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Just one close call in first draw of Tankard curling championship

Middleton Curling Club is hosting the Provincial Masters.

Andrew Symonds beats Colin Thomas 8-6, other opening games have early finishes

Three of the first four games played in the Tankard provincial men’s curling championship ended early Monday night. The fourth, a matchup between two teams considered among the top contenders at the event, was pretty much as advertised, going down to the final before it was decided.

That latter game saw Andrew Symonds scored twice with the hammer in the 10th and final end for an 8-6 win over Colin Thomas.

Elsewhere at the Re/Max Centre (St. John’s Curling Club, the results were not nearly as close as rinks skipped by Frank O’Driscoll, Greg Smith and Adam Boland all posted lopsided wins in games that finished after just eight ends.

O’Driscoll downed Paul Harvey 10-4, Smith beat Dave Thomas 11-3 and Boland defeated Justin Lockyer 8-1.

There are nine teams entered in the event — Trent Skanes’ foursome was idle Monday — and all, except for Dave Thomas, who is from Port aux Basques, play out of the Re/Max Centre.

The teams are competing in a preliminary round-robin, with two draws a day (2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) from today through Friday.

The playoffs, including any necessary tiebreakers, begin Friday, leading to a championship game Sunday.

The eventual winner will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2018 in Regina in early March. It will also be the first team in more than a decade to wear N.L. colours at the Brier and not be skipped by Brad Gushue.

Gushue guided the last 11 provincial champions and won the 2017 Brier at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, meaning he and his rinkmates will be designated Team Canada as defending champs in Regina.

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