Prince Edward Island, skipped by Robert Campbell of Charlottetown, captured the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship Saturday in Morris, defeating Manitoba in a squeaker, 4-3.
For Campbell, it was his second Mixed title, after winning the 1989 renewal in Brandon, coincidentally the last time Manitoba had hosted the championship.
Campbell becomes the seventh skip to win the Mixed twice, behind only three-time winner, Larry McGrath of Saskatchewan, but he’s the first skip to win Mixed titles so many years apart…21.
It was the first Canadian Mixed title for third Rebecca Jean MacPhee, second Robbie Doherty and lead Jackie Reid.
It was also Prince Edward Island’s third crown since The Mixed began in 1964 in Toronto. Skip Peter Gallant won his province’s first title in 1987.
As the top ranked team in the round robin with a 10-1 mark, Prince Edward Island had earned a bye to today’s final. Its only loss had come at the hands of Manitoba, an 8-5 decision in Draw 5.
Meanwhile, Manitoba had clawed its way out of a three-way tie for third to reach the final, first beating Ontario in the second tiebreaker Friday night for third place, then dusting Nova Scotia, 8-3 Saturday morning, in the semi-final.
Today’s championship final proved a battle, as the ‘Islanders’ opened with a single in the second and a steal of one in the third for a 2-0 lead. But Manitoba cut the deficit to 2-1 with a single in the fifth end.
Then, after a blanked sixth, Campbell counted one in the seventh for a 3-1 advantage. However, the host province wouldn’t quit, as Terry McNamee of Hamiota responded with one in the eighth, then a steal of one in the ninth, to square the match at three coming home.
But Campbell’s team was up to the task and McNamee was unable to remove a buried PEI counter with his final rock, so Campbell didn’t have to throw his last stone.
“Rebecca Jean made a raise back,” said the 44-year-old Campbell. “We had one buried in the top four. He (McNamee) tried a double runback and just missed, so I didn’t have to throw the last one, fortunately.
“They (Manitoba) played really well all week long. They were one of the top teams , definitely. The first time we met them, the game could have gone either way. I didn’t trust my in-turn all week. But the chance for redemption (today) was great.
“I forgot all about it (World Mixed Doubles) ,” laughed Campbell, when reminded about the fact that two players from the winning team will now represent Canada at the 2011 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, April 15-24 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Campbell, who had been out-curled percentage-wise by McNamee for most of the contest, eventually emerged with a slight edge, 75%-74%, although Manitoba held a 78%-75% team margin.