Big fifth the difference

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- They brought their bitter Battle of Alberta to Manitoba pebble and this cold-ice war victory hinged on a six-pack.

Kevin Martin cracked a six in the fifth end to snap a 2-2 tie, then slid to a 9-4 triumph over his nemesis, Randy Ferbey, in the last McCain SuperSpiel West final at the Portage Curling Club last night.

"We knew it would be a tough game and it was for the first four ends," Martin said. "We don't play each other often but there's certainly a little, uh, intensity out there."

Two of the best teams in Canada since the turn of the century have been at odds ever since they had differing viewpoints on the controversial Grand Slam.

"We don't like each other," Ferbey said with a smile. "I've got friends on the team and they're obviously a great team. Obviously, I'd rather play an easier team if there's such a team out there."

Supported by third Don Walchuk, second Carter Rycroft and Don Bartlett, Martin earned $15,000, a berth into the last McCain TSN Skins Game, to be held in Bathurst, N.B., Dec. 4-5 and a spot in the new Canada Cup West Bonspiel, to be played in his Edmonton hometown, Dec. 15-19.

It was a record fourth SuperSpiel title for Martin in the last one as McCain is pulling out as the title Skins sponsor after 16 years.

"I love the Skins Game and, to have the opportunity to go to the last one means a lot to me," Martin said. "I'm going to have a lot of fun with it and hopefully, everything goes right. I would sure love to play (Ontario's Wayne) Middaugh in the final. That would be fitting."

Ferbey, who settled for $9,000, lamented the loss of the SuperSpiels.

"It's not only the Skins Game that's disappearing but it's another event on the (World/Manitoba Curling) Tour that's disappearing, which isn't good," he said. "Somebody's going to have to step up to the plate and get some more spiels going because we're in trouble if it continues on this pace."

In that fateful fifth end, Martin was already counting two when he threw a delicate tick-off his own rock, then nudged out Ferbey's third shot, which vice-skip David Nedohin had just buried behind a guard, to score the six-pack.

"Dave's last one was perfectly placed," Martin said. "He didn't make it easy in any turn in any way. He made it perfect but you know you're there cliff-hanging. As long as I wasn't heavy at all, we were going to get three, no matter what and it just happened to work out just right. I got the tick and ended up getting a whole bunch. That was big. That was the ball game."

Ferbey concurred.

"Kevin made a real good shot on his last one," he said. "Kevin played really well (yesterday) and that's to be expected from them."

Martin derailed Petersfield's Dave Boehmer 8-5 while Ferbey flattened fellow Albertan John Morris 9-1 in only four ends in the semifinals. Both Boehmer and Morris won $6,000.

"That's very nice," said Boehmer. "It's a lot better than a lot of other teams did in this spiel."

Manitoba's Ryan Fry, James Kirkness and Graham Freeman, as well as Alberta's Ted Appelman, got $3,500 each after losing in the quarter-finals.

BITERS: There are already rumblings here that the SuperSpiel will be replaced by a less-illustrious MCT event ... Deloraine's Murray Warren earned $2,500 when he won the MCT's Hamiota Men's Cash Spiel ... Manitoba's Krista Novotny and Lois Fowler pocketed $2,500 by qualifying at a Saskatoon cashspiel.


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