Colin Hunko closely watches the line of an approaching rock while rival skip Barry Evans looks over his shoulder during the C Final of the Bill Gurney Memorial Men's Open Bonspiel Sunday at Broughton Curling Club in Port McNeill.

Forester wins inaugural Bill Gurney Memorial bonspiel

PORT McNEILL-Longtime competitor from Nanaimo wins second A final in annual Broughton Curling Club men's open event

PORT McNEILL—Jim Forrester has been traveling from Nanaimo to compete in the Broughton Curling Club’s men’s open bonspiel for most of the 34 years it has been held, and skipped his rink to the bonspiel title in 2002

But Forrester admitted Sunday’s A final victory over the Port McNeill rink of Keith Balcke was particularly special, coming as it did in the first men’s open dedicated to the memory of longtime club member, volunteer and promoter Bill Gurney, who died earlier this year.

“I’ve been coming here for 30-some years,” said Forrester. “Bill and I had a lot of beers together. A lot of memories. This was awesome.”

Forrester’s rink included a fellow Broughton clubmate of Gurney’s, Doug Parke, along with Nanaimo curlers Keith Clarke and Ferdy Hobson.

The quartet quickly grabbed control of the final, snaring two points in the opening end and, after a scoreless second, three more in the third for a commanding 5-0 lead.

Balcke managed single points in the fourth and fifth ends to generate hopes of a comeback, but Forrester picked up singles in the sixth and seventh ends and drew handshakes when Balcke’s group, trailing 7-2, ran out of stones in the eighth.

Balcke’s father, Mike, fared better in the B final, winning without ever throwing a stone. Opponent Brad Zealand of Port Hardy’s Fort Rupert Curling Club was a no-show for the 11 a.m. start time. He and his mates arrived shortly before 1 p.m., after Forrester had retired to the lounge with his victory and as the C final was entering its final end.

“I thought it seemed too good to be true to have a 1 o’clock game; I just didn’t think to second-guess it,” said Zealand, who relied on the word of a teammate who checked the schedule before they departed Saturday night.

Mike Balcke’s rink included longtime partner Lee Mitchell, Bill Cessford and son Richard Balcke.

The C final pit Fort Rupert rivals Colin Hunko and Barry Foster in a see-saw match that came down to the next-to-last rock.

After the rinks traded single points through the first four ends, Evans notched a two-pointer in the fifth and added a point in the sixth for a 5-2 edge. Hunko parlayed his hammer in the seventh into a two-point pickup to make it 5-4 going into the eighth and final end, but his shot a the button with his final stone ran a bit too hot through the house and allowed Evans to pocket his hammer.

Evans was joined by third Brent Borg and the father-son sweeper tandem of Luke and Graeme Wiggins.

At Saturday’s dinner, the first Bill Gurney Memorial Sportsmanship trophy was awarded in a vote of the players to the Port Hardy rink of Dave Bjornson, which included Dennis Brown, Roy Chisholm and Lou Lepins.

 

Bill Gurney Memorial Men’s Open Bonspiel

At Broughton Curling Club

Dec. 2-4

A Bracket

Bjornson bye; Conley d. Janusz; K. Balcke d. May; Brad Aitken d. Zealand; Brent Aitken d. Forsberg; Hunko d. Symons; Forrester d. M. Balcke; Evans d. Baker.

Quarterfinals — Conley d. Bjornson; K. Balcke d. Brad Aitken; Brent Aitken d. Hunko; Forrester d. Evans. Semifinals — K. Balcke d. Conley; Forrester d. Brent Aitken.

Final — Forrester 7, K. Balcke 2. Third: Brent Aitken.

B Bracket

Quarterfinals — Bjornson d. May; M. Balcke d. Baker; Symons d. Forsberg; Zealand d. Janusz. Semifinals — M. Balcke d. Bjornson; Zealand d. Symons.

Final — M. Balcke d. Zealand, forfeit. Third: Bjornson.

C Bracket

Quarterfinals — Brad Aitken d. Forsberg; Hunko d. Janusz; Baker d. Conley; Evans d. May. Semifinals — Hunko d. Brad Aitken; Evans d. Baker.

Final — Evans 7, Hunko 4. Third: Baker.

 

Just Posted

Climate change panel hosted at North Island Secondary School

The panel focused on combating fear, finding solutions, and encouraging youth.

People’s Party of Canada plan to have a candidate in the North Island-Powell River riding

Elections Canada formally recognized the North Island—Powell River PPC Association

NVIATS takes over NIEFS space in Thunderbird Mall

“We were approached by NIEFS, they’re going to be downsizing”

Port Hardy Reigns compete in Nanaimo at Island Championships

“We are very fortunate to have this opportunity for our youth in Port Hardy”

Derina Harvey Band – Heartfelt, Energetic, Celtic rock comes to Port Hardy

Front-woman Derina Harvey leads this Celtic-rock act, who offer an authentic east-coast experience.

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

B.C. woman pleads for people to stop stealing daffodils meant to honour cancer victims

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Most Read