The annual Schooner Cash Spiel was held at the club From January 18-20 and was another huge success. The maximum number of sixteen teams competed all weekend before we crowned an overall champ on Sunday afternoon. Curlers came from the Schooner Club, the Sydney Curling Club, the Strait Area Club and as far away as Halifax.
Play got underway on Thursday night to avoid a logjam in the draw on Friday. In these two early games, the Coralie Ayre rink took out the Chris Slugger MacLeod rink and skip Wally MacDonald and his team were victorious over the team skipped by Rick Windsor. Play in round one resumed on Friday evening with the first draw starting early at 6pm. This draw saw the Todd Mercer rink from Sydney defeat Keith MacEachern of the Schooner and Kurt Roach defeated Philip Edwards, both of these rinks coming from the Sydney Curling Club. MacEachern's team was a late entry after one of the sixteen teams originally entered was forced to withdraw. The 8pm draw would see three Schooner teams take the ice with Brian Laughlin taking on Gordie Cormier and John Donovan going up against Kenny Keough of Sydney. Cormier and Donovan would be winners and remain in the top bracket. The final draw of the night would see Chris Granchelli take on Bubbs Stone in one game while the second game had Sebastien LeFort taking on Donnie MacCuspic of the Strait Area Club. Granchelli and MacCuspic won those matches and stayed in the top division. On Friday night, everyone was not only treated to great curling but some great entertainment as well when the club hosted an open mic night that featured Owen MacLellan. A good crowd was on hand as Owen and a few other performers played a good mix of contemporary music and some old favorites that kept the spectators and curlers entertained.
Play got underway early on Saturday at 8:00 am with the first games of the 'B' division. Play in that division continued in the 10:00 am draw as well. Winner of these games would move into the semi final of that division with a chance to play in the 'B' final and a guarantee cash prize.
In the early draw, Rick Windsor defeated the Chris 'Slugger' MacLeod rink and Philip Edwards punched his ticket to a semi-final with a win over Keith MacEachern. The other 'B' semi final would see Brian Laughlin take on Sebastien LeFort after Laughlin defeated Kenny Keough and LeFort won over Bubbs Stone. The 'B' semi was at 4pm on Saturday and saw Windsor defeat Edwards and LeFort defeat Laughlin, earning both teams a spot in the 'B' Final on Sunday.
Play in the 'A' division got going at 12 noon on Saturday. All eight winners in draw one would be fighting it out to see who could make it to the semi-final and eventually the final game of the top division and a chance at the overall championship. The first draw would have Coralie Ayre taking on Wally MacDonald and Todd Mercer facing Kurt Roach. Draw two would immediately follow and had Gordie Cormier facing John Donovan and Kris Granchelli up against Donnie MacCuspic. Ayre and Roach won and would face off in a semi final later on Saturday while Cormier and Granchelli were successful into making it into the second semi. The losers of these games would continue play but now in the 'C' division which would see its first games played at 6pm on Saturday. In those games, Wally Macdonald was a winner over Todd Mercer and Donnie MacCuspic defeated John Donovan to stay alive and play on Sunday in the 'C' semi final. On the last draw of the night, scheduled for 8pm but running about an hour behind, Gordie Cormier and Kurt roach emerged as the two teams that would play for the title on Sunday in the 'A' division.
Saturday night was also a party night at the club when DJ Jimmy took the stage to play some of his over 700,000 song selections and keep the crowd dancing all night long. Again, a good amount of people stuck around until the late hours and partied the night away.
