The Vancouver Island region senior curling playdowns took place at Powell River Curling Club on January 18 and 19, and while neither local team advanced to the provincial championships, they were still happy with their performances.
“The calibre of play in our area is outstanding,” said Roger Pagani, a member of the senior men’s team. “I knew before the competition that Wes Craig was the reigning provincial senior men’s champion, but I found out at the event that Dan Brennan, who skipped the team from Comox, is part of the British Columbia Canadian Police Curling team, who won their national championships last year. With that level of competition, we’re really pleased with how we did.”
The men’s team lost their first match 8-4, then won their second 7-5. Their evening match was tied after eight ends, and they lost in the extra end 8-7.
“When we tied it up in the eighth, we heard a lot of cheering and yelling from the gallery, and it really gave us a boost to have that kind of support,” said Pagani. “The way our community supports athletes of all levels is amazing. I even had people stopping me on the street earlier this week to wish me luck.”
Lynda Sowerby skipped the senior women’s team, which was eliminated in two games against Penny Shantz’s team from Vancouver Island. Shantz was an Olympic gold medalist in curling in 1988.
“We thought we could give them a good game and we did,” said Sowerby. “We hung in there for a number of ends, but a couple of ends got the best of us.”
The women’s team has not been together long, and Sowerby was happy with their performance.
“We were able to practice together a little before the competition, and we all had a great time and learned a lot,” she said. “There were some competition rules we weren’t familiar with, but once we had a couple ends under our belts, we were a lot more comfortable. If the team is interested and with more time and practice, we can make a better showing next year.”
Shantz’s women’s team and Craig’s men’s team won the playdown and advance to the Senior Provincial Championships in Vernon February 18 to 23.
“The event ran smoothly, and we were happy to be able to show off our facility and our town to curlers from the island,” said Pagani. “And we were happy to bring this level of our sport to Powell River. I know there were a lot of people who came to watch the games, and some even called the club to see how we were doing if they weren’t able to be there.”
Sowerby also wanted to thank the people of Powell River for their support.
“It was great to have so many people out watching the games,” she said. “Curling is a lifetime sport, and people of any age and any level of mobility can learn and do very well in it. Our club is very supportive and a great place to learn.”