Manitou crew shocks field

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

Maybe the curling gods really were on their side.

After all, the farmer foursome hail from Manitou, named for the same aboriginal god that gave our province its name.

At any rate, Steve Pauls shocked the field when he upset Portage la Prairie's red-hot Don Spriggs 8-6 in the final of the Safeway Select Southern Berth Bonspiel in Killarney yesterday.

"When things are going your way, they're really going your way," Pauls said from the Killarney Curling Club moments after emerging victorious in a 28-team field that included the likes of Neepawa's Kelly Robertson, Deloraine's Murray Warren and David Hamblin of Morris.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised," said Pauls, 40. "But you come here with the idea that you do have a chance and to get ready for the zones. And we've saved ourselves a trip (to the zones) now. We're feeling ecstatic right now."

Supported by third Clarence Reimer, 42, second Kevin Friesen, 30 and Don McLean, about 25, Pauls is the second squad to have earned a trip to the Select, to be played in Dauphin, Feb. 7-11, 2007.

Virden's Graham Freeman is the other as the top Manitoba team in last year's CTRS standings.

This will be the fifth trip to the men's provincial playdowns for Pauls, but only his second at skip and his first appearance since 2002. His best showing was in 1992 when Pauls went 3-1 before being eliminated by Vic Peters, the eventual champion.

Pauls admitted to playing conservatively against Spriggs, the runner-up to Ontario's Glenn Howard in the World/Manitoba Curling Tour's recent Meyers Norris Penny Prairie Classic.

"We played pretty simple knowing we couldn't afford to make any mistakes against a team like that," said Pauls, who also pocketed $1,800.

In the semifinals, Pauls clipped Brandon's Kevin Cooley 7-6 while Spriggs upended Warren 7-4.

BITER: St. Vital's Jennifer Jones rocked Darcy Robertson of Fort Rouge 10-3 in a Manitoba Curling Tour women's final at Asham Arena last night to earn $5,000. Robertson got $3,500.


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