Veteran Vernon skip Mark Longworth and his teammates Dean Mackney, Greg Hamilton and Ron McDougall had an opening day to forget as the BC Senior Men’s Curling Championships began Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Vernon Curling Club. (Roger Knox- Black Press)

Okanagan rinks have mixed results as BC Seniors Curling finals begin

A total of 15 rinks are competing in Vernon for right to go to nationals in Manitoba

One defending champion had a good opening day at the B.C. Senior Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships at the Vernon Curling Club Tuesday.

The other did not.

Wes Craig of Duncan is off to a 2-0 start in the eight-team men’s field. Craig and Nanaimo/Kerry Park teammates Steve Waatainen, Keith Clarke and Craig Burton began defence of their title with a 7-5, extra-end win over hometown favourite Mark Longworth and his rink of Dean Mackney, Greg Hamilton and Ron McDougall. Down 5-2, Longworth forced the extra end with one in the seventh end and a steal of two in the eighth and final end.

Craig, a four-time B.C. senior men’s champ, then scored a 7-4 win over the Kelowna/Royal City (New Westminster) rink skipped by Mike Slattery, who is 0-2.

The Kelowna/Comox Valley rink skipped by Steve Wright improved to 2-0 with a 7-0 win in six ends in the afternoon draw over Longworth (0-2).

Craig and Wright are in a four-way tie for the lead at 2-0 with 2000 Brier and World Men’s champ Brent Pierce of Royal City and the Team Macdonald rink of Kelowna/Marpole (Vancouver), which has Richard Brower throwing skip stones. The other four rinks are 0-2.

READ MORE: Top senior curlers converge on Vernon

The 2019 senior women’s championship rink of skip Marilou Richter of Penticton, third Dawn Everest of Kelowna, second Cindy Curtain of Penticton and lead Deirdre Riley of Kelowna lost their opener in the seven-team event, 9-1, to Marnie Jepsen of Royal City/Howe Sound/Comox Valley. Richter is 0-1 after having the bye in the afternoon draw.

Donna Mychaluk and her Royal City/Parksville crew won both their games to sit atop the standings at 2-0. Four-time winner Penny Shantz and her Parksville/Nanaimo/Comox Valley rink are 1-0 after a 5-4 victory over Heather Nichol’s Castlegar/Trail/Nelson team. Three rinks are tied at 1-1 while Nichol is 0-2.

Play continues with games at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The finals go Sunday.

The provincial winners will represent B.C. next month at the Canadian championships in Portage la Prairie, Man.

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Sweepers Cindy Curtain of Penticton (left) and Dawn Everest of Kelowna (right) look for guidance from skip Marilou Richter of Penticton on Deirdre Riley’s (centre) stone during the opening draw of the BC Senior Women’s Curling Championships Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Vernon Curling Club. The Okanagan rink got off to a shaky start in defending their provincial title, falling 9-1 to Marnie Jepsen of New Westminster. (Roger Knox - Black Press)

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