Roy rink comes up just short
A scant half-inch was all that separated local curler Raymond Roy from making another trip to The Dominion Curling Club provincial championships next month.
Roy, who was joined by third Dave Broman, second Butch Wensley, and lead Patrick Briere, needed to grab a piece of the button for victory in an extra-end but his rock stopped just short of the mark as he fell 6-5 to Paul Warkentin (Keewatin) in the tie-breaker game to decide the Region 1 men’s playdowns here Sunday.
“You have to hit the rocks in front of the house when you have the hammer in an extra end, and we didn’t,” lamented Roy, who had won the provincial crown in 2010 and also competed at last year’s playdowns.
“Unfortunately, we got a bad angle on one of our take-outs and we pumped one of their rocks into the four-foot on a runback,” he noted.
“But the button was available to us on the last shot and that is all you can ask for as a skip.
“The boys swept from end to end but we just couldn’t get it there,” Roy sighed.
While the Roy rink was disappointed about how things ended up, Warkentin still was in shock his crew had qualified for the provincial playdowns coning up April 4-7 in Sault Ste. Marie.
“We had no expectations of making it to the provincials when we came here, so we are just letting that settle in right now,” admitted Warkentin, who will be headed to his first provincials with third Michael Szajewski, second Russell McLaughlin, and lead Isaiah Warkentin.
“To be able to win is just an added bonus.
“But we think we might be treading on some thin ice when we get home once our wives find out that we are going to the provincials,” he laughed.
After dropping their opening game of the round-robin Friday night to Stratton’s Bryan Bonot, the Warkentin rink rattled off four-straight wins to finish in a tie for first, which included a 6-5 win over Roy in an extra end Saturday night.
“The games against Raymond were both fantastic here, and we were just able to edge out the win on both occasions,” Warkentin noted.
“We just continued to build up our momentum with steady play this weekend,” he added.
“And something that helped with that was the great ice, as it was consistent throughout the weekend.”
The loss to Warkentin on Saturday night was the first of the weekend for Roy, who went into that game alone in first with a 3-0 record.
“Both of our games with Paul turned out to be extra-end affairs, so it’s safe to say that we were evenly-matched,” Roy said.
“I think we played well in our first three games as we were able to keep the pressure on the other team.
“We never scored first in those early games,” he recalled. “But we were able to keep the other team to a single point and then got a multi-point end to maintain control of the rest of the game.”
Roy needed a win over Kenora’s Kevin Brown on Sunday morning to force a tie-breaker against Warkentin—and did just with a 6-1 win in four ends to finish the round-robin at 4-1.
“We had the hammer in the first end and got a deuce, and we were able to set things up nicely in the second end,” Roy noted.
“Their skip had an extremely difficult shot that he had to make on his last, but he missed that and were able to steal three points, which pretty much decided the game.”
While there were a number of key shots in the tie-breaker between Roy and Warkentin, the Fort Frances skip felt a draw by Warkentin in the fifth end was a major turning point.
“He made a nice hold in five to force us to just one point, and it was a good shot by him to keep the game close,” Roy said.
“We had a whole bunch of extra rocks in there, so that could have decided the game.”
Although the final outcome was not what he wanted, Roy and his team will be looking to compete for a provincial berth again next winter.
“We really enjoy curling in this, and you have to tip your hat to The Dominion for sponsoring an event like this,” he remarked.
“It’s really starting to catch on around the country.”