Hamblin takes Tour by storm

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

It was the type of victory that could become the defining point in the progression of a young team's curling career.

Manitoba's David Hamblin, just three years out of junior, scored his biggest triumph in men's competition at a prestigious World Curling Tour event in New Westminster, B.C. on Monday.

Hamblin scored three three-enders as his Morris foursome defeated Alberta's Olympic silver-medallist Kevin Martin 11-7 in the final.

Big boost

"It's a big boost for us to prove that we can win at the highest level," the 2002 junior men's world champion said just after arriving back in Winnipeg yesterday. "We've won some spiels in Manitoba but to win at the national level is a really good step for us."

Not to mention the $16,000 cheque the squad will cash.

"This will likely get us enough points to get into the Canada Cup West and it helps us towards our goal of getting to the (2005) Olympic trials," said Hamblin, supported by third Ross Derksen, second Kevin Hamblin (his brother, who re-joined the others out of junior this season) and Ross McCannell -- the same four that won the world junior title.

Hamblin, 22, currently leads the Manitoba/Saskatchewan standings of the Canada Cup Bonspiel Series (CCBS) with 16,000 points. His team is also third on the Canadian Curling Association's Canadian Team Ranking System (Martin tops those standings).

"David had a fabulous weekend and it's just a huge boost to their confidence," said Lorne Hamblin, David's dad and coach. "They've been working hard but there's still lots of work left to do."

Martin, who had won 16 straight, was gracious in defeat.

"We've seen these guys before and they're good," the two-time Brier champ told Grant Granger of the Burnaby NewsLeader. "It's good to see some young talent coming up. You've just got to hold them down as long as you can. That's who's going to take over and that's fine.

"Generally, it takes a few years out of junior just because of the strategy involved. It's hard for a young person to learn enough. Obviously, they played well."

Hamblin was not intimidated by Martin.

20 minutes

"We only had 20 minutes between games so, we didn't have much time to think about it," he said. "It was all a blur. But all of the teams at that level are really good anyway. We started off the week struggling but we finished it off right."

Hamblin had already been identified as a Manitoba team of the future.

"Over the next two to five years, there will be a bit of the changing of the guard," he told Granger. "(Jeff) Stoughton is obviously still right on top of the world of curling and we're doing what we have to do to catch him consistently, but that's where we're headed. We're trying to get to the level they're at."

Hamblin will play in another WCT spiel in Medicine Hat, Alta., this weekend.

BITERS: Manitoba's Allan Lyburn and Dave Boehmer are third and fourth, respectively, on those CCBS standings ... Manitoba's Jennifer Jones moved into second on the women's side when she won $7,000 in Calgary on the weekend.


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