For the first time in four years, Vernon’s Jim Cotter and Rick Sawatsky will watch the Brier rather than participate in it.
Cotter, Sawatsky and teammates Grant Olsen of Kamloops and Andrew Nerpin of Kelowna were eliminated in Sunday’s semifinal, Jan. 9, at the B.C. Men’s Curling Championships in Cotter’s hometown of Kamloops by Jeff Richard of Kelowna.
Richard took on Victoria’s Paul Cseke – who grew up and curled in Salmon Arm – in the provincial final, with Richard scoring three in an extra end to post an 11-8 victory. Richard, who throws third stones, skip Brent Pierce and the front end of Jared Kolomaya and Nicholas Meister now advance to the Tim Hortons Brier March 4-13 in Lethbridge.
For Pierce, it’s his fourth Purple Heart. It’s the third provincial win for Richard and the first for Kolomaya and Meister.
Cotter and Sawatsky were looking for their 10th provincial championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the Canadian championship.
The duo have curled together for all nine prior titles. They went to the 2021 Brier without competing in a B.C. playdown due to COVID. They were selected to represent the province as the reigning 2020 champions.
Richard beat Cotter 7-5 in the Sunday morning semifinal to advance to play Cseke, who edged Richard 7-6 in the one-versus-two Page playoff game. Cseke won the A event qualifier in the preliminary round with an 8-2 win over Richard, who then took the B event. Cotter and former World Junior Men’s champ Tyler Tardi of Langley advanced to the final four out of the C event.
Cotter defeated Tardi 9-3 to move to the semifinal.
Vernon’s Rob Nobert and John Slattery, and Salmon Arm’s Sean Geall, were eliminated in the C event qualifiers.
Nobert, backed by third Kelly McQuiggan, second Jesse Monette and lead Cam Weir, eliminated Geall with a 9-2 win before falling 8-3 to Sebastien Robilliard of New Westminster.
Geall snapped Cotter’s streak of four straight provincial titles in 2018 curling with Richard at third and current Cotter teammate Nerpin at second.
Slattery was throwing lead stones for Cameron de Jong of Victoria. The rink was eliminated 8-3 by Tardi in a qualifier final.
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