Pups learn from wily vet

JIM BENDER, STAFF REPORTER

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

The cagey old veteran was lured out of semi-retirement to take three young pups under his wing. And the partnership has paid early dividends for St. Vital's Doug Harrison and his new charges.

Third Taren Gesell, 22, second Scott McCamis, 24, and Andy Melnyk, 22 parted ways with skip Dwayne Small in November, then asked the former Manitoba champion to take over the helm through a third party (Kyle Werenich).

'WORKING OUT FINE'

"I didn't know the three kids," Harrison said after beating Valour Road's Cory Anderson 5-3 in a Safeway Select city zone A final at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club yesterday. "But everything's working out fine.

"I was nine-tenths retired. I'm done with bonspieling every weekend and I've been spending time with my daughter, Melanie (16), who is a competitive swimmer. But these guys are good throwers and I've got that adrenaline flowing again."

It flowed well enough for the 56-year-old Harrison to upset Assiniboine Memorial's top-seeded Kerry Burtnyk on Thursday.

"He didn't really know us from a hole in a head," said Gesell, adding that the three split with Small over philosophical differences. "This was our ninth game together and certainly, we're learning a lot. There's more wisdom in that guy's moustache than in all of our heads."

Yeah, but what about the redhead's famous temper?

"Certain people said he's tough to play for," Gesell said. "But he's just a straight shooter. He tells you when you're off the broom and some people can't take that."

Burtnyk stayed alive with a 7-1 victory over Anderson in a B-semifinal, so there is a possibility that Harrison could meet him again today.

"At least we know we can beat him now," said Gesell, adding that he remains friends with Small.

Meanwhile, Granite's seventh-seeded Bill Kuran is getting closer to digging up his very first provincial appearance. A gold prospector in his spare time, Kuran pelted Pembina's Les Hooper 7-3 in another A final.

"At least we're guaranteed a game for a Select spot now," said Kuran, 37. "The last five years in a row now, I've lost a final game for a spot. Once you've paid your dues, it's time for it to pay off."

Kuran finished second on the MCT standings with $16,000 this season.

"I'm playing with more confidence knowing these guys can make the shots behind me," said Kuran, supported by third Justin Richter, 24, second Chad Barkman, 26 and Adam Guenther, 20. "They never get down on you and they're great brushers."

In the other A finals, Kevin Gromnisky of Deer Lodge upset Valour Road's Howie Restall 9-8 in an extra end; James Kirkness of Fort Rouge, No. 4, sunk St. Vital's Doug Riach 6-1; Granite's sixth-seeded John Bubbs beat St. Vital's Richard Muntain 9-6; Elmwood's Pete Nicholls downed Valour Road's Craig Strand 8-5; and Valour Road's Collin Sundell clobbered Mike Mahon of Deer Lodge 12-4.

Nicholls then eliminated St. Vital's fifth-ranked Dave Smith 6-5 in a B semifinal.

Grain Exchange's second-seeded Dave Boehmer was also hoping to stave off elimination on the late draw.


Videos

Photos