Howard, Middaugh on same Page

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Glenn Howard will get another shot at his close friend.

After losing to Wayne Middaugh on Wednesday at the 2005 Ontario men's curling championship in Whitby, Howard won both of his games yesterday to improve to 7-1. That's the same record Middaugh owns, and with just one draw remaining in the round-robin, Howard and Middaugh are assured of meeting tomorrow in the Page 1-2 playoff game.

"If you told me at the beginning of the week I would be there I would have been really happy, and now I am," Howard, of the Coldwater & District Curling Club, said last night after beating Andrew Fairfull of the Guelph Curling Club 10-5.

"The only bottom line against Wayne is who is going to have the hammer. I guess we have been the best two teams through the week. We have some unfinished business."

Howard is competing in the provincial final for the 17th time. The winner of the Kia Cup goes to the Tim Hortons Brier in Edmonton next month.

Earning a berth in the 1-2 playoff game (between the first- and second-place finishers) is crucial. The winner will advance directly to the final, but the loser will not be eliminated. Instead, it will play the winner of the Page 3-4 game (between the third- and fourth-place finishers) in a semi-final, with the winner playing in the final.

Earlier yesterday, Howard beat Brian Lewis of the Huntley Curling Club 6-4. Middaugh got one in the 10th end last night to get past Don Mills native Greg Balsdon, representing the Guelph Country Club, 5-4.

There's a logjam after Howard and Middaugh as five other rinks jockey for the final two playoff spots and tiebreakers. Balsdon and Peter Corner are 5-3, and Brian Lewis, Bryan Cochrane and Nick Rizzo are 4-4.

In one of the day's earlier games that pitted two cousins against each other, Middaugh recorded five in the ninth end to erase a two-point deficit and beat Corner 10-7. One of Corner's rocks picked in the end, setting up Middaugh for a draw and the margin of victory.

"I know Wayne talked about sitting down and eating Christmas dinner together. I gave him an early Christmas present, that's for sure," Corner said. "Everything that (could have) went wrong in that ninth end went wrong. We outcurled them for 8 1/2 ends but if we keep curling like that, we will find ourselves in the playoffs. We are playing too well to be grinding it out."

Josh Adams, looking for his first win, was up 3-0 on Cochrane last night after three ends but wound up losing 9-4. Adams, 0-8, is the lone skip here without a win.


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