Thursday, 26 January 2012 11:22

Good run for Swift Current curlers at Southern Tankard playdowns

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By Matthew Liebenberg — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Hopes for a local team making it through the Southern Men’s Playdowns in Swift Current last weekend stayed alive until the final day of the event.

The playdowns, which was hosted by the Swift Current Curling Club from Jan. 19 to 22, determined the five teams that advanced from the south to the 2012 Provincial Tankard in Assiniboia from Feb. 1

to 5.

In addition to watching some top quality curling, local fans were rooting for the Max Kirkpatrick and Rod Quintin rinks who qualified in Region 1 for the playdowns.

Kirkpatrick reached the C-event semi-final on

Jan. 22 against Langenburg’s Jeff Hartung.

While Hartung took one on the first end, Kirkpatrick was able to open up a 6-2 lead after the fourth end.

Hartung stuck with it and the game was level at six each after the eight end. Kirkpatrick scored only one during the next end when his attempt for a second point went straight. Hartung then made the hit for two during the final end to win 8-7.

“We had a real bad break in the eight,” Kirkpatrick said. “We had a jam and they stole the two. ... They curled really well.”

Kirkpatrick started the playdowns with an 8-4 win over Moose Jaw’s Steven Slupski Jan. 19, but then lost two games the next day.

“It was a little disappointing,” he said. “We didn’t play as sharp as we hoped to in those middle two games and that put us where we need to run three in a row and we just couldn’t quite do it.”

An experienced player who have been at southern playdowns about a dozen times and to provincials four times, Kirkpatrick is still looking to attend provincials as a skip.

“I’ve been to provincials four times as a third, never as a skip,” he said. “Hopefully next year I will be back again.”

Quintin lost 7-5 in his first game against Regina’s Chris Busby on Jan. 19. The next day he won 6-5 against Moose Jaw’s Garrett Vey, but then lost 9-4 to Hartung in his third game on Jan. 21.

To stay in the playdowns, Quintin had to win his fourth game against Regina’s Al Schick. The two teams exchanged the lead throughout the game and were deadlocked on six points each after Quintin stole one from Schick during the 10th end. It then went down to Schick’s final rock of the extra end that gave him the winning point.

“We had a close game,” Quintin said. “I just didn’t quite have the curl on my last draw that I wanted to half bury.”

Despite the loss, he felt they played well during the entire playdowns.

“We wanted to be competitive in every game and we were,” he said. “We had one bad end out of four games, which was the last end in the second last game.”

Quintin has been at the Southern Playdowns four times, twice as a skip and two times as a third.

“It’s good to play against a little tougher competition and it ups the game from one level where you play in the club,” he said.

The first team to qualify for provincials was Estevan’s Brent Gedak, who defeated Regina’s Randy Bryden 7-2 in the A-event qualifier on Jan. 21.

“It feels good,” Gedak said. “We were there last year with the same team and we fell a little short there. ... We’re kind of on a roll and the team’s playing great. We beat some good teams here.”

Bryden dropped to one of the B-event qualifiers, where he lost 9-6 against the Busby rink.

“There’s no easy games here, that’s for sure,” Busby said afterwards. “We got some rocks in good spots and they missed a couple for us.”

Regina’s Brent Goeres won the other B-event qualifier with a 7-3 win over Whitewood’s Jason Krupski. Despite the score, Goeres said it was not an easy game.

“Lots of tricky shots, lots of good shots made,” he said. “It was a very well played game, a very fun game, but difficult.”

This was Goeres’ first season back in competitive curling after an absence of five years to focus on his studies.

“I played a little bit last year ... but we went at it a little harder this time around,” he said.

Krupski dropped to one of the C-event qualifiers  Jan. 22, where he won 9-5 over Assiniboia’s Alan Batty.

“We got some breaks early but it’s never easy,” he said. “They had some chances to come back. We made some shots that put them in a little bit of a pressure.”

This will be the first time since 2003 that Krupski will be at a provincial tankard. At that time he was throwing third with Hartung and this will be his first provincials as a skip.

“It’s nice to win one and get back there,” he said.

Using his third opportunity in the other C-event qualifier, Bryden beat Jeff Hartung 3-2. Bryden said he was certainly nervous as he tried to get past this qualification round.

“There’s some nerves, but we’re amateurs. We just get out there and play for fun. We achieve the goals, that’s great, but if not we go home to a family and friends and have a good time.”

He described all the qualifiers as tough games.

“We had a good second end to get the lead and we were able to maintain it for the rest of the game,” he said about his win. “We didn’t give each other a lot of chances.”

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