Dwight Hodder wasn’t about to get pushed around in his home province of British Columbia for too long at the Dominion Curling Championship in Richmond.
The B.C. skip, who split his opening two games at the Richmond Curling Club, knocked off previously unbeaten Wade Thurber of Alberta 6-2 Wednesday evening to climb right back into the fight for the club curling championship of Canada.
The Albertans, who were cruising along with a spiffy 3-0 record until they clashed with Hodder, fell to 3-1 and into a tie with Manitoba’s Barry Mandryk atop the Grey Pool standings. Mandryk, out of the Assiniboine-Memorial Club in Winnipeg, who lost his first game earlier in the day, zapped Mel Sittichinli of the Territories 7-3 to climb back into the lead with Alberta.
Hodder’s victory lifted him to 2-1 and one game back of the Grey Pool leaders.
Meanwhile, Ontario and Saskatchewan kept up their torrid pace, winning both their games Wednesday to remain atop the Blue Pool standings with 4-0 records.
Ontario’s Greg Balsdon of Richmond Hill hammered Quebec City’s John Monroe 11-2 and Saskatchewan’s Brad Bibby of Prince Albert thumped previously undefeated Donald Clarey of Prince Edward Island 7-2 in the late draw to remain the only unbeaten teams in the men’s competition.
Balsdon, who competes on the World Curling Tour, put on a clinic and made a sensational ‘in-off” takeout for five in the fourth end to take an 8-1 lead.
Clarey remained within shouting distance of the Blue Pool leaders with a 2-1 record, along with Paul Harvey of Newfoundland-Labrador, who downed Nunavet’s Ed Sattelberger 6-5. Harvey dropped his first game in the early draw, falling 8-5 to Ontario.
But it was Hodder who was the story of the late draw, only because he had a big rootin’ section behind the glass. And it didn’t hurt that he knocked off the previously high-flying Albertans.
“We had a big cheering section,” said Hodder. “It was a big part of helping us get the win tonight. The support definitely helps to keep you going.
“The boys were all shootin’ good today, and we seemed to have better control of our weight.”
Hodder knew the consequences of a loss.
“We thought this game could be our turning point,” he said.
Yukon’s Scott Hamilton continued his impressive play and improved his record to 2-2 in the Grey Pool with a 5-4 win over New Brunswick’s Barry Lewis in the other men’s draw Wednesday night.
The top two teams in each pool qualify for the playoffs, with the semifinals and final on Saturday. Round-robin play continues until Friday.
The Dominion Curling Club Championship is Canada’s first national championship for men’s and women’s curling teams at the club level. The event is fully funded and operated by The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company. The Dominion is a proud supporter of curling across Canada and has been a strong supporter of the Canadian Paraplegic Association for more than 13 years. Canadian owned and operated since 1887, today The Dominion is one of the country’s largest home, car and business insurers. Get to know The Dominion by visiting thedominion.ca.