PORT HARDY—If last weekend’s Fort Rupert Curling Club mixed open bonspiel had been scripted by a Hollywood director, it would have been an Alfred Hitchcock production.
Suspense was the order of the day, on both days.
“Every game we played in came down to the last shot,” Port Hardy skip Mike McCulley said. “In fact, every game I’ve seen here looks like it’s been close.”
That trend carried right into Sunday afternoon’s finals.
Doug McCorquodale outdueled fellow Port Hardy skip John Maday to claim an A final that came down to the last rock.
McCorquodale’s rink included Shelley Frost, Kyle Jackson and Carly Perkovich, which fill-in assistance from Kristen Ireton.
Maday was teamed with Meghan Cadwallader and Mike and Naomi Stead.
The B Final went to Port Hardy’s Bill Gray, who edged Port McNeill’s Keith Balcke.
Gray’s rink included his wife Ann, Mickey Walker and Carolyn Webb; Balcke was joined by Jessica Garrick, Bert Forsberg and Eva Perrot.
The C final pit a pair of veteran Port Hardy skips, and Dave Bjornson prevailed over Steve Janusz for the title.
Bjornson’s rink included Debbie Zealand, John McDonald and Verna Carlson, while Janusz brought together a far-flung group including Helen Haney of Port Alice, Newfoundlander John Jim and Christine Wigard of Port Hardy.
Rob Paterson of Port Hardy held off Audie Tamburini, Port Alice’s entry into the bonspiel, to win the D final.
Paterson’s rink included Muffy Jones and Nigel and Helen Parr. Tamburini was teamed with his wife Sandy and the husband-wife duo of Bill and Terressa Cliff.
Just getting into the finals proved a white-knuckle exercise for the participants.
Janusz trailed McCulley by two rocks going into the eighth and final end of their semifinal. Janusz snared a pair to tie the game, then won in a mini end tiebreaker.
On the next sheet over, Gray entered the final end tied 7-7 with rival skip Hank Bood before picking up the winner to advance in the C bracket.
Tamburini survived a wild, see-saw match with Port McNeill’s Tom Baker to advance to the D final.
Tamburini’s rink rolled to a 4-0 lead through three ends, promptly fell behind 6-4 through six, then posted a three-spot to regain the lead 7-6 entering the final end.
With Baker holding the hammer, Tamburini then stole the final point for an 8-6 win.
Brent Borg had no such luck in the thievery department. Borg led Bjornson 7-6 entering the eighth end of their semifinal, but Bjornson parlayed his hammer into a two-point pickup to advance.
Still, Borg’s longtime playing partner Barry Evans was pleased with his rink’s showing after breaking in two new women, Amber McKenzie and Victoria Estrada.
“It’s the first time they’ve ever curled,” Evans said of the ladies. “And we still went 2 and 2. They did a great job.”
As she prepared to take the ice with the Bjornson rink in the C final, Carlson identified the reason for all the razor-close finishes.
“We’re all equally amateurs,” she said.”