Team Rob Nobert didn’t make the same mistake twice on his way to capturing the inaugural Torchlight Brewing Classic at the Trail Curling Centre on Sunday.
The team comprised of skip Nobert, third Kelly McQuiggan, second Adam Cseke and lead Cam Weir curled to a decisive 6-1 win over Team Matthew McCrady in Sunday’s final to claim the first leg of the BC and World Curling Tour.
“I love coming home to our host rink,” said Nobert. “I spent a lot of time here playing with the some great guys, and these guys played great this weekend, the ice was fantastic and everything just kind of worked for us.”
The Vernon team went 5-1 over the weekend, suffering their only loss to Team McCrady in the round robin, 5-3 in extra ends.
“We learned we just have to keep our focus, we lost it a bit on that game, so we have to keep the pressure on those guys and force them to make tough shots,” said Nobert.
Nobert defeated Team Sebastien Robillard 9-2 in the semifinal to set up the rematch with McCrady.
McCrady’s talented U23 team consists of World Junior champion Alex Horvath at third, second Breyden Carpenter and lead Logan Miron. The team advanced to the final following an 8-6 victory over Team Neil Dangerfield.
In Sunday’s final the teams were tied at 1-1 though three ends, but Nobert stole two in the fourth end when McCrady missed a difficult raise takeout.
Nobert again forced McCrady into a tough shot in the fifth, and the New Westminister skip made a double-raise take out to lie one with his first rock. However, Nobert deftly hit and stuck for shot rock, and the U23 skip came up light with his final rock to hand the Vernon team another steal of two and a 5-1 lead.
In the sixth, Team Nobert set up the end to perfection with two rocks buried behind a wall of guards. McCrady made a skilled shot to remove one, but left Nobert with shot rock and a steal for the handshake and a 6-1 victory.
“Any time you can steal one or two and keep that pressure on them it does wonders,” said Nobert. “It inflates our team and deflates their team so that’s something you always want to keep doing.”
The teams will continue to compete in the BC and World Curling Tour events. With seven more events scheduled, the team with the most Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) points in five events will earn a berth in the BC Curling Championship.
With the win, Nobert takes home $4,000 of the $10,000 pot with $2,800 going to second place, and $1,600 to third.
Organizer and Trail Curling Centre ice maker Mike Williams says he was impressed with the calibre of play, and satisfied with Trail’s first try at the BC Tour event.
“I think it went over well,” said Williams. “We have some growing pains and being our first event it’s something that we’ll learn from and make some improvements going forward.”
COVID had an impact on the number of teams that attended, with the minimum eight teams competing. The Trail event also conflicted with the Olympic Pre-Trials, a priority for top curlers. Still, Williams hopes to make it an annual stop on the BC and World Tour, and expects a bigger and better response in the future.
“I think next year and the next two years we can see some really big names come here, some international teams and maybe we’ll have a full house viewing as well.
“We had some top quality curlers here,” said Williams. “McCrady’s team has Alex Horvath playing for them who is a World Junior champion with Tyler Tardi, so we definitely had some talented, high-quality curlers here. And nothing against Rob Nobert, he’s a BC champion as well.”
Nobert won the 2005 BC Curling Championship with local Kootenay curlers Deane Horning of Castlegar, Trail’s Don Freschi, and Fred Thomson from Nelson.