Vernon’s Jim Cotter shouts directions to his sweepers during action at the B.C. Men’s Curling Championships in Quesnel. (Ronan O’Doherty/Black Press)

Vernon rink collects curling win

Jim Cotter opens B.C. men’s provincials with convincing victory in Quesnel

Vernon’s Jim Cotter’s bid for an eighth provincial Purple Heart men’s curling championship got off to a winning start.

Cotter defeated Matthew Blandford of Victoria 9-2 in five ends in his opening draw Tuesday at the West Fraser Centre in Quesnel.

Cotter, backed by Steve Laycock, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky (who is also seeking an eighth provincial title), jumped on the Island squad quickly, scoring four in the first end.

After Blandford cut the lead in half to 4-2 in the second end, the Cotter rink scored a deuce in the third, stole two in the fourth and one more in the fifth to earn handshakes.

Cotter will play Dean Joanisse of Maple Ridge in an A event semifinal Wednesday at 2 p.m.

RELATED: Cotter brushes back Barry

Four of the 12 teams will qualify out of the triple knockout (A, B, and two C event qualifiers) for the page playoff system (A vs B, C1 vs C2; loser of C game is out; winner plays loser of A vs B; Winner of A vs B advances to final).

The provincial winner will represent BC at the Tim Hortons Brier March 2-10 in Brandon.

* Vernon’s Kim Slattery slipped to 1-1 at the eight-team B.C. women’s championship, also being played in Quesnel.

Slattery dropped an 8-7 decision to Sarah Wark of Abbotsford (2-0).

Tied 3-3 after four ends, Slattery gave up a steal of two in the fifth to fall behind 5-3 at the break. After tying the contest with a deuce in six, Wark scored three in the seventh for an 8-5 advantage. Slattery got to within one with a pair in nine, but couldn’t force an extra end.

RELATED: Vernon rink starts Scotties with win

Slattery meets Corryn Brown of Kamloops (1-0) at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Top four teams after the round robin advance to the page playoffs. The B.C. champ will advance to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championships Feb. 16 to 24 in Sydney, NS.

* Vernon’s Doug Smith has qualified with his rink for the 2019 BC Masters Curling Championships March 5 to 10 in Nanaimo.

Smith skipped his team from Nelson/Trail/Beaver Valley, consisting of Brian LeMoel, Garry Beaudry and Bill King, to the Kootenay playdown title in Trail, and a spot in the provincials.

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