Port McNeill skip Rob Conley delivers a shot during the A final of the Hugh Fraser Open men's bonspiel at Fort Rupert Curling Club in Port Hardy Sunday.

Visitors take ‘spiel trophy — again

PORT HARDY—"It just gets better and better," said Bernes, a longtime participant who returned the the annual men's open spiel

PORT HARDY—To get an idea of the regard in which the Hugh Fraser Memorial Bonspiel is held, consider the view of Courtenay skip Craig Bernes.

“It just gets better and better,” said Bernes, a longtime participant who returned the the annual Fort Rupert Curling Club men’s open spiel after a couple years away. “This was better than the last one I came to, and that was pretty darn good.”

And these comments came after Bernes was swept away by Port McNeill’s Mike Balcke in the D Final Sunday.

The hospitality that so impressed Bernes brought no fewer than 10 rinks from down-Island to the 24-team bonspiel, the largest on the North Island.

One of those visitors, Ray Michell of the Campell River Curling Club, claimed his second straight Hugh Fraser Memorial title by outdueling Port McNeill’s Rob Conley in Sunday’s A final.

A year ago, Michell battled three-time champion Brad Zealand of Port Hardy down to the wire for his first win, and had to get past Zealand again in an epic semifinal match to earn a spot opposite Conley.

“I love coming up for this one,” said Michell.

“It’s a great spiel, and Doug (McCorquodale) puts in a lot of work.”

Conley’s fun ran out Sunday afternoon after he and regular rinkmates Marlo Leblanc, Bill Geisler and Mike Gossen rolled through the competition all weekend.

The A final was a closely contested affair, which produced two blank ends and five of the remaining six ends offering just a single point. But Michell grabbed a three-stone pickup in the fourth end, and that provided the difference as Conley ran out of rocks trailing 5-2 in the eighth and final end.

Once he had his lead Michell was content to play conservatively, clearing stones from the house to prevent a big pickup by Conley.

“That three-point end was the key,” Conley admitted. “Otherwise, it was a close match.”

The B final was even closer, with Port Hardy’s McCorquodale surviving a narrow miss-hit by Campbell River’s Tom Veary on the final skip’s stone for a 6-4 win. After overcoming a 4-1 deficit through four ends and taking a 5-4 lead by stealing a point in the seventh, McCorquodale had shot rock guarded by a Veary stone, leaving the veteran skip with a double-tap for a takeout.

But Veary’s deflection narrowly missed McCorquodale’s stone and spared him a tiebreaking extra end.

The C final pitted two visiting teams, with Rick Cowles topping fellow Courtenay skip Tom Green.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Port Alice’s Scotiabank branch closing for good next month

Port Alice is going through a transition to a more diversified economy that includes tourism.

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

Mowi Canada West releases statement on Nanaimo teenager’s workplace death

“Our thoughts are with the family at this time, all of us at Mowi are devastated by this tragedy.”

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

BC Ferries has no plans to implement debit for vehicle ticket payments

Debit accepted for foot passengers, on-board purchases for all vessels

‘The whole city has changed:’ B.C. woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Trudeau condemns hateful, ‘toxic segments’ of society after New Zealand shooting

Prime Minister expressed sorrow at the many attacks in recent years

Air Canada grounds its Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1 to provide certainty

Airlines around the world have been working to redeploy their fleets since their Max 8s were grounded last week

Budget to tout Liberal economic record, provide distraction from SNC furor

This is the Liberal government’s fourth and final budget before the election

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Most Read