Ferbey Four look for moreAvonair rink will be the favourite for fourth straight Brier
By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun
HINTON -- The Ferbey Four.
Formerly the Ferbey four, a head count became a title here yesterday and a theme to take to Saskatoon for the Brier.
Yesterday they matched Ron Northcott's Alberta record of four consecutive crowns and now head in the opposite direction on the Yellowhead highway to try to match Ernie Richardson's record of four Brier titles and go where nobody has gone before by winning four in a row.
The most amazing run in the history of curling almost came to an end here yesterday, but a rink which is now one Brier away from filing claim as the greatest team in curling history refused to lose.
Marcel Rocque, Scott Pfeifer, Randy Ferbey and Dave Nedohin did more here yesterday than knock off Kurt Balderston 8-5 to take the title - they knocked off any asterisk anybody wanted to put beside their names.
They're going to the Brier. Kevin Martin, Jeff Stoughton, Kerry Burtnyk, Wayne Middaugh and the rest of the best of the boycott-the-Brier bunch of Grand Slam guys who tried so hard to devalue the accomplishments of the Ferbey rink while they were away, aren't going to be there.
"I've been telling everybody that there are more than four rinks in Canada," said Ferbey, who left it at that.
"No one has a God-given right to get to the Brier," said Nedohin.
SLUGGISH START FOR WINNERS
For the longest time here yesterday, the team which has now won 26 straight games at the Alberta Curling championships, and is an equally mind-boggling 31-1 against the best from the toughest curling province in the country, looked like the curling gods had caught up to them.
"We couldn't help but wonder for a while there if our time was going to be up," said Nedohin when, despite going into the final with last-rock advantage, they found themselves down 3-1 after giving up steals on two consecutive ends.
Pfeifer was more graphic than that.
"I was (crapping) my pants after four ends."
Ferbey said experience ended up winning the day. A lot of teams would have come unravelled but this one didn't.
"Randy kept saying, 'Be patient,' " said Nedohin. "Being down two isn't the end of the world."
Nedohin tapped back for three in the fifth and the Avonair rink stole two in the sixth and ended up running the Sexsmith squad out of rocks.
"They are the best team on the planet from lead to skip," said Balderston's lead, Del Shaughnessy.
"I give a lot of credit to Marcel. There damn sure isn't a better lead than him."
Rocque accepted the compliment but said he feels like he's just along for an incredible ride.
"Dave (Nedohin) is the best ever, by far," he said of the rink's last-rock thrower. "Randy knows so much about the game. And Scott is an amazing talent."
That said, the run was almost done here early yesterday as the Ferbey Four trailed 3-1 going into the fifth end. This time the pressure of everything at stake almost got to them.
"That's as nervous as I've ever been before," said Rocque.
"I think we all felt it more here than we ever have before, at any provincials, any Brier or any world championships. It just felt so different in the change room before the game. We were a little tighter than ever before. We definitely had the nerves and the jitters. And then when we got down like that in the first four ends ...
"We just didn't want to let it all go."
Pfeifer said in the end it made it all so much more sweet.
"I can't wait to step on the ice at the Brier in Saskatoon," he said of the March 6-14 national event, which will be held in Edmonton in 2005.
'IT'S AN UNBELIEVABLE FEELING'
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Ferbey. "There is only one reason I play this game and that's to get to the Brier. It's amazing to be able to do this again and again and again and again."
"We feel like the Nokia Brier trophy is ours because we're the only rink ever to win it and we intend to bring it back to Alberta again," added the skip of the rink which last year became the only team in history to go 13-0 in the Brier and put together a 35-4 record at the big show in the last three years.
In the end, this team can't lose for winning.
Rocque's wife Raylene won $1,606 in the 50-50 draw while her husband was throwing a rock in the ninth end.