Kelowna's Tyrel Griffith

B.C. settles for second best at Brier

Alberta's Kevin Koe defeats John Morris' Vernon/Kelowna rink in final of Canadian men's curling championship Sunday in Kamloops

In November, John Morris, Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky came within one game of representing Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Five months later, the Vernon/Kelowna foursome has once again reluctantly settled for second best.

Alberta’s Kevin Koe scored a 10-5 victory over the Morris foursome Sunday night in the final of the 2014 Brier in Kamloops.

After B.C. scored a deuce in the first end, the Alberta champs exploited each and every mistake by their opponents to score triples each of the second, fifth and seventh ends en route to their second Brier title.

Both Morris and Cotter—a native of Kamloops and crowd favourite all week at the Interior Savings Centre—couldn’t duplicate the play that had paced B.C. to a 9-2 round-robin record and a first-place finish.

“We got caught with the ice conditions,” said Cotter, from Vernon, who throws last rocks for B.C. “It’s not much fun right now but one day we’ll look back and be proud of this. Whether it’s in front of your home fans or wherever, it’s no fun. You want to win, but that’s curling, that’s the way it goes. Against a great team like Koe, they were bang on, making everything. It’s tough to come back.”

Morris, from Calgary, earned an exemption from Curl B.C. last summer to join forces with Cotter and Kelowna duo Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky, and the foursome developed instant chemistry.

The Vernon/Kelowna crew was arguably one of the country’s most consistent rinks all season—finishing second only to Brad Jacobs at the Olympic trials Winnipeg and as the runner-up the Brier. The Morris team also qualified in several World Curling Tour events and won the B.C. men’s title in convincing style.

While their latest loss will sting for some time, Griffith said 2013-14 will go down as an unforgettable season of curling.

“It’s been a pretty amazing year,” said Griffith, a former B.C. junior champ. “We played so well and we were right where we wanted to be in those two big events. The hard part about it all is that we lost and that’s been pretty tough for all of us. We worked really hard the last two months, but unfortunately just weren’t that sharp in the final.”

On the subject of whether the team expects to reunite for next season, Griffith said it hasn’t been discussed. Still, when it comes to compatibility, the 28-year-old Kelowna curler said team was unified from Day 1.

“It’s been a really natural fit playing with these guys,” Griffith said. “We’re all very good friends, easygoing personalities and it worked really well this year.”

Cotter, Morris and Sawatsky all made the first all-star team at the Brier, while Griffith made the second team.




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