© Ashley Thompson
Mark Kehoe’s rink has been selected as one of the final teams to play in the upcoming Nova Scotia Molson Coors Men's Curling Tankard at CFB Halifax beginning Feb. 4.
Mark Kehoe’s rink, from Falmouth, will be one of the final three teams to play in the upcoming Nova Scotia Molson Coors Men's Curling Tankard at CFB Halifax beginning Feb. 4.
Kehoe last won the Molson Coors Tankard in 2007.
In order to qualify for the tankard, two qualifiers were held; the second of which was held at the Windsor Curling Club earlier this month.
A total of 13 teams converged in Windsor to determine the final three berths in the upcoming tankard.
Kehoe’s rink was the only undefeated team, going 3-0.
Kehoe had a relatively easy game in his opener late Friday afternoon, Jan. 17, defeating Kent Smith of Mayflower 8-1.
Kehoe began with three in the first end before adding two more in the third and fourth ends and one more in the fifth before the game was called.
Kehoe entered the second qualifier as the No. 1 seed and with the win, advanced to his second game of the tournament Saturday morning against Mayflower's Doug MacKenzie.
Kehoe opened up a 4-1 lead after five ends. Kehoe, with his last shot of the sixth, laid it in the eight-foot circle. MacKenzie, with the final shot of the end, came back with a double knockout to get back into the game and trail 4-3.
Kehoe took control quickly again, scoring three times in the seventh for a 7-3 lead.
That would be all the scoring for Kehoe’s rink. MacKenzie came back with a pair in the ninth but conceded victory after knowing Kehoe would have the hammer going home.
During the tournament, in seven games, which MacKenzie went 4-3, he stole five ends for nine points but did not feel confident enough to do it against Kehoe in the 10th end.
Saturday afternoon, before a large audience, Kehoe and Paul Flemming squared off, knowing the winner would be the first of three to advance to the Molson Coors Tankard.
Kehoe started strong with three in the first and was up 4-1 after three ends before Flemming rallied to tie the game at 5-5 after seven ends. Flemming took a 6-5 lead after eight ends.
In the ninth end, Kehoe had two stones sitting in the four-foot circle but Flemming threw a fraction too hard and missed both stones on his final shot. This allowed Kehoe to steal a pair and move back in front 7-6 going to the tenth and final end of regulation play, in which Flemming had the hammer.
Kehoe's first shot of the tenth end rolled out too far from the four foot, bumping his own stone and driving it back leaving his opponent with the only rock in the four foot. Kehoe recovered with a brilliant shot, which ended up just biting the four-foot circle. Kehoe stole the end as Flemming simply had too much weight on his final stone.
After the game, the Hants Journal asked Kehoe about his shot.
“It was really the best that could be done. All I could hope for was a jam and a steal as there were a lot of rocks cluttered around the four-foot circle,” he said.
"To advance so quickly with a 3-0 mark was tough because the 13 teams entered were all so evenly matched,” he added.
Despite starting 3-0, Flemming’s rink ended up losing to Truro's Peter Burgess 5-4 and failed to advance to the final eight.
Flemming was last year's provincial champion and Nova Scotia's representative at the Tim Horton's Brier.
Burgess and Mayflower's Tom Sullivan were the other two teams to advance from Windsor.