Manitoba's trials-bound Jeff Stoughton has decided to stick closer to home for his last tune-up before heading to Halifax.
Stoughton pulled out of a World Curling Tour event in Nipawin, Sask., this weekend, opting to compete in the Manitoba Curling Tour's Pharmasave Gimli Classic instead.
"We were a little nervous about the ice conditions in Nipawin," Jon Mead, Stoughton's third, said yesterday. "Not that it's bad ice but we expect the ice to be a little more suited to us in Gimli.
"So, we can try to get a few more things done here closer to home."
This will be the last spiel that Stoughton enters before competing at the Canadian Curling Trials early next month.
The Nipawin event organizers could not be reached for comment.
"I don't blame them for being mad," Mead said. "But it's a great field and it's not like they need us there. Half the trials field will be there. But if they want to keep our entry fee, that's fine with me."
Alberta's Kevin Martin and John Morris, Nova Scotia's Shawn Adams and Mark Dacey, and Newfoundland's Brad Gushue are the trials-bound squads that will be in Nipawin. But second Garry Van Den Berghe simply laughed at any suggestion that Stoughton is avoiding them.
"None of us really wanted to go to Nipawin in the first place, there was just nothing else on the schedule," he said from his Vernon, B.C. home.
"So, rather than go, we decided to go to Gimli, then go to Halifax with full confidence."
Van Den Berghe, by the way, is still recovering from a backyard accident where he lost two teeth and is currently wearing a brace and two false teeth. He still curled at the recent Grand Slam in Nova Scotia but had to sip post-game drinks through a straw.
CASHING IN: Saskatchewan's Gerald Shymko beat Valour Road's Vic Peters 7-6 in last night's final at the W/MCT's White's Drug Store Classic in Swan River.
Peters advanced to the final by pasting Petersfield's Dave Boehmer 10-3 in a semifinal. Peters earned $11,500 and the Shymko took home $6,500. Shymko downed Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock 7-6 in an extra end in the other semifinal.
SENIOR SPIEL: Heather's John Bubbs advanced to last night's final of the MCA's McDiarmid Lumber Senior Men's Bonspiel with a 7-3 semifinal victory over St. Vital's Don Rudd at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club. Bubbs was playing Brandon's Brian Fowler, who clipped Reg Malanchuk of Fort Rouge 7-5 in the other semi. The winner was to earn a berth into provincials, to be played in Melita in early March.
BITERS: Elmwood's Peter Nicholls defeated Valour Road's David Bohn 5-3 in the men's final of the MCT's East St. Paul Cash Spiel late Sunday to earn $4,500. Bohn got $2,500. On the women's side, Janet Harvey of Fort Rouge nipped St. Vital's Karen Porritt 9-8 in an extra end to win $2,500. Porritt pocketed $1,200 ... Oops, Saskatchewan's trials-bound Jan Betker actually won last weekend's cashspiel in Estevan, Sask., earning $5,000, and was not eliminated in a quarter-final as was reported here yesterday.