The match of the day turned out to be no contest. Morris' David Hamblin, the defending MCA Men's Bonspiel grand aggregate winner, thumped reigning Manitoba Curling Tour champion Renaud Gagne 8-4 yesterday afternoon in Dugald.
"It was definitely a big test for us, and we came out shooting pretty well," Hamblin said.
Then, with his 7-5 win over Rorketon's Scott Furevick last night, Hamblin became one of 18 teams that were a perfect 6-0 prior to last night's late draw.
Hamblin is still searching for a spot in next month's Safeway Select men's provincial championship in Selkirk, and the final five berths are available through the MCA Men's Bonspiel, which began Thursday and will wrap up on Wednesday.
"We're feeling very good," Hamblin said. "We're getting a little better each time, and today (against Gagne) was a good example of that."
Gagne's Select hopes evaporated last night when he lost his second straight game, 10-8 to Fort Rouge's Don MacDonell.
PURSUIT OF PERFECTION: Assiniboine Memorial's Kerry Burtnyk, the most notable name still searching for a Select berth, improved to 6-0 last night with a 6-5 win over unaffiliated Don Rudd, who was the lead for Vic Peters when they won the 1992 Brier.
Other Select hopefuls who improved to 6-0 last night were: St. Vital's Bill Kuran, Deer Lodge's Sean Grassie, St. Vital's Doug Riach and the Heather's Adam Norget.
Wildewood's John Bubbs and Valour Road's Randy Dutiaume, also in need of provincial berths, were 5-0 going into the late draw.
OUT OF CONTENTION: Ste. Anne's Murray Woodward, who made it to the semifinals of last year's Select, won't be going back to the provincial championship this year.
Woodward was already on one leg when he fell 7-5 to St. Vital's Doug Harrison yesterday afternoon.
SHORT WORK: Aside from defaults, likely the shortest game of the MCA was played last night in a minor event match at the Thistle.
Ken Ringaert, who curls out of the Heather, scored seven in the first end against Fort Rouge's Paul Armstrong. In the second end, Ringaert had five counters prior to Armstrong's last rock.
Armstrong, sensing the inevitable outcome, didn't throw his last stone and instead shook Ringaert's hand.
PEBBLES: Prior to last night's late draw, 30 of the 467 rinks remained undefeated ... A key match today goes at 9 o'clock this morning at Fort Rouge. Valour Road's Dan Kammerlock, who is now on one leg after a 6-2 loss last night to Kuran, takes on Doug Jordan's unbeaten Portage rink ... Global TV's David Bastl apparently curls as well as he handicaps the NFL each week for The Sun -- not well. Bastl and his Global rink lost their first three games 11-6, 11-2 and 10-3, and they followed those up yesterday with setbacks of 7-4 and 6-0. Bastl finally stopped the bleeding last night with an 8-4 win over Rossmere's Andrew Allerton ... The Canadian Curling Association announced this week that this year's Brier finalists will both win $40,000, while the third- and fourth-place finishers will take home $30,000 and $20,000, respectively.