the A final two years ago and winning again in the semifinals en route to last year’s title.
“All our matches have been close, and I was expecting more of the same,” said Sulz, who has curled with the same teammates for more than 20 years. “We were solid, but (Hockley) didn’t play so good. They just were off today.”
Big — and lopsided — scores were the order of the day in Sunday’s finals of the Dec. 1-3 bonspiel, which drew 26 teams and 104 curlers.
The biggest number came from Ron Schmidt’s Comox Valley rink, which scored an elusive “Eight-ender,” putting all eight of its stones in the house in Sunday’s D final. The eight-ender came in the second end and turned an early 2-0 deficit into an instant 8-2 lead. Schmidt and rinkmates Dan Brennan, Mike Meeres and Darren Richards went on to a 9-4 victory in a match shortened to four ends.
The eight-ender was nearly Schmidt’s second of the bonspiel. In the opening end of the team’s first match Friday, he had an opportunity to lay up for a safe four-point pickup, or try to thread the needle and go for an eight-ender on a tricky shot. He and his teammates didn’t hesitate going after the big score, but it backfired when his shot was a shade heavy and opened the door for the opponents to snare a one-point steal. “You have to go for it,” Schmidt said with a grin.
Parksville’s David Sakai parlayed a three-point fifth end into the B division title with a comfortable 7-3 victory over Duncan’s Keith Ainsley, another final cut short when Ainsley offered handshakes after scoring a single point in the sixth. Sakai threw final stones in a co-skip effort with Tom Freeman, who called the shots for a hometown rink that included second Warren Gionet and lead Scott MacDonald.
Leading 7-2 through five ends, the Sakai-Freeman rink was actually sitting on a five-point steal in the sixth before Ainsley executed a sparkling carom with his final rock, nudging a guard stone through a gap and to the button for a one-point pickup. But faced with the prospect of handing Sakai the hammer with two ends to go, Ainsley elected to call it a weekend.
The C final went to Cowichan Valley’s Randy Zinkiew, with Scott MacDonald , Scott West and Brent Anderson, with a 7-1 win in five ends over Parksville’s Team Myroniuk.
The event sponsors included Thrifty Foods, McIntosh Norton Williams, Bekins Moving & Storage and Jim and Margo Hoffman of Royal LePage.