Three deuces decided the winning hand for Les Eglauer in the OK Tire Men’s Bonspiel.
Eglauer counted a pair in the first, fourth and sixth ends before running Aaron Bartling out of rocks in Sunday’s 6-3 final at the St. Albert Curling Club.
It was a workmanlike performance by Eglauer, a St. Albert resident, the noted Jim Wallbank at third, Don Bridgewater, a five-time city mixed champion, at second and the young Mike Lambert at lead.
“We played a pretty conservative game to be honest,” said Eglauer of his 5-2 Big Rock Edmonton Super League team curling out of the Saville Community Sports Centre. “The fourth and the sixth ends were a little bit fun. We bowled a bit for a little while.”
Bartling, the last rock shooter for third Darcy Hafso, second Rod Hafso and lead Doug Riopelle, was unable to match what Eglauer dealt him.
“They got three deuces on us and each time was because of a mistake that I made so the game was closer than the scoreboard,” said Bartling, the 2011 Canadian Fire Fighters Curling Association champion at third for the John Morris rink and the 2015 finalist as skip for the Alberta reps.
The first end could have gone either way but Eglauer used the hammer to nail down two points.
“Winning the toss was crucial,” joked Wallbank, a familiar face on the Edmonton and area curling circuit.
It was basically the turning point in the match.
“I guess we had a chance in the first end to put them in a little bit of trouble and made one mistake,” Bartling said. “They’re a super strong team and they didn’t miss ever since getting the lead so we never really came back.”
The second end was blanked and another clean house was shaping up in the third before Bartling’s hit and stick for one.
An eventful fourth end featured several rocks behind coverage as both rinks took their time plotting strategy to rearrange the house before Eglauer knocked out Bartling’s shot rock for two.
The next end, Bartling settled for one with a draw and Eglauer replied with a hit and stick for two in six.
The seventh end included a hogged rock by Rod Hafso, en route to an open house for another Bartling draw for one to trail by three and Eglauer in control entering the eighth.
Winning the final was worth $325 that game for Eglauer and the loss left Bartling with $175.
“Today was our best game. Last night we played really well too,” Eglauer said. “We didn’t miss very much.”
Eglauer’s 4-0 bonspiel run started against McConnell and continued against Klatchuk and Fleming for a shot at the championship in the 20-rink competition.
“Our first game wasn’t our best game. We started out really rocky and we had to rally towards the end,” said Eglauer, noting they were up against a “hot-shooting skip.”
Bartling swept past a rink called the iPods, plus McKay, Findling and Rouault en route to the final.
“It was a very good weekend. Myself, Darcy and Rodney are all cousins so it’s nice the family gets to play together,” said Bartling, who curls in the Thistle fire fighters league. “It’s actually our fourth year in a row of playing together in this one event. It was excellent fun.”
Eglauer is another fixture at the annual St. Albert bonspiel.
“It’s a fun spiel. They do it well. We started a few years ago and had a lot of fun so we keep coming back,” Eglauer said. “With this team, I guess it’s two years in a row now. Last year we played really well, we just lost the wrong game and missed the wrong shot so it was a little bit of retribution today.
“Last year we lost the third game (against the five-time champion, Mike Hutchings) and dropped to the E so we’re really happy there is no E event this year.”