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Manitoba still leads at Mixed

Despite suffering its first loss of the week, Manitoba, skipped by Terry McNamee of Hamiota, still leads the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship through Tuesday at the Morris Curling Club.

Manitoba's Terry McNamee at the 2011 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship

After being shocked, 8-3, by previously winless Quebec (Simon Hébert of St-Romuald), Manitoba returned to the winner’s circle with a 9-2 pounding of Newfoundland/Labrador, to retain first place with a 6-1 mark.

However, breathing down its back are Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, both at 5-1.   Prince Edward Island, skipped by 1989 Mixed champion and Brier veteran Robert Campbell of Charlottetown, edged Ontario (Chris Gardner of Arnprior), 7-6, before besting New Brunswick (Charlie Sullivan of Saint John), 9-6.

Nova Scotia, directed by two-time (1999, 2003) Mixed champion Paul Flemming of Halifax, also won a pair on Tuesday, 12-6 over Alberta (Tim Krassman of Medicine Hat) and 9-1 over Quebec.  Flemming is seeking to join Saskatchewan’s Larry McGrath as the only skips to win  the Mixed on three occasions.  McGrath won in 1967, 1968 and 1971.

Deadlocked at 5-2 are Ontario and New Brunswick.  Alberta is at 3-3, followed by Northwest Territories/Yukon (Steve Moss of Yellowknife), Northern Ontario (Craig Kochan of Thunder Bay) and British Columbia (Tom Buchy of Kimberley) at 2-4, Quebec and Saskatchewan (Steven Slupski of Moose Jaw) at 1-5, with Newfoundland/Labrador (Gary Wensman of Labrador City) at 1-6.

Play continues with three draws on Wednesday and Thursday.   After the final draw of the round robin on Friday morning, the first place team advances directly to Saturday’s final, while the second and third place teams meet in a semi-final following any required tiebreakers.

Alberta leads all provinces with nine Mixed titles since the championship began in 1964 in Toronto.  Manitoba has won eight Mixed crowns, the latest by Winnipeg’s Sean Grassie two years ago when The Mixed was staged in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Prince Edward Island has two wins, the last by Campbell in 1989 in Brandon, while Nova Scotia, with seven titles overall, is the defending champion, having won last season in Burlington with skip Mark Dacey.