Earns berth hard way

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- The Silver Fox avoided what could have become a controversial conflict.

Because Virden's Graham Freeman already had a Safeway Select spot as Manitoba's top CTRS team, Portage la Prairie's Don Spriggs figured he already had a provincial berth before facing him in the men's final of the Labatt Manitoba Curling Tour Championships last night. However, the original MCA rule stated that an eligible team had to win the championship outright to get that spot.

Adjust rule

Although MCT event co-ordinator Bob Picken plans to get that rule adjusted, it all became academic when Spriggs defeated Freeman 7-3 at the Portage Curling Club last night -- and earned the Select spot outright.

"It feels great," said Spriggs, who will be making his 20th provincial men's appearance at the 2007 Safeway Select in Dauphin, Feb. 7-11. "We felt we were in charge of the (final) in Killarney (berth bonspiel) and kind of felt we should have won that won so we've had enough seconds already this year."

Supported by third Dean Moxham, second Barry Pugh and Dale Michie, Spriggs also won $7,000.

"This is probably the best we've done as a team in any event this year," said Spriggs, whose knee has been bothering him. "This is probably my last year unless I get an operation because it's just too painful."

Freeman earned $4,000.

In the women's final, Springfield's Jan Sandison stole one in the 10th end to barely eke out a 7-6 victory over the promising Holly Scott of Gilbert Plains.

"It's pretty great to win this," said Sandison, supported by third Tammy Schoenrath, second Cheryl Tresoor and Jill Proctor. "The field's not as strong as it could be (with eight teams at the Canada Cup qualifier in Ottawa) but our team still had to make its shots. It still had to play pretty good here."

Sandison pocketed $3,000 while Scott settled for $1,500.

Although Sandison has already earned a provincial berth, she threw her support behind the MCT winner getting an exemption into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts like the men do.

"The fact that the numbers in the zones are down and the MCA is willing to change it up, we've got to take advantage of it," said Sandison, an MCT director who won this championship at third for Karen Young 10 years ago. "I mean, we only had two teams in our (rural) zone."

Sandison added that there may be a proposal to scrap the zones altogether and hold a series of berth bonspiels around the province.

The MCA plans to review the women's format next month.


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