Grand Forks rink just misses going to mixed provincials

Skip Kevin Marks

The Region 1 and 2 mixed curling playdowns took place in Grand Forks over the weekend and a local rink just missed out on a berth to the provincials.

With a bye into the second draw, the Marks rink – skip Kevin Marks, lead Kim Bartlett, second Dave Bartlett and third Dawn Sioga – won its first game 8-7 (in 11 ends) over Deane Horning and his rink form Trail but subsequently lost to defending mixed provincial champ Tom Buchy and finally to Ken McHargue and his rink from Sparwood, B.C.

Had the Marks rink beaten either Buchy or McHargue, they would’ve been off to the mixed provincial championships in Prince Rupert from March 14 to 20 – the mixed playdowns was the first opportunity for the rink to play as a unit, said Kevin Marks.

“This is our first time curling together; we came up (Saturday) night into our first game ever and we felt pretty good going in, not having curled together ever, so I was pretty proud of the way we curled,” the skip explained after an 8-2 loss to McHargue.

“We struggled a bit the last few games but that’s what happens when you just throw a team together but hopefully we’ll stick together and maybe continue.”

The Marks rink wasn’t the only rink based in the Grand Forks Curling Club as Kevin Maffioli and his rink also competed – they finished 0-2, although they battled Buchy hard on Saturday morning, barely losing 6-4.A 10-3 loss to Josh Firman’s rink from Creston Saturday afternoon ended the Maffioli rink’s journey as it was double elimination format.

“The game (Saturday) morning was great but the afternoon didn’t go as well; but our play was good and the team from Creston really played well,” said Maffioli.

“They made everything and made a tough game for us but we fought them off a little bit and had a good weekend anyway, it was good.”

Some of the visitors were really impressed with the club, the city and the work that organizers put in. Carrie Will, lead for the McHargue rink, was one of those with praise for Grand Forks.

“I just want to tell everyone (in Grand Forks) that they have a great town, a great club and what a fantastic community to put everything on, from the luncheon to the treatment we’ve received everywhere from the stores to right here in the club was wonderful,” she said.

McHargue threw skip rocks on the Ralph Will team to win the 2008 B.C. senior men’s championship, which was also held in Grand Forks. Ken also represented B.C. in the 1991 Brier.

Gerry Foster, president of the Grand Forks club and second on the Maffioli rink, said the level of competition for the weekend was high.

“To have Tom Buchy here, who is defending mixed champion who went through the provincials last year and never lost a game, and just to be on the same ice with them is an absolute privilege and it’s just fun, it really is,” Foster said.

“And then you’ve got Deane Horning, with three Briers, and his second (Rob Nobert) was with him at one of the Briers and on that team, you’ve got two B.C. junior women’s champions, so that kind of stuff just adds to it.

“I think it’s great for the local curling centre and great for fans who want to come out,” Foster went on to say.