It’s a long way from St. John’s, NL, to sunny Richmond, B.C., so skip Paul Harvey figures he might as well make the most of his time at the Dominion Curling Club Championship.
Harvey certainly made the most of his time Thursday as he created a buzz among the fans at the Richmond Curling Club by shocking previously undefeated Brad Bibby of Saskatchewan 7-3 in one of several key matchups in the morning men’s draw.
The victory vaulted the boys from The Rock up in the Blue Pool standings with a 3-1 record and right in the mix for a playoff spot.
The loss, on the other hand, dropped Bibby’s Prince Albert-based squad to 4-1 in the Blue Pool, and gave them something to think about later as they sat out the afternoon draw with the bye.
Bibby’s loss also meant that Ontario’s Greg Balsdon was the only undefeated team left in the two-pool, 14-team rockfest. Balsdon, who leads the Blue Pool with a perfect 4-0 mark, enjoyed the morning bye, but will be back in action with his team from Richmond Hill in the afternoon men’s draw.
Harvey, meanwhile, was delighted with his performance. He led 3-1 after four ends, but a huge steal of two in the fifth end blew the game wide open.
“That’s was a big win for us,” said Harvey, who is supported in Richmond by third Steve Bragg, second Mike Morrissey and lead Brian Noseworthy. “We looked at it as a championship game for us, because if we didn’t win it, Saskatchewan and Ontario would be kind of out of our reach. We realized how important this game was.”
Harvey says that there’s still plenty of work to do.
“We still have two big games against Quebec and P.E.I. to deal with,” he said. “There’s a great parity among the teams here so any team can beat anybody.”
There was much excitement in the Grey Pool, too, but not for the host team from British Columbia. Dwight Hodder, looking to push his Ashcroft team further up the standings for the home crowd suffered a 6-4 extra-end loss to Yukon’s Scott Hamilton, who improved to an impressive 3-2 mark. Hodder, meanwhile, dropped to 2-2 but still in the hunt.
They Grey Pool leaders, however, are from Manitoba. Winnipeg’s Barry Mandryk, who suffered the first blemish on his record on Wednesday, rebounded nicely Thursday with a 7-4 win over New Brunswick’s Barry Lewis. The win improved the Manitobans to 4-1, and vaulted them to the head of the pack, one game ahead of Alberta’s Wade Thurber of Red Deer. Thurber is 3-1 but had the morning bye. He can climb back into a tie with Mandryk in the afternoon draw as the Manitobans sit out the bye.
In other key game, Prince Edward Island skip Donald Clarey saw his team’s playoff chances slip in the Blue Pool after being upset by previously winless Nova Scotia. Andrew Atherton skipped his Bluenosers to a convincing 7-4 win, dropping the Spud Islanders to a 2-2 record.
Meanwhile, in a battle of winless teams Thursday, Nunavet’s Ed Sattelberger cracked five in the first end en route to a 12-4 win over Quebec’s John Monroe in the Blue Pool. It was Sattelberger’s first win after four straight losses. Monroe, from Quebec City, and Mel Sittichinli crew from the Inuvik Curling Club, are still looking for their first wins in the competition. Sittichinli dropped his Grey Pool game 7-4 to Northern Ontario’s Dale Dubinski from Kakabeka Falls. Dubinsky improved to 2-2.
The men continue play with a second draw Thursday.
Round-robin play continues until Friday, with the finals set for Saturday afternoon.
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 over 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.