Gushue, Rowsell, Skanes win first draw at Tankard

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Sweepers Mark Healy (left) and Steven Ryan (right) look to skip Andrew Symonds (not shown) for a call on lead Corey Ewart’s (rear) stone during their first draw match against Brad Gushue at the Tankard provincial men’s curling championship at the Bally Haly Curling Club Wednesday evening.

Provincial men’s curling championship gets underway despite inclement weather

Ken Peddigrew stole five points, including singles in the ninth, 10th and extra ends, to defeat Rick Rowsell 7-6 Wednesday night as the Tankard provincial men’s curling championship got underway at Bally Haly Golf and Curling Club in St. John’s.

Eight of the 13 overall points scored in the game came on steals, with Rowsell getting three of his own in the early going to build up a 4-0 lead through four ends. But Peddigrew clawed back, benefiting from a steal of two in the sixth. Rowsell made it 6-3 by scoring two with the hammer in the seventh, Peddigrew got a single point in the eighth with last rock, then began his run of steals that got him the victory.

In other opening draw games Wednesday:

• Brad Gushue, the seven-time defending and 10-time overall champion, beat Andrew Symonds 9-2, scoring multiple points (2, 2 and 3) in the three ends in which he held the hammer and adding two more through single steals.

• Trent Skanes stole a point in the fifth end and two more in the sixth, and that was the difference in his 6-3 victory over over Colin Thomas, last year’s Tankard runner-up.

All six teams competing in this year’s Tankard are from St. John’s; Gushue and Skanes curl out of Bally Haly, while the rest are from the St. John’s Curling Club (Re/Max Centre).

Action in the single round-robin event continues today with two draws, at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The round robin finishes Friday. The top two teams advance to the playoffs after any necessary tiebreakers. If the first-place rink is undefeated in the round-robin, it will have to be beaten twice to be denied the championship.

The final or finals are set for Saturday, but could be extended into Sunday depending on the number of tiebreakers, in any are required, and if there needs to be a two-game final.

Whichever team emerges as the Tankard winner will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the Tim Hortons Brier March 1-9 in Kamloops, B.C.

Organizations: Curling Club, Max Centre

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Kamloops

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