Sean Geall battled through plenty of adversity to earn his second provincial championship on Sunday.
Geall out-lasted four-time defending champion Jim Cotter of Vernon 9-7 in an extra end to claim the 2018 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship final presented by Berwick Retirement Homes at the Parksville Curling Club.
Having lost twice previously to Cotter at the event, Geall this time dug deep to snap Cotter’s four-year consecutive run. Cotter had also won six of the last seven provincial crowns.
Geall won the event once before, back in 2009 and was grateful to finally wrestle the title back.
“In some ways it’s a bit of a relief to get back to doing this. It feels really good,” said Geall. “It’s been a while and you start to wonder if that time is going to happen again. Now I have a small family and can’t commit the time I used to commit, so yeah, this is a big one.”
He shared in the win afterward with his three children, wife and parents and tears flowed as he first hugged his dad and then his mom.
The emotion ram through him after he made a brilliant in-off with his last shot to get a Cotter stone off the button as it sat near frozen on a Geall rock.
“I knew it was going to be used. I didn’t know if it was going to be him or going to be us,” Geall said of his rock off in the wings. “Turns out it was us. I felt good (settling into the hack). You just have to stay in your routine.”
He did just that to earn his second purple heart.
“Our basic game plan it was to get off to a better start,” said Geall, who fell behind early in both of the two previous losses to Cotter this week, in the A-event final and the Page 1-2 game. “Then we got that nice three in nine. It was a little lucky, but you have to get the breaks, right.”
Geall made a delicate quiet take-out with his first in the ninth and followed it with a hit and stick for the three. He also made a double take-out in the 10th after Cotter delivered a run-back double, but the Vernon skip had to settle for just one to force the extra end.
“They played pretty well,” said Cotter. “Sean made some big doubles at the right time and he obviously made a great shot to win it, too, so congratulations to those guys.”
It was the only loss of the week for Cotter.
“I’m proud of the guys. We hung in there. Unfortunately, we had some picks in there and that didn’t help, but that’s the way curling goes. It didn’t come down to that. They made a great shot to win. We were getting better each game, but we were a little off that game.”
The night belonged to Geall and Co. His third, Richard, also won his second title after a victory as a skip back in 2010, the year after Geall won his first.
The Geall foursome now moves on to the Tim Hortons Brier in Regina, March 3-11.
For Harper, it will also be his second trip to the national championship as he went as a fifth man for Cotter when he was with John Morris last year.
Geall also earned a bit of revenge after losing 7-6 to Cotter in the 2016 championship final.
This year Team Geall curled 87 per cent as a unit in the final compared to 84 for Team Cotter. Harper and Nerpin led the way at 90 per cent for the victors, while Sawatsky led all curlers at 92 per cent.