The Richards rink rallied in the playoffs, but came up short against a strong side from Kamloops in the women’s final of the B.C. Junior (U21) Curling Championships, which wrapped up Sunday at the Comox Valley Curling Club.
Skipped by Courtenay’s Gracelyn Richards, the team includes Keelie Duncan of Comox (third), Grace McCusker of North Vancouver (second) and Duncan’s Carley Hardie (lead). The girls went 3-2 during pool play, then beat Team Buchy 8-7 in a Saturday playoff game. The girls had lost to Buchy in the qualifying round.
They then beat Team Bowles 11-5 Saturday night — again defeating a team that had beaten Richards in qualifying — to set up Sunday’s final against the Hafeli rink, the only undefeated team during pool play. The score was tied at three after five ends, but the Kamloops side prevailed 9-3 in the end.
“They’re always a tough battle. They played super, super well, and they totally deserved the win,” Richards said.
“We went the hard route (to reach the final), but we played really well. Super proud of the girls, super proud of our week.”
Coach Adam Duncan wasn’t sure if his team was going to reach the playoffs, but said the girls managed to sneak in on the last game, last day.
“We got on a bit of a roll but we ran into a bigger train today,” he said. “Holly Hafeli — she out-threw us. She was really good.
“We’ve played them many times,” Duncan added. “They’ve beat us and we’ve beat them.”
The Parkinson rink was the local favourite among six boys teams. Skip Chris Parkinson and lead Graham Lee are members of the CVCC. Their teammates are Jackson Nowak (third) of Qualicum and Christian Klein-Beekman of Parksville (second). The boys went 1-4 for the week.
Earlier in the season, Team Richards won the U18 girls provincial championship, while the Parkinson rink was runner-up in the boys division at U18s. Both teams will compete at the national junior championships in Oakville, Ont. the first week in May.
“We’re super excited,” Richards said. “This (U21s) was more of a prep. We’re really proud of how far we did come in this competition.”
A Go Fund Me site is raising funds to help offset expenses for both teams at nationals. To contribute, visit bit.ly/3tgbiE4