Yamada aims for Brier
They waited until the last possible moment to do it, but Brent Yamada’s Kamloops rink did qualify for the Canadian Direct Insurance B.C. Men’s Curling Championship, which runs Feb. 7 through Feb. 13.
Now, they’re preparing to make a run at the Tim Hortons Brier.
“We’re playing a bunch of extra games to prepare and we’re trying to work with a time clock to speed up our play,” said Yamada, who curls out of the Kamloops Curling Club.
“That’s a new dynamic at this level.”
Yamada’s rink — the skip’s brother and the rink’s lead, Lance Yamada, second Andrew Barnes and third Corey Sauer — qualified for the provincial championship after winning the B-and-C-event at an Interior playdown in Prince George on Jan. 16.
The Kamloops rink beat Trevor Perepolkin’s Vernon rink twice in a row to clinch a berth at provincials.
“It was quite gratifying,” said Yamada, who will curl at a provincial championship for the third time.
Tom Buchy’s Kimberley rink qualified for the provincial tournament after posting a 3-0 record, which was good enough to win the A-event.
The first Interior playdown was held at McArthur Island Curling Club in December. Yamada’s rink posted a 3-2 record and failed to qualify for provincials.
Instead, it was the Vernon rinks of Aron Herrick and Darin Heath that earned the two provincial berths up for grabs.
Yamada has not been this close to a spot at the Brier since the late 1990s and he is happy to be back, but he seemed more enthused for his teammates, who have never been to a provincial championship.
“It’s pretty exciting for them,” he said. “They’re riding a pretty big high and deservedly so, they’re hard workers. I think you’re most excited the first time.”
Joining the Yamada, Buchy, Herrick and Heath rinks at the provincial championship: Jason Clarke of Victoria, Jim Cotter’s Vernon-Kelowna rink, Neil Dangerfield of Victoria, Sean Geall of Golden Ears, Brent Pierce of Royal City and Jeff Richard of Kelowna.