What began last season as an experimental merger between Brent Pierce and Jeff Richard has developed into a winning proposition.
With the 34-year-old Kelowna curler playing third for Pierce, the New Westminster rink has been among the hottest teams in the country through the first two months of the 2012-13 World Curling Tour season.
The Pierce rink—also featuring second Kevin Recksiedler and lead Grant Dezura—has qualified for the playoffs at four of five WCT events this year, including winning the titles in both Cloverdale and Kamloops.
Richard joined Pierce last season and, for the first several events, threw skip rocks. He moved into the third position last year at the B.C. men’s championship and the foursome hasn’t looked back since.
“It’s been going really well,” said Richard, who has mostly played skip over the last decade. “It seems to work better on this team with Brent skipping and me playing third. It’s something different for me, but I like it. As a rink we’re enjoying playing together and we’re having some success.”
In just five events, the Pierce foursome has racked up $21,400 in earnings, good enough for fifth spot on the 2012-13 money list.
Pretty impressive, when you consider Richard lives four hours away from the rest of his teammates. When a team has good chemistry, Richard said geography isn’t a factor.
“Living in different cities isn’t too bad, we have our lineup set, we just meet at the tournaments and go out and play,” said Richard, the 2010 B.C. men’s champ. “We’ve played the game long enough, we’re able to figure those things out. We’re all intense and we want to win, but we have fun at it, too. It seems to be clicking right now.”
This weekend, the Pierce rink is in Wainwright, Alta., to defend its title at the Roaming Buffalo Classic.
Then next month, the Pierce foursome will reunite in Richard’s hometown for the Canadian Open of Curling, Dec. 12 to 16 at Prospera Place.
“We’ve never had an event like this in Kelowna, so it’ should be pretty exciting,” Richard said. “It’s as strong a field as you’re going to see anywhere, so hopefully people will come out to watch.”
In the New Year, Pierce and Richard hope to take another crack at the B.C. men’s championship in Parksville. The New Westminster team lost a heartbreaker last year in the final to the Jim Cotter rink.
“That was a great game, they beat us on the last shot in the 10th,” Richard said. “Hopefully we can get back there for another try.”