Better the last chance than no chance at all.
And without some of the usual speed bumps around, Mickey Pendergast will get his shot at a sixth visit to the men's provincials.
"From an entirely selfish standpoint, it'll be nice not to have Morris and Armitage at the southerns," Pendergast said last night, two days after earning the
A berth out of the last-chance 'spiel in Crossfield to qualify for southerns.
Under a new Alberta Curling Federation format, Calgary's John Morris earns a bye into the Kia Cup provincials in Innisfail, Feb. 9-13, as the Canadian team ranking system leader at the end of last season.
Rob Armitage gets a berth as the Alberta Bonspiel Series runner-up, as do ABS champ Mark Johnson of Edmonton and, of course, defending provincial champ Randy Ferbey of Edmonton.
Three spots at provincials will come out of the southerns at Drumheller starting Friday and Pendergast said his team stands a good shot at taking one of them.
"We really didn't perform all that well in the city playdowns," he said. "You get one more chance left and you have to come up with the shots. We played an awful lot better at the last chance. It was nice to see we could come up with the shots when we needed them."
It was also nice to see Lady Luck swing a few other stones in a different direction, wasn't it?
Pendergast admitted he got a little lucky in the A final, when he beat Calgary's Greg Northcott 7-5 Saturday.
"He had a shot to win that picked up something halfway down the sheet," Pendergast said. "It isn't always the best way to win but it's happened to me before so it goes both ways. And what's the old saying? The better I'm playing, the luckier I get. Something like that."
But Pendergast, third Dean Mamer, second Matt Lemna and lead Kevin Pendergast aren't about to get all full of themselves because they're in the southerns.
No, they've already learned that lesson this season.
After finishing runner-up to Pat Simmons of Manitoba and collecting a cool $6,000 last October, the Calgary rink fell flat.
"We were streaky," Pendergast said. "Up in Lloydminster, we won our first two and then faltered. In Red Deer, we won our first three and then lost three in a row."
ON THE ROCKS: Medicine Hat's Leon Moch and Calgary's Greg Anholt got the other last-chance berths to the men's southerns ... Harold Breckenridge (Inglewood), Frank Morissette (Calgary) and Lloyd Heller (Medicine Hat) captured the three District 2 senior men's berths in Carstairs on the weekend. They advance to the southerns in Okotoks, Feb. 4-7 ... The seven women's teams entered in the Dist. 3 playdowns at Calgary Winter Club Wednesday through Sunday automatically earn spots at the southerns. Of the 33 men's teams playing, 11 will win berths.