It's Martin vs. Furbey

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

They're the two greatest curling teams in the world and have been ever since the turn of the century.

They're both from Edmonton.

And neither can remember, for sure, when the last time they played each other here.

Kevin Martin vs. the Ferbey Four.

"It's been few and far between. It was a long time ago, that's for sure," said Dave Nedohin of the last time.

'NO IDEA'

"You got me. I can't remember," said Randy Ferbey.

"No idea," said Martin. "I don't think we've played in Edmonton since the '90s. It has to go back that far."

The two rinks more or less settled on it may have been the infamous "Rudy Spiel" run by Martin's former teammate Rudy Ramcharan, an event held here in 1999 won by Ferbey, but one from which they have yet to be paid the prize money.

Finally they met again.

It was 1:30 p.m. yesterday in the semi-final of the first event on the trail to qualifying for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The two teams had met only once in the provincial finals since Ferbey beat Martin in the final in Stettler in 2001 before going on to win the first of four Briers by the team.

That was in the opening draw at the provincials in Hinton in 2004 with Ferbey winning, but Martin failed to make the playoffs.

Martin didn't compete in provincials between the two meetings, being part of the Brier boycott bunch.

He failed to qualify for the 2005 Innisfail provincials when the boycott ended.

Last year Martin won provincials at the Saville Centre to get back to the Brier. But the two rinks were in separate pools and Ferbey lost to Mark Johnson of Edmonton in the semifinal.

But there they were yesterday, on the ice against each other at the Saville Centre.

There was no hype. No advance notice.

The match was made in the morning when Jeff Stoughton, John Base, Martin and Ferbey advanced to the semifinals of the event which was the first event on the road to qualifying for the next Olympic Trials.

They waited that long to play each other here and it would have been much ado about nothing if there had actually been any ado.

"It was boring," said Nedohin of the 5-2 loss to Martin's new rink featuring former skip John Morris at third.

The event being more about qualifying than prize money (made up almost entirely from entry fees from the 42 rinks), Ferbey took home $6,650 while Martin went on to beat Base 7-3 in the final, collecting $12,000 for the win, with Base getting $8,000.

"The rivalry is much friendlier than ever before," observed Ferbey when it was over.

"That one today was 'Good shot. Good shot. Good shot. Good luck.'

"I think Kevin and I talked more during that game than we ever had before."

MARTIN AND MORRIS

Martin said Morris was really into it.

"He really wanted to play them this week."

Martin said the rivalry is still there for him.

"With me, it's personal."

It seemed as good a time as any to inform Martin that I'd authored a hardcover book, The Ferbey Four, (Dragon Hill $29.95), which will be in stores in early January and that the book includes a rather juicy chapter on the rivalry that begins with the words: Who "detests" Kevin Martin most? And who "despised" him first?"

Martin harrumphed.

"I don't want to see that book, ever."

"You mean you won't be selling it in Kevin's Rocks & Racquets?" I asked in mock horror.

"I guarantee you it will not be for sale at any one of my 31 pro shops," he said.

The rivalry lives!


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