Smith forges strong start at Tankard

John Browne
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Wins both games on opening day

Ken Thomas, second for the Baz Buckle-skipped rink out of Corner Brook, gets down low to check out angles during an opening-draw game against Alex Smith of St. John's in the Labatt Tankard provincial men's curling championship at Stephenville's Caribou C

Alex Smith couldn't have done any better than a 2-0 start, but his St. John's rink isn't making too much out of its perfect beginning to the 2009 Labatt Tankard provincial men's curling championship in Stephenville Tuesday.
Smith pulled out a 7-6 extra-end win over Baz Buckle of Corner Brook in the opening draw before doubling clubmate Geoff Cunningham 10-5 in the second draw at the Caribou Curling Club.
When reminded that there are probably tougher games ahead, Smith laughed before replying: "Well, there's Mr. Gushue," referring to defending provincial champion and Olympic gold medal winner Brad Gushue who is 1-0 after beating Rick Rowsell of St. John's 6-2 in the opening draw.
Smith, and his Re/Max Centre rink of third Andrew Symonds, second Mark Healy and lead Peter Hollett, won't get the opportunity to go head-to-head with Gushue until the last day of the round-robin Saturday.
Buckle had counted three in the 10th end to tie the close match against Smith.
"Yeah, he made a phenomenal shot to get three," said Smith who then responded by drawing to the eight-foot for the win.
Smith's second win of the day was much easier as he scored three in the seventh end for an 8-4 advantage and never looked back.
"Everyone on the team," he said, was "solid throughout" the game against Cunningham.
While the rink's off to a great start in the Tankard, Smith admitted the team has been inconsistent at times this season.
"We've been hot and cold all year," said Smith who hoped his team would put it all together for the provincials.
The Smith foursome has a busy schedule today with games against Jeff Staples at 9 a.m., Dean Branton at 2:30 and Ken Peddigrew at 8 p.m.
The Tankard winner, which will be decided Sunday, will represent Newfoundland and Labrador in the Tim Hortons Brier March 7-15 in Calgary.

Standings and scores Monday at the Labatt Tankard in Stephenville were:
Alex Smith 2 0
Brad Gushue 1 0
Keith Ryan 1 0
Gary Oke 1 0
Jeff Staples 1 1
Dean Branton 1 1
Geoff Cunningham 1 1
Ken Peddigrew 0 1
Rick Rowsell 0 2
Baz Buckle 0 2
Tuesday's results
Draw 1
Alex Smith 7, Baz Buckle 6
Brad Gushue 6, Rick Rowsell 2
Dan Branton 7, Ken Peddigrew 5
Geoff Cunningham 8, Jeff Staples 4
Draw 2
Keith Ryan 8, Rowsell 5
Staples 6, Buckle 5
Gary Oke 8, Branton 4
Smith 10, Cunningham 5
Today's schedule
Draw 3, 9:30 a.m.
Peddigrew vs Oke
Smith vs Staples
Gushue vs Ryan
Draw 4, 2:30 p.m.
Branton vs Smith
Peddigrew vs Cunningham
Rowsell vs Staples
Buckle vs Gushue
Draw 5, 8 p.m.
Gushue vs Staples
Oke vs Rowsell
Smith vs Peddigrew
Branton vs Ryan

Organizations: Labatt Tankard, Caribou Curling Club, Max Centre

Geographic location: St. John's, Stephenville, Corner Brook Newfoundland and Labrador Calgary

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Recent comments

  • Capture the Flag
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    It is nice to see a men's curling picture in the paper other than a picture of Brad Gushue. Kudos to the Telegram

  • Capture the Flag
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    It is nice to see a men's curling picture in the paper other than a picture of Brad Gushue. Kudos to the Telegram