Cotter returns to Tim Horton's Brier after capturing third straight Canadian Direct Insurance Curling Championship
There are going to be a lot of familiar faces at the 2016 Tim Horton’s Brier in Ottawa.
And Jim Cotter is one of them.
The Vernon skip reeled off six consecutive victories en route to his third consecutive BC Men’s title at the 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance Curling Championships Sunday night at the Nelson Curling Club.
The clincher came in the final as Cotter, third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrell Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky defeated Sean Geall of New Westminster 7-6.
“It feels great,” Cotter said following the victory.
“I owe it all to my teammates. They are phenomenal guys who made a ton of shots, more shots than I made.”
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said second Tyrell Griffith.
“We’ve been going through the process all week, but this feels phenomenal. Anytime you can win this event to go to represent your province is just amazing. And when that last rock hits that’s when you mind can kind of come off the game.”
Sunday was the second time in as many days that Cotter had knocked off Geall, who advanced to the final by stopping Dean Joanisse of New Westminster 4-2 in the semi final earlier in the day.
The Geall rink includes third Andrew Bilesky, Steve Kopf and lead Mark Olsen.
Saturday, the score was 5-1 in favour of the Okanagan rink in the Page Playoff 1-2 contest after Cotter won the A event and Geall the B event.
Sunday, Geall gave the defending champion all he could handle, coming within a few key shots of pulling off the upset.
The first turning point of the game happened in the third end when Geall missed on his final attempt, allowing Cotter to steal one for a 2-0 lead.
However, had Geall made that attempt, the rink would have scored four.
“I think a quarter inch less curl and we would have scored four,” Geall lamented.
“It was one of those situation in the game where we just came out on the wrong end of it.”
The second turning point occurred in the eighth end when Geall again had the opportunity to steal a point after closing the gap to 4-3 with a deuce in the seventh.
This time, however, Geall’s final stone was a bit heavy allowing Cotter to pull off the double takeout to score three and grab a 7-3 lead.
“They had us in trouble there in the third end and if Sean makes that it could have been a different game . . . and he wasn’t far off,” Griffith explained.
“He was only maybe an inch away from making that shot. But fortunately we got a couple of breaks — his rock came a little heavy in eight, and left Jimmy a great opportunity to score three.”
Cotter & Company now have a few weeks off to prepare for Ottawa March 5-13.
Griffith said the rink will return to a bit of normalcy, work and family life, but will be back on the rink training to represent BC in at the Tim Horton’s Brier.
Which Geall believes the rink will do just fine.
“They’re a classy bunch,” said Geall, who was at the Brier representing BC in 2009.
“They’re a heck of a good team . . . they do a lot of things right and they’ll compete hard in a couple of weeks.”
EXTRA END: Of course in any major event there are a few hiccups along with way. Saturday night, when Sportsnet was setting up to televise the final two game Sunday, a manlift used to install new glass in the lounge area, caused a huge crack in the ice. Icemakers worked until 5 a.m. Sunday morning to make sure the ice was ready for the final two games. . . .The final two games saw the best crowds of the week as curling fans from throughout the West Kootenay turned out to watch the best in BC.