Jordon McDonald, a twice Manitoba champion skip last year, and his young Deer Lodge team have won the first Viterra Championship berth of the season.
(r-l) McDonald, Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Cam Olafson, Coach Blaine Malo defeated Kelly Marnoch (Carberry) in eight ends today in Minnedosa to win the first of two men’s championship berths available this weekend.
An early key shot came from the left hand of third Reece Hamm. The teams had traded singles after a blank first end. With McDonald holding the hammer, Marnoch had half buried his own stone fully in the 8-ft circle behind one of his own stones. Hamm’s runback was perfect, removing the Marnoch counter and guard and they went on to score a deuce. The two opint lead at that point allowed the Deer Lodge team to dictate play and singles in ends 5 and 6 provided a 4-point lead; not insurmountable in some games but today it was.
The McDonald team includes half of both of the young Deer Lodge skip’s TWO champion teams from last season. With Hamm and Huminicki (and Alexandre Fontaine) Team McDonald won the U-18 title and with Huminicki and Olafson (and Jace Freeman) Team McDonald won the U-21 title. McDonald and Hamm (with Huminicki as team alternate) also posted a respectable 2W-2L in last year’s Viterra Championship in Selkirk, winning two before losing back to back qualifying games.
The Marnoch team has a second chance today. A second berth game will pit them against Jeff Stewart (Gladstone) who defeated Jay Kinnaird (Virden) to advance to the berth game.
Trailing by two playing end #8, Kinnaird came oh-so-close on an attempted highlight reel double kill. His hit on a rock in the back eight foot – jumped straight sideways and contacted an opposition stone frozen to the face of his own stone in the back of the rings. He moved it but not far enough and scored only two to tie. Kinnaird stole one on end #9 to lead coming home but a last stone guard overcurled, allowing Stewart a hit on the button without having to stick. He made the shot for two and the win.
In the Scotties berth bonspiel, Beth Peterson (AMCC) will play Abby Ackland (AMCC) for the first provincial Scotties berth to be earned this fall. Both games are scheduled for 6PM in Minnedosa.