Kelowna’s Bob Ursel couldn’t have written a better script for his return to competitive curling.
After sitting out the previous five seasons with an ailing knee, the former world junior champ led his rink to victory over the weekend at the 2016 B.C. senior men’s curling finals in Richmond.
Ursel, third Dave Stephenson, second Fred Thomson and lead Don Freschi posted an 8-1 record at the championship, securing the title on Sunday with an 7-2 victory over Victoria’s Wes Craig.
“It’s an awesome way to come back,” said Ursel, 51, who hadn’t curled competitively since the spring of 2010. “I’m just having so much fun playing with these guys, it showed me how much I missed being able to play. It’s great getting back…and what a way to start.”
As an added bonus, Bob’s wife, Leeanne, helped Diane Foster and her Kelowna-based rink capture the B.C. senior women’s title in Richmond with a 5-4 victory over Marilou Richter and her Vancouver/Penticton rink in the final.
Foster, from White Rock, won the Canadian and world senior curling titles in 2009 curling out of Alberta.
For Ursel, second Cindy Curtain and lead Sherry Heath, it was their first provincial championship win.
“I’ve been trying to get one since I was 12,” Leeanne said of her first purple heart. “It feels great. We have such a supportive team, it was nice to win with them.”
While the Ursel rink lost just one game and pretty much dominated the men’s draw, it wasn’t quite as smooth for the Foster team.
The Kelowna rink had its ups and downs posting a 4-3 record, before reeling off three straight wins in the playoffs to clinch the title.
Foster said in addition to being skilled curlers, her team’s success was largely due to their positive and relaxed demeanour.
“It’s just a very chill team, no one gets dramatic, it’s all just matter-of-fact for us,” said Foster. “We went out there as friends and wanted to play well, and we did that. It was nice for all of us to get that first B.C. jacket.”
The Ursel and Foster rinks will represent B.C. from March 28 to April 2 at the Canadian senior curling championships in Digby, Nova Scotia.