Charley Thomas and his team of Mick Lizmore, Brandon Klassen and DJ Kidby, from Crestwood Curling Club in Edmonton put a lock on first place in Pool B of the Home Hardware Road to the Roar Olympic Pre-trials event at Eastlink Arena in Summerside Friday night with an 8-3 win over the Brendan Bottcher rink from the Community Sports Centre in Edmonton. Thomas opened up a 7-3 lead with a deuce in the seventh and sealed the deal with a steal in the eighth.
Thomas finished round-robin play at 5-1 in the standings, leaving four teams to fight it out for the second and third play-off spot all tied with 3-3 records, Bottcher among them. Also still in the hunt are Dayna Deruelle from Brampton, William Lyburn from Winnipeg and Greg Balsdon from Kingston, Ont. Dereuelle got into tiebreaker position on the basis of his 7-5 victory over Lyburn in the 8 p.m. draw and Balsdon remained at three wins after losing his final game 7-6 to Winnipeg’s Pat Simmons . Simmons and Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard finished out of range for a tie-breaker with 2-4 records.
The Pool A games on the late draw were attention-getters, one between two of the biggest names in the game, Glenn Howard and John Morris, and the other featuring a Regina team skipped by Prince Edward Islander Adam Casey.
Morris forced the game to an extra end with a single in the tenth, but it was Howard who got the point in the extra end for a 4-3 win. Howard finished round-robin play with a perfect 6-0 record.
Casey was up against Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson. Both teams entered the game with 2-3 records and needing the win to move into a tie-breaker scenario for third place. Gunnlaugson, who curled 98 per cent in the game, made it through with a 5-3 victory. Casey finished tied with Mark Bice from Sarnia and Colton Flasch from Saskatoon with 2-4 summaries.
So, Thomas takes first based on his winning record. That much is certain. Curl Canada was still consulting around midnight Friday on the potential tiebreakers for Pool B.
For Pool A, the schedule is set. Morris gets second place, based on his wins against Murphy and Gunnlaugson, and that leaves Murphy and Gunnlaugson to play for third place. Their tiebreaker game goes Saturday at 7:30 a.m.