Club curler crowned

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

Meet Lionel Walz. Long-time curler, first-time provincial winner.

Self-described as a competitive club curler, the Pembina skip turned it up a notch yesterday, capturing the Manitoba senior men's curling title with a 10-6 win over Valour Road's John Bubbs at Fort Rouge Curling Club.

"I can't believe it yet. It's a great feeling," said Walz, grinning from ear to ear after his big win. "You curl so much, and to come together like this and play solid, consistent curling the way we did, we deserved to win.

"We really played well this week."

Walz, along with Bill Menzies, Laurie Leclair and Brian DeRiviere, will represent Manitoba at the Canadian championship in Trois-Rivieres, Que., next month.

They are also the first Pembina team to capture a provincial senior men's championship.

"You curl all your life and to finally win ...," Walz said. "I coached a girls' team (Meghan Adams) in '97 and had the Buffalo on my back, but, man, this one's going to feel quite a bit better for sure."

The unseeded Walz squad finished first in its pool but lost the 1-vs-1 Page playoff game to No. 2-ranked Bubbs on Sunday night. Walz bounced back yesterday morning with an 8-5 win over No. 1 seed Brian Moffatt of Brandon in the semifinal.

In the rematch with Bubbs yesterday afternoon, Walz and Co. made almost every shot they attempted, kicking things off in style with a steal of three in the opening end.

Bubbs, who won the 2003 provincial men's crown, fought back to make it 5-5 after six ends, but Walz responded with three in the seventh and never looked back.

"He made a lot of great shots in the game," said Bubbs, who was supported by Arnold Asham, Shawn McCutcheon and Terry Gibb. "We put a lot of pressure on him several ends, and he still managed to get off the hook a little bit."

Walz, who works for Journeys Travel, said not being seeded may have helped his team in the long run.

"Here the pressure's on the seeds," he said. "All the teams are at a pretty good calibre, and we didn't mind not being seeded. It worked out for us."


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