Gary Oke foursome claims provincial mixed curling title

City curler Carl Loughlin helps St. John’s rink capture top honours in Masters

Dave Kearsey
Published on February 4, 2013

CORNER BROOK — Carl Loughlin had no intention of putting on his curling shoes to throw stones against some of his buddies this past week, but now he’s going to represent his province in his third national curling tournament.

A member of the Corner Brook Curling Club, Loughlin helped Lew Andrews of the Bally Haly Curling Club of St. John’s defeat defending Canadian Masters curling champion Toby McDonald of Bally Haly 8-5 in the final showdown at the 2013 Newfoundland and Labrador Masters Curling Championship Saturday at the city’s curling facility.

A member of the Andrews foursome required medical attention a couple of days before the tournament opened Wednesday and couldn’t make the trip west, so the search was on for a player to fill the void. Andrews made a telephone call to Loughlin to see if he could help the team out of a jam and it didn’t take long for him to change his mind.

“You know what it’s like ... getting closer to the event and the interest builds,” Loughlin said of his decision to jump on board. “There was a lot of hype and a lot of my friends were on Masters teams locally so I had the interest and I said yes I would curl with him.”

At the end of round-robin play, Andrews, whose winning rink also included third Randy Pearcey and second Michael Wotherspoon, was deadlocked in a three-way tie for top spot with a 3-1 record along with McDonald and Corner Brook’s Bas Buckle.

Andrews, whose only blemish was a 7-6 loss to McDonald to open the tournament, earned a berth in the final by virtue of a 4-2 triumph over Buckle in the semifinal matchup.

Buckle held a slim 2-1 advantage until Andrews and company scored three in the eighth end to seal the deal.

A trip to the nationals is something Loughlin is excited about for sure, but his weekend could have been a lot worse.

Loughlin had to miss the team’s two games Friday and city curler Jim Goodyear filled his shoes for the two games, both of which ended in victory, after the 72-year-old curler had a bad fall in his driveway Friday morning.

He was getting the car warmed up to give his wife a ride when he took a tumble in his icy driveway.

“Down I went on my back and I knocked myself out,” Loughlin said. “My wife came out a few minutes later because I was getting ready to go you know, and there I was trying to get up and my head cut open. She took me to the hospital and I don’t remember much about going over there and one thing or another.”

Doctors gave him clearance to play after a CAT scan was done, but he was feeling too miserable to hit the ice Friday so he rested up.

He came back the next day and told his skip he was ready to go and that was just fine with Andrews.

“I was absolutely delighted,” he said of being able to finish the tournament with his new teammates.

Rick Cook of the Caribou Curling Club finished the round-robin with a 1-3 record, while Corner Brook’s Bern Lewis finished in the cellar with an 0-4 record.

The Andrews foursome will now represent the province at the 2013 Canadian Masters Curling Championships in Thunder Bay later this winter.

In the meantime, Corner Brook native Gary Oke won the provincial mixed curling title after claiming a 7-5 victory over defending provincial champion Kenny Young of Corner Brook in a seesaw battle Sunday morning at the Corner Brook Curling Club.

The two teams were deadlocked in a 3-3 draw after five ends, but Oke and his rink, which included Terry Oke, Sigrid Fitzpatrick and Susan Curtis, scored two points in the sixth and one in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead.

Young made it interesting down the stretch with single points in the eighth and ninth ends, but Oke dashed any hopes of a repeat for the Young foursome, which included Donna Davis, Stephen Shepherd and Diane Graff of Stephenville, with a single point in the 10th to seal the deal. Graff joined the Young rink for the provincials after third Amanda Rumboldt opted to play in the national junior women’s tournament with Erin Suley of St. John’s when a scheduling conflict arose.

Oke and Young, former teammates on the provincial men’s curling scene, finished in top spot after round-robin play with identical 6-1 records. Young’s only loss of the round-robin came at the hands of the Oke foursome, while Oke’s only blemish of round-robin action was a 7-6 loss to Gerry Young — Kenny’s father and a two-time world seniors curling champion.

The championship match was one of three games Oke and company played against the defending champions during the tournament.

Young beat Oke 7-5 in the first Page playoff format game to advance right to the final, while Steve Routledge of St. John’s downed Gerry Young 7-4 in the other Page playoff encounter.

Oke went on to defeat Routledge 7-4 in the semifinal matchup to set the stage for another showdown with Young.

Gerry Young finished in third with a 5-2 round-robin record, while Routledge finished fourth overall with a 4-3 mark in round-robin play. Roy Hodder of the ReMax Centre in St. John’s finished with a 3-4 record, while three Corner Brook curlers — Cal Davis (2-5), Ed North (1-6) and John Andrews (0-7) rounded out the field in the provincial mixed tournament.

Oke will now represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the national mixed curling championship at the Rideau Curling Club in Ottawa in November.