Play once again got underway early on Sunday with the first games of play in the 'D' division scheduled for 9am. Two rinks from the Sydney Curling Club, Kenny Keough and Bubbs Stone, were set face off in one match while two Schooner Clubs, Chris 'Slugger' MacLeod and Keith MacEachern were meeting up in the other. Unfortunately, MacLeod couldn't ice a team at the early hour and forfeited the match to MacEachern who would meet Bubbs stone in the 'D' final after he was victorious over Keough. The 11am draw on Sunday was slated for the 'C' semi and saw Coralie Ayre take out Wally MacDonald and Donnie MacCuspic defeat Kris Granchelli to make it to Sunday afternoon's final which was scheduled to go off right after the semi final match. MacCuspic and Ayre took the ice again and had a great game, coming down to a final shot that MacCuspic had to win the match. He was a little heavy on his shot and it didn't curl quite enough, allowing Ayre to steal the end and win the 'C' title. The 'D' Division title was being contested at the same time on the other sheet and saw Keith MacEachern score early and often against the Bubbs Stone rink and jump out to a commanding lead after only three ends. After that, MacEachern went to a defensive style and Stone couldn't mount much of a comeback so he ended up shaking hands early. Joining Skip Coralie Ayre in winning the 'C' title were Drew and Marcie Bungay and Billy Ayre while Donnie MacCuspic was joined by Mike MacNamara, Jill Landry and Meranda Fitzgerald. Jill and Meranda are the daughters of long time and well known Schooner member Russell Fitzgerald. The 'D' champion, Skip MacEachern, was joined by Julia Cormier, Georgette Sparkes and Bernadette Cormier while the runners up were Bubbs Stone, Andy Pyke, Dan Tobin and Tyler MacKeigan.
The main event, the 'A' final, was next and had two strong rinks competing to take home the overall title. Gordie Cormier and Kurt Roach would take the ice to see who could come out on top. In the 'B' final there was the Rick Windsor rink and the Sebastien Lefort rink facing off, both very good teams as well with Lefort having won the overall event title in past tries. The Windsor rink struggled a bit early and fell behind and then fell victim to some bad luck which allowed Lefort to extend his lead. Lefort ended up winning the shortened game and taking the 'B' division crown.
The 'A' division final was a hard fought and very close game in the early going. In the first end, Kurt Roach made a fantastic runback shot to get three points and looked like he was on his way to an easy game but Cormier's rink fought back and tied the game up after three ends and stole a point to take the lead in the fourth when Roach tried to make another very difficult shot for a big score but, this time, was not successful. Roach scored in the fifth to regain the lead but Cormier put together a big end in six to score a pile and take the lead for good, winning the 'A' title and the overall championship. Joining Cormier in the win were Kevin Gouthro, Stephen Leslie and Carrie Cress. Skip Roach had Mark MacNamara, Travis Stone and Robin Nathanson. In the 'B' Division, winner Sebastien LeFort was aided by Nick Mackenzie, Thomas Mosher and Ryan Ferguson while Skip Rick Windsor was joined by Mel Windsor, Rick Billard and Ceilidh Forrest. Overall, a great showing by Schooner rinks, taking three of four divisions, and a great weekend of curling overall with lots of close, exciting games and great shot making by everyone.
A big thank you to all the teams who took part, to all the spectators and partiers who filled the club all weekend, to Stephen Leslie and the spiel committee for organizing and running the event and to spiel sponsors Firestop and Jeff Ellis Enterprises for their generous support. Thank goes out to Tommy Young for catering all weekend and helping to keep the energy levels of the curlers high with a variety of delicious food, to everyone who brought something on Friday to add to the selection, to Owen MacLellan and DJ Jimmy for providing the tunes for the parties, to the ice crew who worked hard all weekend to keep the ice in top shape, to the bartenders, housekeeping and to everyone else who helped out in any way and helped make this another great Cash Spiel at the Schooner. We hope to see everyone back in 2020 for the next event.
See below for a complete list of winners and runners-up.
Winners - Gordie Cormier, Kevin Gouthro, Stephen Leslie, Carrie Cress
Runners-Up - Kurt Roach, Mark MacNamara, Travis Stone, Robin Nathanson
Friday Night 9-1 - Open Mic Night. Open to everyone
Saturday Night 9-1 - Dance with Music by DJ Jimmy
No Cover charge - Everyone Welcome
Teams for the 2019 Open Cash Spiel