Team Marshall hates to play in the morning.
The curling quartet of skip Jackson Marshall, Mack Ellis, Troy Cowan and Duncan Gallop all agreed they love to sleep in but when they compete, they have no choice as they are beholden to the schedule which at times requires them to play early-morning games.
Surprisingly, that’s when they play their best, according to coach Kelly Meikle.
“They have come to realize that if they have to get out of bed early, they have to play to win,” said Meikle. “And they play really well in the morning.”
Duncan/Parksville’s Team Marshall has been playing together for two years.
This season they made a major breakthrough when they earned a spot in the the prestigious 2019 B.C. Junior Curling Championships. They achieved the milestone when they finished first in the A event of the junior open playdowns that took place at Ashcroft Curling Club.
To secure their playoff spot in the provincials that will take place in Vernon from Dec. 27 to Jan. 1, Team Marshall had to endure a 19-hour, 22-minute trip to Ashcroft.
It was crucial that they win right off the bat, said Meikle.
“We would have played more and stayed longer had we lost a game but we won both our games and we were out of there in a flash, that’s why we were only their for 19 hours,” quipped Meikle, who added that making it to the provincials is already a “huge” accomplishment for this team.
“We wanted it pretty bad,” said Cowan. “We are definitely happy to win it because last year we missed out by so little. This year it’s so nice to just get that spot.”
The only player in the team that has never made it to any provincial competition is Ellis. Marshall, Cowan and Gallop have all played in the provincials but at a different age group. This will be the first time for Team Marshall.
Hardwork, said Gallop, has been the key to their success.
“It’s paid off finally,” said Gallop.
Marshall, the leader of the team, said he did his best to rein them in on certain occasions to keep them focused.
“At the end it felt great,” said Marshall.
Ellis relished the win the most because he has never competed at the provincial level.
He’s been constantly teased about it by his teammates.
“They’ve been calling me the unlucky one because they’ve all been to provincials and we had a couple of years that we didn’t make it,” said Ellis.
“So it’s definitely pretty relieving to get there. It will be a pretty cool experience.”
Team Marshall will pit their skills against the best in the province that includes the current world junior champion, Team Tardi who they will face in their second game in Vernon.
“I know they can beat them,” said Meikle as she has been coaching them for almost four years. “Our boys play well in the morning and we face Tardi in the morning. This year we haven’t lost a game first thing in the morning.”
Team Marshall has set a modest goal of finishing in the top three.
“Our main goal is to win obviously but we’d be really happy to be in the top three,” said Cowan.
The provincial winner advances to the Canadian Junior Curling Championships.