Final rocks had major impacts on scores and bank accounts at the Polar Eyes Optometry Cashspiel at the Whitehorse Curling Club on Sunday.
A number of games, including the final, were decided by the final throws.
“The last two games we played could have gone either way. It was that close,” said skip Bob Smallwood. “We played George (Hilderman) just before the final and he had a chance to do a shot and win and same with Ray (Mikkelsen) in the ninth end.”
Team Smallwood took the title and a cheque for $1,500 in a nail-biter finish in the final.
The Smallwood team, which includes third Wade Scoffin, second Steve Fecteau and lead Clint Ireland, defeated Team Mikkelsen 6-4 in the final.
Smallwood stole two in the ninth, extra end for the win.
“It was close all the way. We kept it clean, played it fast,” said skip Ray Mikkelsen. “There were some good shots made, some misses. They threw good.
“I like to play a clean game. We never get high-scoring games. We’re more of a take-out team. We wait for our chances and jump at them.”
As runner-ups, Mikkelsen, third Dustin Mikkelsen, second Scott Williamson and lead Darrin Fredrickson, took in $1,000.
Both teams squeaked into the final. Smallwood defeated third place’s Team Hilderman 7-5 and Mikkelson narrowly beat fourth place’s Team Koltun 5-4 on the final shot in the semifinal.
“It was fun, the competition was good,” said Smallwood. “We didn’t have any runaway games, so everyone was curling good.”
Team Hilderman, which won the spiel last year, took third and pocketed $500 with a 5-0 win over Team Koltun, led by skip Sarah Koltun.
“Sarah had some hard shots,” said skip George Hilderman. “We played fairly clean and waited for them to make some mistakes and we jumped on them.
“I’m 61 now – still throwing pretty good – and I’ve got the masters (championship) coming up this weekend. So this was good for me because I need to find my draw weight and I had it most of the weekend.”
Hilderman, who was joined by third John Solberg, second Dale Enzenauer and lead Lee Malanchuk, scored two in the sixth and Koltun shook hands.
“Overall, it was a really good tournament. I’d like to see this twice a year,” said Hilderman. “Polar Eyes stepped up to the plate and sponsored the event and I think we have to go searching for more sponsors to make this happen more often. We need this because a lot of us don’t go out of town to compete.”
The team of Dave Rach, Jody Smallwood, Richard Weihers and Tyler Williams took first in the consolation event and $600.
They won 9-6 over the team of Walter Wallingham, Rob Andison, Don Duncan and Gord Zealand, who went away with $400.
Bob Smallwood and Scoffin, along with Jody Smallwood and Nicole Baldwin, recently had five wins at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship. Their 5-4 record marks the best performance by a Yukon rink at the mixed nationals since at least 2000.
Bob’s team from this past weekend, with the addition of fifth Scott Odian of Atlin, will compete at the Yukon Men’s Curling Championships this January with the hope of making a run at the Brier.
“We’ve had a lot of success already this season,” said Smallwood. “I think we’re undefeated in the Super League and undefeated here. So we haven’t lost a game yet.”
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