Take 2 for Howard

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

It's do-over time for Glenn Howard. Howard's foursome from the Coldwater and District Curling Club is back in the provincial men's curling championship, after losing to Mike Harris in the same game a year ago.

Howard's team earned a berth in the championship game at the Iroquois Sports Centre in Whitby after beating Toronto St. George's Wayne Middaugh 6-5 yesterday in a Page Playoff game, featuring the top two teams in the round-robin.

Middaugh, whose team finished first overall, beat Peter Corner of Hamilton Glanford 9-4 last night in the semi-final to qualify for the final.

Middaugh won the final four years ago. He purposely didn't qualify until this year while pursuing the World Curling Tour.

"The bottom line is you can't win (the final game) unless you put yourself in that position and we were able to get ourselves in that position, which I'm so pleased about," Howard said.

"Whatever happens (today) happens and hopefully, we can come out on top. If we play (in the final like in the Page Playoff), I think we've got a good shot at it. If we don't win, we don't win, but I want to keep getting in that position.

"It's always a long year when you lose. Obviously, coming second is not on the top of my list. I was proud of last year. We had a great week and Mike Harris rose to the occasion and made some great shots as did (vice) John Base and they beat us. That's the game of curling, but we've got ourselves back in that position again and I can't ask for anything more."

Howard has won the championship game four times before, but his vice Richard Hart has been denied three times, including twice in the 1990s playing for Harris against Howard teams.

"I would be disappointed if I don't get a chance to go to a Brier," he said. "How many chances do you get? Maybe I'm lucky (this will be the fourth time). Maybe I need to make use of this one. It could be your last. These things don't keep rolling along. The first two we were young and were really inexperienced.

"Last year we kind of squandered it and Mike beat us. Who knows, this could be my last chance. I hope not. Anyway, we're going to give it our best."

Middaugh has been openly critical of the tournament rules that don't automatically award the round-robin winner a bye to the final. And Howard isn't fond of the rules, either, in particular that his win over Middaugh in the playoffs won't entitle him to last-rock advantage.

"I don't like (the system), I don't think it makes any sense," he said.

Howard's team capitalized on an off-game by Middaugh and his vice Graeme McCarrel.

Middaugh, in turn, pounced on numerous mistakes by Corner, who conceded after eight ends.


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