Morning Star Staff
They had a minor glitch to start but recovered and won the Thompson/Okanagan Men’s Curling playdowns last weekend at the Vernon Curling Club.
Mark Longworth’s Vernon rink is one of eight teams who booked their ticket to the 2017 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Fountain Tire, Feb. 8-12, in Abbotsford.
Longworth, supported by his son Michael, at third, and a front end of Aaron Herrick and John Slattery, was leading Adam Cseke of Kelowna 2-1 after four ends in his Saturday morning opener.
The Cseke rink contested that Mark Longworth was using an ineligible broom at the break and was forced to forfeit the win. Longworth was using a push broom that doesn’t comply with new fabric regulations this year which prohibit curlers from steering rocks. Mark was disqualified from the rest of the playdowns and the rink was not allowed to use a replacement.
Michael Longworth stepped up as skip and brushed back Cseke 9-4 Saturday afternoon before edging Cseke 9-8 in a three-and-a-half-hour marathon Sunday morning.
Cseke had Andrew Nerpin at third, Matt Tolley at second and Cam Weir at lead.
Teams Tardi, Bilesky, Guignard and Moss qualified at the Lower Mainland playdowns.
In the Kootenays, Team Buchy from Kimberley Curling Club qualified, while in the Island playdowns, Victoria teams Craig and Jackson earned berths.
The provincials will showcase the top 12 men’s teams from across the province and will decide the B.C. team for the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier.
Team Joanisse from Golden Ears Winter Club in Maple Ridge and Team Geall from Kelowna Curling Club already earned their berths by collecting the most CTRS (Canadian Team Ranking System) points.
Defending champions, Team Cotter (Vernon/Kelowna), will also be there. They will be joined by 2010 Olympic gold medallist John Morris (Canmore) at the Abbotsford event.
Team Tardi, from Royal City/Langley curling clubs, is a U21 team who will also be competing at the 2017 B.C. Juniors, featuring gold medal winning Team Canada (Youth Olympic Games) curlers Tyler Tardi (Surrey) and Sterling Middleton (Burnaby).
A total of four games from the event will be televised on Shaw TV on February 11 and 12.
The 12 teams will play a modified triple knockout with a four-team page playoff.
Teams still have a chance to go to provincials if they are successful in qualifying at the final playdown at Cloverdale Curling Club in Surrey from Jan. 6-8.