Alb. curlers kings of rings

CHAD SCARSBROOK

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

The battle of Alberta is no longer confined to the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames.

Four of the eight teams that qualified for the quarter-finals of the BDO Classic Canadian Open were from Alberta, including Randy Ferbey, Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe and Mark Johnson.

"Four out of eight qualified, and (Don) Walchuk's no slouch," said Martin after knocking out Ontario's Wayne Middaugh in the quarters yesterday. "This year you've got five teams that are just lethal. A betting man says one of the five will come out (of Alberta to play at the Brier). But who knows who? Hopefully you have a good week.

"It will be whoever's hot because everybody's just real good."

Johnson made it to the finals of the Alberta provincials last year before bowing out to Martin.

Koe is skipping for the first time in years after serving as a third for John Morris -- who joined Martin's team this year.

Ferbey said winning the provincials would be about as hard as winning a Grand Slam event.

'DISAPPOINTED TEAMS'

"I think everybody knows that Alberta is probably the toughest province now in Canada so someone's gotta be playing very well and there are going to be four or five disappointed teams that would probably do just as well as the winning team," he said. "So it's going to be tough."

Ferbey outlasted Johnson in a quarter-final game yesterday in a performance he wasn't incredibly happy with.

"It was an up and down game, we could have very easily lost that game," said Ferbey. "It was perseverance. We just kept playing and playing and got a break at the end.

"We made the right shot at the right time."

SIGNING: The Ferbey team will be signing copies of the book The Ferbey Four by Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones today on the MTS Centre concourse immediately after the noon final. It's a book Martin, a noted rival, likely won't be sporting on his bookshelf.

"I can't see it, no," he said with a smile. "But that's OK."

BITERS: Manitoba junior women's champ Calleen Neufeld took on 2003 world champion and 2006 world silver medallist Debbie McCormick in an exhibition game during the semifinals yesterday. The game was a tune-up for Neufeld, who will leave Thursday to compete at the Canadian Junior Men's and Women's Championships in St. Catharines, Ont. ... A random draw will take place during today's final from a compiled list of 145 teams across the world who scored an eight-ender. The winner will receive the World Curling Tour's Asaham eight-ender award -- $8,000.


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