Thomas digs deep for win

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Charley Thomas, of no fixed address, made off like a thief with his second straight Alberta junior men's curling title.

A brilliantly-designed steal of five in the eighth end broke open a tight final, giving Thomas a 7-2 win over Drayton Valley's Aaron Sluchinski.

It was a culmination of a draining day for Thomas and his Calgary Curling Club foursome. Thomas battled back from a 4-0 deficit after one in the morning semi against Edmonton's Shawn Donnelly.

By the time his day was done, Thomas had about enough of living dangerously.

"I'm so glad it's over,"' said Thomas, who had dropped his last two round-robin games.

"As soon as we gave up the four, we just said if we don't turn this around real quick, we're done."

Instead, Thomas is headed for the national juniors Feb. 3-11 at St. Catharine's, Ont. with a chance for a record-tying second straight world junior title. He'll be joined by rinkmates Brock Virtue, Matthew Ng and Kyle Reynolds.

Home for the curling vagabond? Born in Victoria, Thomas moved to Calgary as a four-year-old and got most of his curling training there.

During a two-year stint as a student in Grande Prairie, Thomas made two provincial appearances, culminating in a world title last year. A trio of his former rinkmates made the drive down from Grande Prairie and were first in line to shake his hand.

Now studying astrophysics at the U of A, Thomas reached back to his junior roots to pick up Virtue and Ng from the venerable club on Memorial Drive.

Thomas started the week at 5-0 when his team did not win any game by less than five rocks. Then, they had to bounce back from a late bungee plunge.

"Actually, the way it worked out, we took the hard road,'' said Thomas, who spotted Sluchinski a 2-0 lead in the final.

"It showed our character - how we handled the pressure the whole game.''


Videos

Photos