PORT McNEILL—On a day in which the hammer had surprisingly little striking power, Courtenay skip Michele Haider figured out a winning strategy in the annual Broughton Curling Club mixed open bonspiel in Port McNeill Sunday.
She left the hammer in her pocket.
Tied 4-4 with Port Hardy skip John Maday after Maday’s steal in the seventh end — the fifth end of the match decided by a steal — Haider employed a key takeout with her first stone of the eighth and final end to array three scoring rocks in the house. Maday nearly executed a tricky takeout-roll combination with his final stone, but left Haider shot with the clinching point. The visiting skip was happy to bypass her final rock’s handle in favour of handshakes for the 5-4 victory.
“I think in the last end the key was clearing out (Maday’s) guard and leaving the house open,” said Haider, the only skip in the bonspiel not representing Broughton or Port Hardy’s Fort Rupert curling clubs. “It certainly was exciting.”
Maday, who scored single-point steals in the first two ends before Haider finally parlayed her hammer into a single in the third, said the turning point probably came in the sixth end, when he rubbed a guard while drawing for two points and instead settled for a single and a 4-3 deficit going into the seventh end.
“I think if I could have gotten two there, it might have played out differently, with the steal in seven,” he said. “It was really fun, though; I like it when games are tight like that.”
Only one end scored more than a single point, when Haider managed a two-rock steal in the fourth end to take her first lead at 3-2. She added another steal in the fifth before Maday mounted his comeback with teammates Meagan Cadwallader, Harry Pfrimmer and Naomi Stead.
Haider curled with Sylvia Mossey and the father-son duo of Tom and Tyler Summerville.
“That was a wicked final,” Tyler Summerville said.
The local club was shut out of the Black Bear Resort/Windsor Plywood A final, but filled the remaining slots in Sunday’s final session.
Doug Parke outdueled fellow Port McNeill skip Lee Mitchell in the Shoprite/Rona B final, which also was marked by its steals. Parke opened the match with a two-point steal and, after Mitchell clawed back to knot the score 3-3 with a point in the fifth, turned a key steal in the seventh to carry a two-rock lead into the eighth. Parke was then able to plant several stones in the house in the eighth, and ran Mitchell out of rocks to earn handshakes with an 8-3 lead.
Parke’s rink included Cynthia Lu, Nick Russell and Katherine Pelkey. Mitchell curled with wife Kathy, Dick Wheeldon and Maggie Cessford.
In the Timberland Sports C final, Tom Baker scored in every way possible to run off to a 9-0 win over Port McNeill rival Jacques Gaudet in a match that required just four ends. Baker netted two points in the opening end with the hammer, then stole three in the second and two each in the third and fourth ends to force the early finish.
It was a rematch of last year’s C final here, also won by Baker, 10-4.
Baker was joined by his wife Kathy in their first mixed play of the season, along with Ed and Tammy Symons. Gaudet curled with Helen Gurney, Stuart Galbraith and Heather Brown.