By Michael Nesbitt
SUMMERSIDE – Skip Scott Saunders, with Glen Josephson, Alan Darrach and Bruce Lohnes from the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax, N.S., bested Rod MacDonald’s Charlottetown Curling Complex rink to win the Journal-Pioneer cashspiel on Sunday afternoon.
The final score of the championship game, played at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club, was 8-5.
MacDonald made it to the final with a 7-6 win over clubmate Robert Shaw 7-6 in one of two Sunday morning semifinals. Saunders advanced with a 6-3 win against Charlottetown’s Jamie Newson.
Anthony Purcell’s rink from Halifax earned the consolation title over Blair Weeks of Charlottetown.
The Saunders rink earned $1,800 for the win, and MacDonald’s team was awarded $1,200 in the Atlantic Curling Tour event. The semifinal teams earned $900 each, with the consolation prize being $600.
Saunders was impressed with the ice conditions at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club. He guessed it took only about two shots to get used to the ice because it was so good, and remarked that the quality extended across all six sheets.
“It made it easy to play any kind of shot,” he assessed. “It was fun playing these games.”
Saunders opened the final match with a deuce, counted a double in the third end for a 4-1 lead, drew for a single in the fifth end and kept in front through the sixth end.
“It made it easy to play any kind of shot. It was fun playing these games.” - Skip Scott Saunders
MacDonald and his teammates, John Likely, Mark O’Rourke and Peter MacDonald, kept pressing with two in the fourth and another deuce in the sixth to tie the match 5-5.
Saunders recognized that there were great shots played throughout the match, and was thankful that his team’s successes counted the points they did.
“They (MacDonald rink) chipped away at our lead because I made a couple of not-quite-perfect shots,” he admitted.
Saunders was concerned that he might get forced to one as a worst-case scenario in the seventh end, noting that MacDonald’s offensive efforts could overtake him with a double in the final, eighth end.
“My thinking was that I had to just continue to do what I was doing, just finish it off better with my final shots,” offered Saunders.
He made good on that effort in the seventh, registering three points. From there, he just worked to let the math of declining opportunities determine the outcome.
“They didn’t miss very much,” said MacDonald. “They played well.”
MacDonald, a Summerside native, was satisfied that his team was able to get some games in as they start the senior circuit.
“We played our game,” said MacDonald. “We played well all weekend. I was quite happy with they guys.”