La Salle skipper heads back to provincials

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

He spent the summer wondering if he would even curl this season.

But only three months into the current campaign, La Salle's Randy Neufeld has earned his seventh trip to the men's provincial championship.

Neufeld clobbered Carberry's Kelly Marnoch 10-2 in the final of the Northern Berth Bonspiel in The Pas yesterday.

"It's a crazy game," Neufeld said from The Pas Curling Club shortly after his victory. "It feels good, you never get sick of (going to the provincials), and it's special for Corey because it's his first time."

His new third, Corey Anderson, 37, earned his first trip to the 2007 Safeway Select, to be held in Dauphin, Feb. 7-11.

"We didn't even have a team until very late because I didn't know what I was going to do," said Neufeld, 44. "I was so busy with Baseball Manitoba last summer that everything was all up in the air. We even played in the West (Kildonan) spiel at the start of the year without a third."

Neufeld, whose son, Jason, has a baseball scholarship in Kentucky, was the GM of the Youth Select team.

Anderson replaced Charlie Salina at third. Still supported by second Birk Cramer, 45 and Scott Podolsky, 39, Neufeld also earned $2,000.

Neufeld lost last year's Northern Berth Bonspiel final to Neepawa's Kelly Robertson in Thompson. He avenged that loss by beating Robertson 6-4 in the semifinal. Marnoch had bounced Brandon's Terry McNamee, the reigning Manitoba Mixed champion, 7-2, n the other semifinal.

Neufeld finished in the final four of last year's Select, his best showing ever.

"I hope we can do as well this year," said Neufeld, whose daughter, Calleen is the defending junior women's provincial champ. "But there are so many good teams there that you just hope to play well and get some breaks along the way."

Neufeld will join Manitou's Steven Pauls, who won the southern berth spiel, and Virden's Graham Freeman, the top CTRS points-getter, at the Select.

STONEWALL SPIEL: Assiniboine Memorial's Kerry Burtnyk defeated Asham Arena's James Kirkness 7-6 in the men's final of the World/Manitoba Curling Tour's Interlake Pharmacy Classic in Stonewall last night. Burtnyk won $10,000 while Kirkness settled for $6,000 ... In the women's final, Barb Spencer of Fort Rouge defeated St. Vital's Jennifer Jones 10-7. Spencer's squad took home $5,000 while Jones won $2,500.


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