A week after winning his hometown cashspiel, Vernon’s Jim Cotter turned in a quarterfinal performance at the $52,000 Westcoast Curling Classic last weekend in New Westminster.
Cotter, backed by third Jason (Gunner) Gunnlaugson of Winnipeg, and the front end of Ty Griffith and Rick Sawatsky, pocketed $4,000 in falling 6-2 to Vancouver’s Andrew Bilesky in the quarterfinals.
The foursome had just two practice sessions together before they stepped on the ice for the Prestige Hotels Curling Classic last month in Vernon. The lack of familiarity with the hard-throwing Gunnlaugson, who replaced outgoing third Kevin Folk, doesn’t seem to have affected their game.
“We’re definitely happy with how it went,” said Cotter. “We don’t expect to win every weekend…but we’re flowing along pretty well.
“He (Gunnlaugson) has been a great fit to our team. He has a great wealth of curling knowledge.”
Cotter went 3-2 in preliminary play with 6-2 wins over Alberta’s Dan Petryk and Port Coquitlam’s Randy Shen, and a 4-2 decision over Saskatchewan’s Brock Virtue. The Vernon rink bowed 7-5 to Victoria’s Charley Thomas and 7-4 to Bilesky.
Cotter needed a 9-4 tiebreaker win over Petryk to advance to the eight-team playdowns. He traded deuces with Petryk over ends one and two before breaking the game open with a four-ender in three.
Edmonton’s Kevin Martin won his third straight Westcoast Classic with an 8-6 win over Bilesky in the championship game. Down a point heading into the seventh end, Martin counted two and then stole a single in eight for $14,000. Bilesky banked $9,000.
The Cotter rink will have a few weeks to fine-tune its play before the $70,000 Cactus Pheasant Classic, Oct. 25-28, in Brooks, Alta.