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Howard beats Epping to win World Cup of Curling event

The Canadian Press

11/6/2011 5:45:38 PM

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- Glenn Howard is the GP Car and Home World Cup of Curling Champion for the fifth time in six years.

The Howard rink -- featuring lead Craig Savill, second Brent Laing and third Wayne Middaugh -- defeated John Epping's rink 6-4 in the final on Sunday afternoon.

"We seem to like the first clam of the year, again we seemed to play well enough to win," said Howard.

Epping, along with teammates David Mathers (lead), Scott Howard (second) and Scott Bailey (third), were forced to win three times on Saturday just to get to the final.

"It was a long weekend," said Epping. "But I'm really proud of the team. I'm proud of the two kids in front of me (Mathers and Howard). They hung in there all week. They were probably nervous but you wouldn't be able to tell."

After posting a 3-2 record in the round robin, the Epping rink defeated Greg Balsdon's rink from Kingston, Ont., in the tiebreaker before beating Brad Gushue's rink out of Newfoundland and Labrador in the quarter-finals. In the semifinal, Epping defeated Kevin Martin's rink 4-3 to advance.

"Thank God for adrenaline because it got us through the day," said Epping. "The kids (Bailey and Howard) are 20 and 21 so they had lots of energy. They're in great shape. We knew that they could last through the day. It was us old guys at the back end that tried to hang around."

The Howard rink defeated Mike McEwen's rink 4-2 in the quarter-final and Niklas Edin of Sweden in the semifinal. The McEwen rink is the only other rink to have won the event, aside from Howard, in the last six years.

The Epping rink features Howard's son, 21-year-old Scott.

Glenn described the win over Scott as 'bittersweet'.

"When they won last night against Kevin Martin -- arguably the best team in the world -- the last five years, I was so proud to see they pulled that off," said Glenn. "It was a bit of a David and Goliath but they played great and won and then realizing that I get to play them in the final. Obviously I want to win and he wants to win but I wanted him to play really well and he did."

Added Scott: "There's a little tension. I think he finds it hard playing against me. I'm pretty calm against him. This is a highlight of my year. Back when we started curling we were pretty chirpy back and forth but it was all good."

The World Cup of Curling is the first of curling's grand slam events during the season. The second event is the BDO Canadian Open, scheduled for Dec. 14-18, 2011 in Kingston. Event three is the Swiss Chalet National, held in Dawson Creek, B.C., from Jan. 25-29, 2011. The grand slam events wrap up at the 2012 GP Car and Home Players Championship in Summerside, P.E.I. from April 10-15, 2012.