John Morris calls strategy to his sweepers with Brad Gushue watching on Thursday night in Kitchener.

John Morris calls strategy to his sweepers with Brad Gushue watching on Thursday night in Kitchener.

Curler Morris takes A event at Road to the Roar pre-trials

Vernon-based curler John Morris is a step closer to back-to-back trips to the Winter Olympic Games.

Morris’s team representing Vernon and Kelowna — third Jim Cotter (who throws last rocks), second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky and coach Pat Ryan — knocked off Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 8-3 on Thursday night at the Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener, Ont., in the men’s A-Event final at the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, presented by Monsanto.

It was battle of skips who’ve claimed the last two Olympic gold medals; Gushue won in 2006 at Turin, Italy, throwing last rocks for a team skipped by Russ Howard, while Morris won in 2010 at Vancouver throwing third rocks for Kevin Martin.

The more recent Olympian prevailed on Thursday, thanks to an eighth-end gamble that saw him go hard for the steal while leading 5-3. Looking at two Morris stones in the four-foot, Gushue also decided to gamble, attempting a 15-foot angle-raise double takeout to score. He was just wide, giving the stolen deuce and, in essence the victory to Morris.

The victory means Morris will have first-end hammer and choice of rock colour throughout the playoffs, and two cracks at a berth into the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, Dec. 1-8 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg — the event that will decide Canada’s representatives for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Written by the Canadian Curling Association