PORT McNEILL—While watching John Bramham’s rink fall behind 6-1 in the early stages of the Broughton Curling Club mixed bonspiel A final Sunday, Bill Cessford was moved to comment.
“It looks like they’re using the same strategy we used all weekend,” said Cessford. “Get behind by five rocks and hope for the best.”
The efficacy of that strategy was amply illustrated by the fact Cessford and his rink were watching the finals from the club’s upstairs lounge. And it didn’t work any better for Bramham.
Nick Russell skipped his squad to the big early lead in the A final, then executed a key double takeout in the sixth end to lock down the bonspiel title with a 9-2 romp.
Russell, who does not regularly curl on a mixed team, was joined by Brenda Drummond, Bert Forsberg and Colleen Broekhuizen in a rink thrown together for the weekend. And he was quick to share credit after the quartet ran the table on the 15-team field over three days of competition.
“The main thing was we figured out the ice, and then kept it simple,” said Russell. “Colleen, all weekend, was bang-on with her guards. I don’t think anybody missed on both their shots all weekend.”
Bramham, who curled with regular mixed teammates Bonnie Bramham and Jeff Hamilton and club regular Laurie Richards, a pickup for the weekend, had a similar run until the final. But that run ran out of steam against Russell’s juggernaut.
“It was awesome. We had good luck all weekend,” said John Bramham. “But when you’re playing against a team with Nick and Bert and Brenda, wow.”
Lee and Kathy Mitchell of Port McNeill snared the B title with a 6-4 win over Port Hardy’s Rob Paterson. The Mitchells, paired with Dick Wheeldon and Maggie Cessford, crafted a 6-2 lead through five ends before Paterson, Muffy Jones, Nigel Parr and Babe Gray, managed single stones in the sixth and seventh ends.
Mitchell, content to play takeaway in the eighth end, finally forced handshakes by running Paterson out of stones.
“Well, that got interesting,” Kathy Mitchell said.
The C Final, pitting Port McNeill skips Tom Baker and Jacques Gaudet, was interesting midway through before Baker ended the suspense while running away to an 11-4 win.
Gaudet led 4-3 through three ends before a four-stone pickup gave Baker a 9-4 advantage through five. In the sixth, Gaudet threatened to claw back by amassing five rocks in the house. But he accidentally removed his own guard with a throw and allowed Baker to score with his final skip’s stone and push the lead to 10-4.
Baker curled with wife Kathy and Glenn and Kristen Kerr. Gaudet was joined by Helen Gurney and Micky and Heather Brown.
In a reversal of fortunes, the father-son duo of Mike and Keith Balcke, who went head-to-head for the A title in December’s men’s bonspiel, were both shut out of Sunday’s mixed finals in separate elimination losses Saturday.
2013 Broughton Curling Club
Mixed Open Bonspiel
First round: Paterson bye; Russell d. Mitchell; M. Balcke d. Ostermeier; Baker d. Goodman; Maday d. Parke; Symons d. Fiske; Gaudet d. McCulley; Bramham d. K. Balcke. Quarterfinals: Russell d. Paterson; M. Balcke d. Baker; Symons d. Maday; Bramham d. Gaudet. Semifinals: Russell d. M. Balcke; Bramham d. Symons. A Final: Russell 9, Bramham 2.
Quarterfinals: Paterson d. Ostermeier; Parke d. Fiske; Mitchell d. Goodman; K. Balcke d. McCulley. Semifinals: Paterson d. Parke; Mitchell d. K. Balcke. B Final: Mitchell 6, Paterson 4.
Quarterfinals: Ostermeier d. Maday; Gaudet d. Goodman; Baker d. Fiske; McCulley d. M. Balcke. Semifinals: Gaudet d. Ostermeier; Baker d. McCulley. C Final: Baker 11, Gaudet 4.