McEwen rink a work in progress

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

Much of the past curling season was looking like one that Valour Road's Mike McEwen would rather forget.

The two-time junior provincial champ had been playing third for James Kirkness but decided to return to skipping this year. However, trying to keep the same foursome together has proved to be problematic. First, McEwen lost lead Andrew Melnuk to a hernia early in the season. Then, third Justin Richter was demoted to second, and he eventually left the squad in November.

"We've kind of had a different guy in the lineup every weekend since then," said McEwen, who still managed to upset clubmate Vic Peters, the No. 3 seed, 6-3 in an A-side final of the Safeway Select city zone playdowns at the St. Vital Curling Club yesterday.

"That was pretty good, because we hadn't played together as a foursome before because this is the first spiel our second, Dave Chalmers, has played with us. So that gives us a bit of confidence and you know you've got a shot at it (Select spot) on Sunday."

Chalmers played third for McEwen when he won the 1998 Manitoba junior title but had not been playing competitively because he is now with the RCMP.

"Yeah, he'll keep us in line," said McEwen, also supported by third Matt Wozniak and lead Bryce McEwen (his cousin). "He won't have any of us thrown in the drunk tank or anything like that."

Peters was then bounced 8-7 by clubmate Sean Grassie in a B-side semifinal at the Thistle last night. Now, Peters will need to earn a trip to this year's Select in Steinbach through the MCA's 118th annual bonspiel, which starts this Thursday.

"You're always anxious to get to a Select and to Steinbach, because it's the first time it's ever been there and it being our hometown," Peters said before being eliminated.

Although both Peters and long-time second Chris Neufeld hail from Steinbach, their sons, Daley (the third) and Denny (the lead) grew up elsewhere.

"So it's not the same for them," Peters said. "But they definitely want to get to the Select. My son's just one year out of juniors, so this is his first real chance at trying to get to one. It's been a fun year playing with the kids, and hopefully we can take it one step further."

But now, they will have to do it the hard way.

In other A zone finals, Valour Road's top-seeded Dave Boehmer nipped Deer Lodge's surprising Lee James 8-7; Valour Road's Ryan Fry flailed Fort Garry's Robert Baldwinson 9-2; Elmwood's Peter Nicholls defeated Jay Defoort of Fort Rouge 8-4; Valour Road's Mark Lukowich lashed Mark Franklin of Fort Rouge 8-2; Granite's Howie Restall clipped clubmate Gord Green 6-5; and Valour Road's Dave Smith nipped Granite's John Bubbs 7-6.

In other action, Granite's Bob Sigurdson eliminated Valour Road's sixth-seeded James Kirkness 7-1.

Play wraps up at both the St. Vital and Thistle today at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


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