For curling fans who have become accustomed to a lot of guards in play, Monday’s Manitoba Credit Unions Masters Men’s final at Assiniboine Memorial provided a reminder of the games of years past.

(l-r) Murray Warren, Brian Barker, Terry Warren, Reg Warren, Credit Unions rep Craig Giesbrcht

Undefeated Murray Warren had last rock in the opening end. He got the hoped for miss and put a deuce on the board. Warren and Mark Franklin traded singles over the next four ends in a game with few guards in play.

On the sixth end, Franklin finally got his miss and tied the score with a last rock hit. Franklin’s seventh end high centre guard was immediately followed by a Warren draw to the top eight foot and that got the game going. Warren’s last rock of the end was a hit on a Franklin stone cornered on one of his own behind the centre cover. The idea was to drive his own onto shot stone and stick for a two. He curled up enough to make the raise takeout but rolled out to score only one and lead 5-4 coming home.

The last end came down to the final four shots. Franklin had two buried but a pair of stones covering the centre line, staggered. Warren drew to bite the four foot with ‘maybe an inch’ peeking out. Franklin picked it out. Warren repeated the draw – got to the eight foot for shot stone but with more available to hit. Franklin over-curled and rubbed the guard leaving Warren a steal of one and a 6-4 win.

Murray Warren, Brian Barker, Terry Warren, and Reg Warren will represent Manitoba at the National Masters at Pembina Curling Club in November.

(11AM: Monday, April 11) WARREN-FRANKLIN MASTERS MEN’S FINAL: After running a seven game unbeaten string to finish the round robin with a 7W-0L record, Greg McGibbon’s Granite team has suffered their second defeat to bow out of the Manitoba’s Credit Union Masters Men’s championship at Assiniboine Memorial.

Mark Franklin (also Granite) blanked three ends after McGibbon stuck for one trying to blank the first end of the morning semi-final. McGibbon played the centre guard to start the fifth. That end turned into a deuce for Franklin when he made a delicate tap-back past the centre to remove shot stone. A stolen single on the sixth gave Franklin’s team a 3-1 lead playing seven. McGibbon’s team could get nothing going and his last rock triple-kill attempt yielded a steal of two more.

Up 5-1 coming home, Franklin ran McGibbon out of rocks to advance against the still unbeaten defending champion Murray Warren team in the 1PM final game.

Greg McGibbon & Peter Nicholls consider where to put the next stone – down four playing the seventh end, they needed a three and scored it. But it was not enough!

(10PM: Sunday, April 11) WARREN INTO FINAL; MCGIBBON – FRANKLIN SEMI-FINAL IN MASTERS MEN’S: Defending Champion Murray Warren remains undefeated at the Manitoba Masters Men’s championship. Warren gave up three to Greg McGibbon on the seventh end but still led by one coming home in the Page 1-1 game at AMCC. They won it with a last rock draw facing two. Warren’s brothers Reg & Terry are among the best sweepers in the competition and they were tested on that last rock draw. They responded well, dragging the last shot into the eight foot and winning by about a foot.

The red Franklin stone was touched by Gord McTavish’s last rock draw through the port but stayed shot stone to win the game

The Warren team advances to the Monday 1PM final. McGibbon will play Mark Franklin in the 9AM semi-final after Franklin beat former champion Gord McTavish 6-5 in an extra end Page Playoff elimination game.

Down one coming home, McTavish’s last rock draw to the four foot rubbed a guard and the Pembina team scored only one to force the extra end. On the extra, Franklin established a rock on the front of the button early in the end and it never moved until McTavish rubbed it with a near impossible last rock attempt.

(6:30PM: Sunday, April 10) COLWELL WINS MANITOBA MASTERS WOMEN’S FINAL: Judy Colwell and her East St. Paul team have won the Manitoba’s Credit Unions Masters Women’s final today at Assiniboine Memorial. For Colwell and her team-mates (Wendy Nykoluk, Donna Smiley, Leslie Brown) it is a first Manitoba title.

Credit Unions rep Arthur Harris with (l-r) Judy Colwell, Wendy Nykoluk, Donna Smiley and Leslie Brown

Colwell defeated Sandra Cowling and her Hamiota team, and her two-time defending Manitoba Women’s Masters champions in the afternoon final game.

The 8-6 game, turned in the fifth end. Leading 5-3, Cowling made a last rock hit and roll to lie shot rock partially buried and partially cornered on a pair of Colwell stones in the back of the house. Colwell played a light weight tap-back which curled across the face of the Cowling stone and tapped it back enough to count three and take a 6-5 lead.

The sixth end gave the spectators lots to talk about. The strategy by both teams seemed to be “fill the house with stones”. A slightly overweight guard attempt by Cowling pushed a Colwell stone to second shot stone position in the four foot and when Colwell’s last stone also ended up in front of the rings, Cowling elected to settle for a single and threw her last rock to the boards. The score was tied 6-6 after six ends.

On the seventh, Colwell missed a ‘kill’ opportunity. Her last stone tap-back over-curled, and slid through the rings -resulting in a deuce rather than a possible four. Up two coming home, Cowling was unable to build an end and Colwell made a last rock kill to win the game.

The Colwell team will represent Manitoba at the Canadian Masters Championship event at Winnipeg’s Pembina Curling Club in November.

Sandra Cowling was probably fortunate not to give u7p more than one on the fourth end. Throwing red, her last rock wide out turn tap attempt, leaving one yellow biting the button.

(3PM: Sunday, April 10) COWLING-COLWELL MASTERS WOMEN’S FINAL; MEN’S PLAYOFFS SET Sandra Cowling and her Hamiota team, the same line-up which won the 2016 Manitoba Senior Women’s title, defeated Laurie Deprez (Stonewall) 8-5 Sunday morning to advance to the final game of the Manitoba Credit Unions Masters Women’s championship at Assiniboine Memorial.

Cowling gave up a steal of one and a 3-3 tie after four ends but broke the game open with a four on the fifth.

Cowling’s team will play Judy Colwell (East St. Paul) at 4PM in the Masters Women’s final. The winner will play in the national Masters at Pembina CC in November.

On the Masters Men’s side, the playoffs are set. Murray Warren (Brandon) and Greg McGibbon (Granite) both finished the round robin undefeated. They’ll meet in the Sunday evening Page 1-1 game.

The 2-2 elimination game features two teams whose only loss has come to the unbeaten leaders. Mark Franklin (Granite) beat Jim Renwick (Brandon) to finish 6W-1L behind McGibbon. Gord McTavish, hoping to be a home team at the national event in November, is also 6W-1L after winning the last round robin game over Dale Brooks. Coincidentally, the scores of those two 2nd place games were both 7-2.

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