Nelson's Thompson comes oh so close to provincial title

Nelson's Fred Thompson (middle) in Saturday's final with Bill King (left) and Don Freschi (right) on the brooms.
— image credit: Guy Bertrand photo

At the BC Senior’s Curling Championships in Trail on Saturday night, Langley’s Craig Lepine broke up a tight defensive battle with three in the ninth en route to a 5-2 win over the Tom Shypitka rink from Cranbrook that included Nelson’s Fred Thompson. The Lepine rink will now represent the province at the Canadian Senior Curling Championships in Summerside, P.E.I. from March 16 to 24.

After defeating Myron Nichol's foursome from Castlegar in the event’s semi-final where Shypitka stole four points over three ends and doubled Nichol 8-4, Thompson’s team — that also included Trail's Don Freschi and Fruitvale's Bill King — were in a good position to capture the event.

In the final Shypitka and Lepine combined to blank four of the 10 ends.

That's not to say there wasn't some opportunities. With the score tied 1-1 after four ends, 13 rocks were in play when Lepine threw his final stone in the fifth. After much deliberation from both sides, Lepine's final rock managed to score one to spot his team a 2-1 lead at the break.

Two more blank ends followed  before Shypitka scored one in the eighth to tie the game at 2-2.

Then came the fateful ninth when Lepine's final stone raised his rock enough to squeeze in for three and dramatically shift the momentum of the game.

"I thought my third was letting it curl too much," Lepine told the Trail Times. "It missed by an eighth of an inch. I don't think it had to be that tight."

Holding a 5-2 lead in the 10th, Lepine ran Shypitka out of rocks to seal the win.

Lepine was a men's provincial champion in 1990.

The final capped off a great week of curling at the Trail Curling Club, which drew plenty of spectators including a standing-room only crowd for the men’s and women’s championship games (Lepine’s wife Karin captured the women’s side).

The players were treated to the usual Trail hospitality and the army of volunteers made things run smoothly.

"I think the organizing committee did a tremendous job," said Mel Lungle, Curl BC's liaison.

"When you have eight sheets of ice going all at the same time, particularly in the case of on-ice officials, scorekeepers, timekeepers, it's quite an onerous task getting that many volunteers. And they came through with flying colours."


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