Vernon skip Jim Cotter led his team to a 9-4 win over Jason Montgomery of Victoria Sunday morning (Feb. 3) in the 2019 B.C. Men’s Curling Championships in Quesnel.
Cotter jumped out to a 6-1 lead after five ends, but Montgomery stormed back in the second half of the game, scoring one unanswered point in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth ends to come within two points. Team Cotter secured the victory with three in the ninth.
Cotter, third Steve Laycock of Saskatoon and lead Rick Sawatsky of Vernon will each be heading to their eighth Tim Hortons Brier Canadian championship (Laycock went seven times representing Saskatchewan, including last year as skip). Second Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna will be going to his sixth Brier.
Cotter has won five of the last six provincial titles. Like in Quesnel, he was undefeated heading into the 2018 championship in Parksville, but lost in an extra end to Sean Geall of Kelowna.
Cotter says his team’s bond is probably one of their biggest strengths.
“It’s just remarkable … we’re really close on and off the ice, and I think that that’s what brings success,” he said right after the win. “Curling’s a unique sport in that you only have four individuals, and if you have one loose cog on the wheel, it’s going to be real tough. So that’s probably our biggest strength, our team, how we get along so well.”
Cotter describes Team Montgomery, whom he faced for the third time this week, as a “fabulous” team.
“We knew they were going to come in hard,” he said. “Sometimes getting an early lead isn’t necessarily a good thing, but you know what, we hung on there, and it was just a shot here or there.
“None of us got too worked up, I know I wasn’t anyway — you’re just playing the scoreboard at that point.”
The B.C. champs (which also includes fifth Brad Wood) head to Brandon March 2-10 for the Brier.
“Oh, it never gets old; it feels great,” Cotter says of returning to the Brier. “The guys played fabulous all week, and [we] couldn’t be happier right now.”
Abbotsford’s Sarah Wark won the B.C. Women’s Curling Championship in Quesnel, beating Corryn Brown of Kamloops 7-4 in the final. Wark advances to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championships Feb. 16-24 in Sydney, NS.
Vernon’s Kim Slattery finished the eight-team round robin with a 1-6 mark.