[photo - Dave O'Byrne]
Defending champions BC defeated Manitoba 7-6 in the opening game of the Canadian National Championships in Kelowna. We posted some notes on the blog [see below] as we watched the game. The ice grew steadily heavier until it was taking 11 second hog to hog to come just short of the rings.
The extra end saw an empty house as every stone fell short until Austgarden managed to get the last rock of the game through the pile and get it to stop just touching the rings back 12 to score the winning point.
The BC Host team skipped by Gary Cormack swapped singles with Alberta until a steal in ends 7 and 8 saw them pull ahead 6-3.
Saskatchewan landed a 5 on N. Ontario in the 6th en route to a 10-5 win. Newfoundland took 5 in the 1st against Nova Scotia and never looked back, winning 13-3, the same score Ontario, the one totally rookie squad posted against Quebec.
Manitoba put up two front stones. The BC lead was through the house. MB came around to the back of the 4ft. Takeouts ensued.
MB's takeout also rolled out. Warren's first stone is in front of the house, in a cluster with the two red stones.
Thiessen's comearound is short, landing in front of the house. Three red and a yellow around centre line just in front of the empty house.
LaBounty is even with the other yellow stone just in front of the house. Still nothing in there.
Thiessen's attempt is out front. LaBounty runs his own back but it's too strong and out the back.
Everybody else is short except for BC's last rock - biting the back. BC wins 7-6.
MB takes 1 to tie the score at 6, and they're headed to an extra end.
BC steals one to pull ahead 6-5.
Handshakes on Sheet C: NL 9 - NS 2.
SK leads NO 10-3 --- handshakes.
AB trails HOST 4-3 after 7.
QC is finally on the board, trailing ON 9-2.
All the play was in the 4ft. MB doubled out two BC stones when BC was sitting 3. BC failed to hit and stick for their second point, taking 1 to tie it up 5-5 after 6.
In other news, Canada suffered their first loss tonight to bottom of the table Sweden, 8-4, while USA, despite giving up 3 in the 8th, scored one in the extra to hand GB their 4th loss. Final score USA 8 - GB 7.
Back here, SK now lead NO 9-3 after taking 2 in the 6th. ON are 9-1 up over QC through 6 ends. BC HOST and AB are tied up 3-3 after 6. NS and NL are still playing the 6th end.
After the break, it took until the 3rds' last stone before a rock made it into the rings, as the ice has tightened significantly.
BC attempt a double with their last stone. They get 1, but leave one MB stone buried on the button. MB attempted a wide comearound to touch the 8 ft for a second point. They make it.
MB take 2 and go ahead 5-4 after 5.
BC has one on the pin, buried. MB is sitting second shot, protected. Rather than guard and hold BC to 1, MB attempted a takeout and picked their own stone out. BC is lying 2.
MB's last stone came up short of the button. BC got greedy with their last stone, attempted to put a 3rd stone in the rings, and picked their own stone out. They score 1 instead of 2.
BC 4 - MB 3 after 4.
In other games, NO has pulled ahead of SK, 3-2 after 4 ends. ON now lead QC 7-0 after 4 ends. AB and HOST are tied at 2 after 4. NS and NL are just starting the 4th end, with NL 6-2.
First few rocks all came up short of the rings. MB, without hammer, took a chance by clearing one side of the house. BC failed to capitalize by coming in.
MB did come in to sit one, in the 4 ft. BC were not able to remove it. Steal of 1 for MB.
Tied up at 3 after 3 ends.
NO came through 11 rocks in front of the house to score 1 against SK. SK 2 - NO 1 after 3. ON is up 6 - 0 over QC after 3. We don't know the other scores yet.
BC came into the 4ft, guarded.
MB peeled the guard and then a BC guard attempt came too deep, allowing access to the shot stones in the 4ft.
MB cleared the shot stones and ended up taking 2.
BC 3 - MB 2 after 2 ends.
SK 2 - NO 0 after 2
ON 4 - QC 0 after 2
BC HOST 1 - AB 1 after 2 ends
BC has the hammer.
Lead stones ended up short of the rings blocking the center. BC drew to the button. MB's draw attempts were heavy.
BC got a second stone in the 8 foot and guarded. Gerry Austgarden's last rock drew into the 8ft for a third point.
BC 3 - MB 0.
SK took one over NO.
ON took 1 playing QC.
BC HOST 1 - AB 0
NL 5 - NS 0
Good evening from the Kelowna Curling Club where we're sitting above Sheet D and waiting for the start of the defending champions opening match. We'll be updating this post during the game.