Howard edges Cochrane for Tankard title

DOUG GRAHAM, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 PM ET

NAPANEE — Glenn Howard is heading to his 12th Brier after a record-setting performance at the Ontario men’s curling championship.

The Coldwater rink completed a perfect seven days of curling with a 5-3 last-shot win over the Rideau Curling Club’s Bryan Cochrane Sunday before a sellout crowd of 1,400 at the Strathcona Paper Centre.

Howard, third Richard Hart, second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill of Ottawa became the first rink in the 87-year history of the provincial championship to win five straight titles.

Howard, who also went to seven Briers as the third for his brother Russ Howard, has now played in 22 Ontario men’s championships, coming away the winner a dozen times — the last five as a skip.

Howard, 47, said it was not only a great week for his rink, but also a cure for the team’s blues after losing out to Kevin Martin for the right to play for Canada at the Olympics.

“That loss to Kevin was devastating. We’re not over it yet,” said Howard, who is from Midland and now plays out of the Coldwater Curling Club.

“That’s the best part of our team. We get right back up on the horse. We knew if we went out there and played to our ability, we’d have a good shot at winning.”

Howard won the trip to the Tim Hortons Brier in Halifax next month with a big-time, out-turn draw to the four-foot in the 10th end. Cochrane’s rink had battled back from a 4-1 deficit with a steal of one in the ninth, making it 4-3 heading into the final end.

Cochrane had the tying and winning rocks counting at the left side of the house — one top of the top 12-foot and the other at the back 12-foot — but Howard made no mistake with his last shot.

It was a gritty performance by Cochrane, whose only trip to the Brier was in 2003. He was 9-1 in the round-robin this year, with the only loss coming against Howard. After losing 6-4 to Howard in the Page Playoff 1-2 game Saturday, Cochrane earned another shot at him by defeating Brampton’s Peter Corner 12-5 in a semi-final Sunday morning.

“They’re a great team, let’s face it,” said Cochrane.


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