PORT ALICE — After an object on the ice threw Valerie Eyford's first-end hammer wildly off-course to deliver opposing skip Sean Watson a four-point start, she never recovered in the A final of the Port Alice Curling Club's mixed open bonspiel Saturday.
Then again, Eyford did have an impressive comeback earlier in the weekend.
"I was laid up for a couple of years and had a knee replacement," said Eyford, who now shoots rocks upright with the aid of a curling stick. "My first and my third, this is their first year curling and their first bonspiel, so I'm pretty happy to be in the A final."
Watson took the four-point gift following the pick and ran with it, adding additional four-pointers in the third and fifth ends to build an insurmountable 13-1 lead with the aid of rinkmates Helen Haney, Richard Inglis and Helen Parker.
"This isn't a true reflection of how good she is with the stick," Watson said of Eyford. "Let's put it this way — it's 50/50 she beats me whenever we play."
Watson had four stones loosely arranged in the house but little in the way of a guard when Eyford sent her first-end hammer on what appeared to be a true line to his shot rock. However, just past mid-ice the stone caught a pick and veered sharply to the left, leaving a bright, two-foot skid mark.
Eyford got one point back in the second end, but Watson piled up four more points in the third when Eyford's final steal attempt rubbed a guard.
Eyford was joined by rookies Elizabeth Duffus and Marc Brackett in the all-Port Alice final, and second Brian Eyford was making something of a comeback of his own.
"The last time he curled, I was four," Brackett said.
Audie and Sandy Tamburini delivered Port Alice another victory in B final, forcing handshakes with Scott MacMillan's rink after building an 8-1 lead through six ends. The Tamburinis curled with Dave and Natalie Stewart, while MacMillan's rink included Petra Sinclair, Paulie Steele and Dugald MacMillan.
Port McNeill's Tom Baker broke up a Port Alice sweep of the finals, earning handshakes from Bill and Teressa Cliff after rolling to a 10-2 lead through five ends. Baker curled with his wife Kathy, Dan Cooper and Charlene Pehrsson. The Cliffs, past winners of this event in a long-running partnership with the Tamburinis, were teamed last weekend with Mike and Deanna Sexton.
"We usually curl with Cliff and Sandy," Audie Tamburini said. "But we decided to split up to get more teams in."