Simmons takes Saskatchewan for the fifth time
Veteran Pat Simmons will make his fifth Tim Hortons Brier appearance, when the Canadian men’s curling championship gets underway at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario on March 5. Simmons captured the SaskTel Men’s Tankard Sunday, February 6 in North Battleford, defeating Carl deConinck Smith, 8-6 in the final.Simmons, who will throw fourth rocks, along with official skip Steve Laycock (third rocks), second Brennen Jones and lead Dallan Muyres, had won the A vs B Page Playoff Saturday, 6-2 between the two, to advance to the final. The deConinck Smith team from Rosetown, winners of the ‘A’ final, 7-6 over Scott Bitz, rebounded by winning the semi-final over Shawn Joyce Sunday morning, 8-3 to advance to a rematch with Simmons. Joyce had won the C playoff over Regina’s Brad Law, 9-6 to earn a berth in the semi-final. Simmons skipped Saskatchewan at four previous Briers, 2005 through 2008, the latter when finishing a tough-luck third to Alberta’s Kevin Martin. Laycock, the 2003 Canadian and world junior champion, played lead for Simmons in 2007 and 2008, will now make his third Brier appearance, but first as skip, as the team will represent the Tartan Curling Club in Regina. Jones and Muyres will be making their Brier debuts, but teamed, as skip and lead, respectively, for Saskatchewan at the 2008 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Sault Ste. Marie, finishing fourth. Jones also played third for skip Mitch Heidt at the 2006 Canadian Juniors. Saskatchewan has won seven Briers, but the last victory was way back in 1980, courtesy of Rick Folk.