Martin-Ferbey matchup a non-starter

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:53 PM ET

It was all set up to be the monster match. Instead it was last year's provincial final.

It was Kevin Martin versus Randy Ferbey for the first time in the big game in the big event in the big building in Edmonton. But it was the same game they played in Wainwright last February.

From the moment Martin and men entered the building you could see a firm set of jaw, a purpose of stride, a body language which simply said 'We're the world champions and we're going to play like the world champions, we're not going to make a mistake and good luck with that.'

The Ferbey Four spent the afternoon bent over their brooms, looking down at their feet, looking like they knew for sure they were going to be losers and that it wasn't going to be close and that they'd really rather be somewhere else. Anywhere else.

It was the same Wednesday.

It's like the Ferbey Four has lost to Martin so many times in the last couple seasons – including both A finals, both 1- 2 games and both finals at the provincials in the last two years – they no longer believe they can beat the other team they've shared the town with over their careers.

You could make a case that this one – the most anticipated round robin match at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic curling trials – was over Saturday afternoon.

That's when teams, at the end of practice, are required to throw one rock per player at the button with the combined distance away calculated to settle stuff during the event. Martin's men were first at 43.7 centimeters. Ferbey's fellas were fourth at 89.1.

Prior to each game the last rock throwers for each team toss another one to the button to determine last rock advantage in the game.

“I covered the pin and Kevin covered the pin,” said Dave Nedohin. “It's ridiculous when that happens that they just don't have us shoot again. We've benefited from that rule in the past. But I've always thought it was a silly rule.”

Martin won hammer and blanked the first end.

And then from front to back, Marcel Rocque, Scott Pfeifer and Randy Ferbey started to miss. And Nedohin was in the hack forced to try an around-the-horn, three rock combination shot to try get to the button from the backside. He came close. But Martin had a 3-0 lead.

In Wainwright it was 4-0 and a shake-hands-after-eight 7-3 loss. Wednesday it was 3-0 and a shake-hands after nine 9-5 result.

Ferbey made the statement prior to the heavily hyped game: “It starts at 1 p.m.. Don't be late.”

He was right. It was over at 1:41 p.m..

At the end of the fifth end break Ferbey, down 5-2, went on national television.

“We got off to a horrendous start,” he said. “We've just got our heads up our proverbial butts.”

When it was over, he expanded.

“If they're up 3-0 against us or anybody else, they're likely going to win the game.”

Ferbey said it's amazing the way it's worked.

“We definitely bring out the best in them. Maybe it's us. Maybe we try to be too perfect. It's too bad. The fans were great. It's a great arena to play in. And to lose like this really takes the win out of your sails. Now we need to win both (Thursday). Do that and hopefully we can get in the playoffs, meet them again and return the favour.”

Martin said it's the kind of game they love to play.

“Get off to a good start, get a big three and then hold them to one when they have hammer. They had to take all the chances. They had to gamble like crazy and ended up giving us a couple of easy deuces,” he said.

Martin goes into Thursday at 4-1, where he meets 3-2 Kevin Koe of Edmonton in the morning and 5-0 Glenn Howard Thursday night to end the round robin.

“Hopefully we're in position where a win over Howard would give us first place,” said Martin.

Ferbey is now 3-2 with Koe and Jeff Stoughton. He meets Howard in the morning and Koe in the evening, hoping it's still there for him to make the playoffs against Koe.

Stoughton has Wayne Middaugh and Pat Simmons left. They've only managed one win each.

The games start at 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.. And, uh, don't be late.


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