In a contest between the hometown Virden favourites, Team Graham Freeman and a Carberry rink, Team Marnoch, Freeman won over Marnoch 6-4. It was the longest and by far, the closest game in the first draw of the Manitoba Viterra Men’s Championship.
Fans were on the edge of their seats.
Curling with Skip Freeman were Dwayne, Cory and Kevin Barkley.
Team Marnoch included 2nd Branden Jorgensen of Cromer, who also curls out of Virden Curling Club.
Fans were on the edge of their seats watching a back and forth game.
“I knew it would be a coin flip with those guys, we’ve curled them so many times,” said Cory Barkley, the 2nd on Team Freeman.
Teams accustomed to curling on club ice, as many rural teams are, were scrambling to adjust. Finding draw weight.
“It’s keen and really swingy, more than we are used to with six to eight feet of curl in spots. We are used to maybe three or four,” said Barkley. “Club ice just doesn’t curl like that so its quite a learning curve. You’ve got to pick up on it fast.”
First end, Graham Freeman’s team took a point. Kelly Marnoch’s team took two, the next. The third end was blank and after that it was single point ends. Marnoch had the hammer, but Freeman scored a point in the 10th end for six points in total.
Attempting a difficult thin shot, Freeman threw a rock that sailed right through the house.
In the 10th, with a well guarded house, Freeman chalked up two points.
“We had trouble with guards the whole game really, we couldn’t quite get it figured out,” said Barkley. “Freeman threw a couple of good ones there and Kevin (playing 3rd) made a couple nice shots. We needed both of those, that kind of sealed it for us.”
Barkley commented that neither team played as well as they had hoped.
A full house on several ends, saw both teams taking time-outs, twice and with 38 minutes for the game, Barkley said, “We were down to the wire.”