Third Sonja Gaudet of Vernon takes her shot as brakeman Gerry Austgarden of Kelowna watches intently at the B.C. Wheelchair Curling Championships last weekend at McArthur Island Curling Club in Kamloops. The Neighbour crew swept Gary Cormack’s Surrey rink 2-0 in a best-of-three title tilt to advance to the Canadian championships

Third Sonja Gaudet of Vernon takes her shot as brakeman Gerry Austgarden of Kelowna watches intently at the B.C. Wheelchair Curling Championships last weekend at McArthur Island Curling Club in Kamloops. The Neighbour crew swept Gary Cormack’s Surrey rink 2-0 in a best-of-three title tilt to advance to the Canadian championships

Vernon rinks battle in Parksville

Vernon skips Jim Cotter and Darren Heath square off at the Canadian Direct Insurance B.C. Men’s Curling Championships in Parksville.

Looks like skips Jim Cotter and Darren Heath drove all the way to Vancouver Island just to face one another at the Canadian Direct Insurance B.C. Men’s Curling Championships in Parksville.

Both Vernon rinks opened the playdowns at 2-1 and met in a B event showdown Thursday night.

Cotter, the defending provincial champion, gave up five points in the seventh and eighth end to open with an 8-4 loss to New Westminster’s Jay Peachey Wednesday morning, but rebounded that night with a 6-4 decision over Smithers’ Ron Vanderstar.

Backed by third Kevin Folk, second Ty Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky, Cotter pummelled Nanaimo’s Steve Waatainen 9-4 Thursday morning.

Heath, who curls with third Dave Belway, second Darin Laface and lead Darryl Houston, also started Wednesday with a loss, falling 7-2 to New Westminster’s Ken McArdle before outgunning Victoria’s Neil Dangerfield 8-3.

The Vernon foursome needed an extra end to stop Kimberley’s Tom Buchy 10-9 in a Thursday morning thriller.

Fort the first time in its history, the B.C. championship will follow a 16-team, triple knockout format, followed by a four-team page playoff. Previously, it had followed a 10-team round-robin with page playoffs.

The winner advances to the Tim Hortons Brier, March 3-11, in Saskatoon. The championship semifinal and final games will be televised on Shaw TV.

Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet once again has a provincial crown after her rink, skipped by Darryl Neighbour, swept Vancouver’s Gary Cormack in a best-of-three series at the B.C. Wheelchair Championships last weekend at McArthur Island Curling Club in Kamloops.

Cormack, a gold medallist at the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games in Torino, started the opening game strong, jumping to a 6-0 lead after just two ends, but gave up seven consecutive points to fall 7-6.

In the second tilt, Cormack jumped in front to a 6-1 lead after three ends, but Neighbour, backed by Gaudet at third and the front end of Gerry Austgarden and Corrine Jenson, equalized with a triple in four and a deuce in five.

Singles by Cormack in six and seven put his rink up by two heading into the final end, but Neighbour delivered a clutch draw for three with is final stone.

Neighbour advances to the Canadian Wheelchair Championships, March 18-25, in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Brad Wood’s Nufloors has earned a first-round bye after topping the Baron Insurance Super League at 13-3.

Dave Merklinger’s Canwest Propane and Robbi Kuhn’s North Enderby Timber finished tied at 12-4, and will draw straws to see gets the other bye. The loser will join Mark Longworth’s Sladen Moore (10-6), TJ Perepolkin’s Canaccord Wealth Management (7-9) and Jim Cotter’s Woodland Equipment (7-9) in quarterfinal matchups Wednesday at the Vernon Curling Club.

Perepolkin secured a spot in the playdowns with an 8-7 extra-end win over Alyssa Kyllo’s Armstrong Optometry Wednesday night.

A first-end steal of one by Perepolkin was quickly overshadowed by a three-ender by the 4-12 Kyllo clan in two. Perepolkin came right back with a triple in three, with great sweeping by spares Andrew Mercer and Kevin Geistlinger.

Tied 6-6 after six ends, Kyllo stole one in seven, and Perepolkin had a shot for two in eight, but his final tap-back attempt picked to allow an extra end.

Jenn Gerow’s CanHealth/A&G Supply racked up singles in ends two, three and four to squeak out a 5-2 win over Cotter.

Aaron Herrick, subbing at skip for Cotter, had a chance for three in eight, but rubbed a guard. Gerow also finished at 6-10.

Longworth collected a deuce in seven and single steal in eight to upend Kuhn 4-2.

With three blank ends to start the game, Longworth finally got on board with a single in four, only to have Kuhn reply with consecutive singles in five and six.

Merklinger came from behind with a triple in six to bury Sherry Heath’s DeVine Vintners 5-3.

Heath (1-15) recorded singles in one, three and five, with Merklinger responding with singles in two and four.