Kootenay boys, Thomson, Freschi spark Ursel rink to BC Seniors Curling Championship
Bob Ursel and Company set their sights pretty high when Ursel, third Dave Stephenson, second Don Freschi and lead Fred Thomson joined forces back in October— win the BC Senior Men’s Curling Championship.
The Okanagan/Kootenay rink successfully achieved that goal Sunday afternoon in Richmond, stopping two-time defending champion Wes Craig of Victoria 7-2 en route to the BC Senior Men’s Purple Heart.
“The guys are very excited,” Thomson, from Nelson, told The Nelson Daily from Richmond.
Ursel and Stephenson are from the Okanagan while Freschi is a Trail boy.
“For me this is another Purple Heart . . . I now have Mens, a Mixed and a Senior’s title,” Thomson said.
“I’m so thrilled and blessed,” Thomson added. “I’m so thankful for our supporters . . . people from Nelson sending us good wishes through the week.
“This is just overwhelming . . . it was very emotional for us all.”
Thomson admitted the rink was a bit nervous entering Sunday’s final. After dominating the rest of the teams throughout the week — finishing on top of round robin standings with a 6-1 record and hammering Craig 8-1 Friday in the Page Playoff 1-2 contest — the pressure was on the Ursel rink to bring home the Purple Heart.
But getting off to a 2-0 lead after the first end seemed to calm the rink, despite giving up a deuce to Craig in the second.
“We came out strong right from the get-go, getting two in the first end,” Thomson said. “We played strong all week and we were really the team no one wanted to play because we were on fire.”
Thomson said the entire rink, was on fire.
“Bobby (Ursel) read the ice very well all week and (third) Dave Stephenson made everything this week. Satch (Don Freschi) and I played the front end, did some sweeping . . . it was a great week.”
Ursel regained the lead in the third with another deuce before taking over the game with a single point steals in the fourth, fifth and sixth ends.
“When we put this thing together, this is what we wanted to accomplish,” Thomson explained. “We felt pressure playing the final game because anything short of a provincial title would be a failure.
“So winning it and beating the two-time defending champion was kind of a little icing on the cake.”
After finishing in a four-way tie for second with Craig, Castlegar’s Myron Nichol, the Kootenay Rep at the Championships, came up short during the Page Playoff 3-4 game.
Nichol and third Bill van Yzerloo of Castlegar, second Garry Beaudry of Nelson and lead Richard Faunt of Trail lost 8-6 to Craig Lepine of Langley.
Leading 6-4 after six, Lepine scored a trio of points in the seventh before stealing a single in the eighth as Nichol searched for the tying single, or winning, deuce in the final end.
Thomson said following a post-game celebrations, the Ursel rink will refocus on the next challenge ahead, representing BC at the Canadian Senior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships March 28 to April 2 in Digby, N.S.
Yup, once again time to adjust those sights.