Following a few close battles early on, Team Wallingham cruised to victory at the Yukon Senior Men’s Curling Championship over the weekend at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
The Whitehorse rink won its second title in a row and will represent Yukon at the senior nationals.
“We had a pretty good weekend,” said skip Walter Wallingham. “I feel real good. The team curled really well, made my shots a lot easier and we’re all excited about going down there to represent the Yukon at the curling nationals.”
This time Wallingham was part of the Wallingham rink. Last year his rink won without him, though the team still bore his name.
Wallingham missed last year’s championship to spectate at the Junior Canadian Curling Championships in Newfoundland where his son Joe was skip of the Yukon men’s team. He had Ray Mikkelsen fill in for him.
As it happens, Mikkelsen gave Wallingham the most trouble this past weekend. Team Wallingham, which includes third Gordon Zealand, second Ed Kormendy and lead Don Duncan, produced a 5-1 record at the championship with a 5-4 loss to Team Mikkelsen on Saturday.
“We had our chances against Ray in the one we lost there,” said Wallingham. “We had a couple nice houses set up for big ends but unfortunately made a tick and miss and ended up giving them one and a steal. We were able to come back and make it close.”
Team Wallingham opened the 50-and-over championship with a 7-6 extra-end win over George Hilderman’s rink and then topped Darol Stuart’s rink 7-5.
Following the loss to Mikkelsen, Wallingham defeated Hilderman 7-4, Stuart 5-2 and Mikkelsen 9-3 to clinch it.
“Every game we just started curling a little bit better and the last game was our best game of all,” said Wallingham.
Hilderman, a five-time Yukon senior champ, placed second with a 4-2 record. Mikkelsen finished even at 3-3 and Stuart went winless at 0-6.
Team Wallingham will now represent the territory at the 2016 Canadian Senior Curling Championships, beginning late March in Digby, N.S.
At last year’s senior nationals in Edmonton, Team Wallingham went 1-8 with an 8-3 win over Team Saskatchewan.
“We’re looking forward to improving our record from last year,” said Wallingham. “We had a few really close games last year and should have won more than one game…
“I have some relatives in Nova Scotia, so I’ll let them know and hopefully they’ll show up and watch us curl,” he added.
Only one team registered for the senior women’s championship and have therefore been acclaimed Yukon’s representative for the nationals.
Team Grant, which includes skip Leslie Grant, Corinne Delaire, Joan Hyvre and Laura Wilson, will curl for Yukon in the women’s side of the championship in Nova Scotia.
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