First playoff matchup set at 2018 belairdirect BC Men’s Championship

2018 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship.Photography by Randy Hall

The Page playoff 1-2 matchup of the 2018 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship presented by Berwick Retirement Homes is now set.

Sean Geall and his Kelowna Curling Club rink consisting of third Jeff Richard, second Andrew Nerpin and lead David Harper defeated Brent Pierce’s Royal City Curling Club foursome of third Andrew Bilesky, second Steve Kopf and lead Rhys Gamache 8-3 to claim the B-event final on Friday afternoon.

Geall advances to the Page 1-2 game where he will face four-time defending champion Jim Cotter on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Parksville Curling Club, with that winner advancing straight to Sunday’s 4 p.m. championship game.

Cotter defeated Geall 7-6 in the A-event final on Thursday night, setting up that rematch.

“Much better. Two well played games today,” said Geall, who stated he would like a second shot at Cotter following Thursday’s loss. “The way we’re playing now, if we can keep this going, I like our chances.

“The first half of that game (against Cotter) wasn’t going our way and the momentum we gained in the second half paid off today.”

Cotter used a four-ender in that first matchup with Geall to grab a 6-1 lead at the break before Geall recorded one in the sixth end, followed by steals of one in the seventh, eighth and ninth to make it close.

“Every team here wants to come through A-side. We’ve done it in the past, now we have to stay sharp and prepare properly,” Cotter, the four-time defending champion, said of that victory.

Cotter – who has won seven overall B.C. men’s titles – and third Catlin Schneider, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky are the top seed at the 2018 event.

Ironically, the last time Cotter was not on the winning provincial team was 2013 in Parksville when Bilesky skipped the winning team with Kopf playing third. The team Bilesky defeated in the final was skipped by Pierce with Richard at third.

On Friday morning, Geall doubled Victoria’s Glen Jackson 4-2 in an old-fashioned tussle that featured five blank ends in a B-event semi-final while Pierce outlasted Dean Joanisse of the Golden Ears Winter Club 8-7.

Jackson then dropped down to the C-event where he would face son-in-law Chris Baier, who also hails from Victoria, with a team based out of Kelowna. Cal Jackson, Glen’s son, also plays lead on the Baier team, making it a true family clash.

Jackson came out the winner there, staying alive with a 5-4 extra end victory that eliminated his son and son-in-law.

“It’s nice to win that one. You have to have bragging rights for the summer, right,” Glen Jackson said of knocking the kids off with a delicate wide draw to grab a piece of the button for the win.

“That was important, but it gets us to the next game, too,” the elder Jackson said of the family bragging rights. I’m probably dis-owned now, we’ll see how that goes.”

Baier had eliminated Mark Longworth of Vernon 7-3 in the morning draw and another Victoria Curling Club rink skipped by Jason Montgomery sent Wylie Eden of Penticton home via an 8-5 victory.

Montgomery then edged Grant Dezura of the Golden Ears club 9-7 with a steal of two in an extra end in C-play and Joanisse dumped Wes Craig of Victoria 11-7.

Joanisse now plays Jackson in one C-qualifier Friday night at 7 and Pierce faces Montgomery in the other. It will be the third meeting between the two latter teams with each winning once.

Those two winners will meet in the Page 3-4 game on Saturday at 7 p.m. before the event shifts into the semi-final Sunday at 11 a.m. followed by the final at 4.

The B.C. representative will then move on to the Tim Hortons Brier in Regina, March 3-11.