Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hard-luck Laycock falls short

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- Saskatchewan skip Steven Laycock added another chapter Friday to all the misfortune -- both tragic and comedic -- that has befallen his province during a Brier drought that will be a quarter-century old next year.

Playing Friday morning on the final round-robin draw of the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier and needing a win over New Brunswick to force a playoff tiebreaker game, Laycock appeared to have the game in hand when he scored a three-ender in the eighth end to take what seemed to be a 7-4 stranglehold on his game with James Grattan.

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But then, as so often happens to Saskatchewan at this event, everything went wrong.

First, New Brunwsick got a deuce in the ninth end to narrow Saskatchewan's lead to 7-6.

And then, with New Brunswick lying three counters, Laycock was heavy with his final rock of the 10th end to hand New Brunswick a game-winning steal of three and a 9-7 victory -- a swing of five points in the final two ends.

The loss dropped Saskatchewan's round-robin record to 6-5 and handed Quebec the fourth and final playoff spot uncontested at 7-4.

And so you can make that 24 years and counting since Saskatchewan last won a Brier way back in 1980. "We knew that we had to win," said Laycock. "We knew it was in our control to try and get in that tiebreaker. And we just didn't finish that game. It was a really poor last end.

"It's really disappointing to have this opportunity for playoffs (slip away)."

-- Wiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2014 $sourceSection0

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