A goal became a reality when the local Wayne Harris rink qualified for the provincial championships at the senior men’s coastal playdowns, held Jan. 13-16 at the Comox Valley Curling Club.
As predicted, the action was intense as 23 teams stocked with curling savvy vied for the four qualifying spots in the four-day event. It was not surprising when former world champion Greg McCaulay won the A event qualifier. But that’s when things got interesting.
After suffering defeat from the local Harris squad, Campbell River’s Dean Thulin rink (Lyle Boyce, Don Pennell, Tom Green) continued a four-game winning streak that carried them through to take the B event spot.
That left two qualifiers in the C event, and team Harris (Richard Tanguay, Alan deJersey, Rick Thomson along with fifth player Stew Larson) had their sights set on one of them.
“After winning the first two we were in a good position in the draw and playing really well,” said Harris. “Then we came up against Richmond’s Sandy Grieg and kind of fell apart.” Their B event game, although a better played game against Stu Harris, proved to be their second loss and put them in the C event.
“We had a goal at the beginning of the year,” said Harris, “and we were confident in our abilities to achieve it.” The training, the practice and the mentoring paid off and they carried on to qualify for the provincial championship in February.
“The first two games in the C were nail biters, both ending with one-point wins and both requiring a total team effort for that winning point. Those games showed some great team character,” Harris said.
In the final, the locals faced Rick Pughe from Vancouver, who had just lost the B final. “I think we got them at a weak moment, and we took a four-ender early on,” Harris said. “We had them on the ropes and kept playing well to not let them back in the game.”
The Harris rink thanked all those that helped out over the competition. Paul Kingan for his organizational skills and countless hours at the club, Ross Radford as chief umpire and Kim Jonsson for computer updates, the numerous volunteer rock plotters, and all those that helped out and showed support.
“The memorable moments for this team will be of glancing up and seeing a wave of clapping hands after a nicely executed shot,” said Harris. “To all the staff at the CVCC, we thank you for your work. To our team mentor, Lindsey Sparkes, well, there is a story in itself. Thank you for your insight, knowledge, compassion and passion for our sport and your willingness to share it with us.”
Harris noted the team has enjoyed corporate help along the way. “We could not have travelled to compete at different clubs against different competitive teams without our sponsors help. Thank you to Denis of DSJ Electric and Colonial Countertops for sharing our goal and believing in us.”