In most of the country, the world is unfolding as expected with the favourites playing for provincial finals, setting up what could be a strong Tim Hortons Brier field. Only in Manitoba is there anything resembling an upset in the making
So you were expecting a Jeff Stoughton-Mike McEwen final? Oops. Sean Grassie ruined that betting slip when he defeated Stoughton on Saturday.
The victory means Grassie, who came into this event as the sixth seed and with few expecting him to still be playing on Sunday, heads into Sunday as the last remaining undefeated team in this field.A berth in the Brier and the national spotlight are one win away for a man who, until Saturday night, had never before curled on anything more glamorous than public-access TV."I thought the guys handled the nerves great today. Playing a big game, on national TV, they hung in there really well," said Grassie, who also beat defending champion Rob Fowler Saturday morning to advance to Saturday night’s 1 vs. 1 game.
That final game is on Sportsnet Sunday afternoon.
Glenn Howard and his mates seem to be rounding into top form at just the right time. The reigning world champs won the 1-2 Page on Saturday at the Dominion Tankard in Barrie, winning a tight 5-3 contest in which they kept control for most of the ends. The rink moves to Sunday’s final.
Meanwhile in the 3-4 game, Rob Rumfeldt’s tremendous 10th-end Hail Mary draw to the button forced an extra end but it wasn’t enough. John Epping needed only a draw to the eight-foot to win and move on to Sunday morning’s semi, against Frans.
The final will be on Sportsnet Sunday and that broadcaster has a recap on its web site.
Kevin Martin is into another Alberta final and will take on the winner of this morning’s semi-final between Kevin Koe and Aaron Sluchinski. Koe, who was down to his last life won three straight to get into the semi, including a 3-4 game win against Charley Thomas.
Koe said his team needs to play better if it hopes to defend its Alberta crown.
“Basically, my experience with provincials is if you’re not playing your best, you’re not going to win,” he said. “You can kind of muck through a little bit, but when it comes to playoff time, or certainly when you get down to your last life, if that does happen, if you’re not playing your best, you’re not going to win.
Brent Pierce is into the final in B.C. He handed Sean Geall an 8-4 loss in the 1-2 game. He awaits the semi-final winner, which will be determined by Geall and Andrew Bilesky.
Up in Nipigon, its Brad Jacobs in the driver’s seat. He’ll take on Robbie Gordon in today’s final, which is being played this morning so the players can get home before dark!