Rinks get last chance

A handful of well-known names are down to their last chance to make the 16-team Labatt Tankard provincial men's championship draw.

Windsor's Mike Robinson, a perennial contender who has never won a provincial men's championship, is the top seed heading into this weekend's Labatt Challenge Round in Chester.

Nine teams will compete for the last two available berths in the Tankard, Feb. 4-8 in Bridgewater.

The other teams taking their best shot in the double-knockout event are Danny Christianson (CFB Halifax), Rob Krepps (Lakeshore), Andrew Corkum (Mayflower), Anthony Purcell (CFB Halifax), Brent MacDougall (Mayflower), Doug MacKenzie (Mayflower), Todd Mayo (CFB Greenwood) and Mike Myra (Lunenburg).

Christianson, a past Tankard finalist, was 2-0 in zone qualifying last weekend in Yarmouth before his team hit a bad spell.

He said the challenge round can be a catalyst for a struggling team. Mayflower's Mark Dacey had to come through the event last year on his way to a Brier championship.

"We haven't been playing a lot lately so the more games we play, assuming we can get through, we'll probably be in better shape when we get to provincials," Christianson said.

Action begins Friday at 8 p.m. with the A champion and B champion to be decided on Sunday.

Fourteen teams, led by Dacey and past Tankard champs Shawn Adams and Brian Rafuse, claimed their place in the Tankard field last weekend. Dacey and Rafuse advanced undefeated.

Defending provincial senior men's curling champion Steve Ogden leads a field of 36 teams into provincial senior zone qualifying beginning Friday in Halifax and Liverpool.

Sixteen teams will advance to the triple-knockout provincial event Feb. 18-23 at CFB Halifax.

The Canadian senior championship is in East St. Paul, Man., March 9-17.

Ogden's Mayflower rink made it all the way to the Canadian final last winter in Vernon, B.C., only to lose to Newfoundland's Bas Buckle 9-8 on last rock.

Ogden's teammates Tom Fetterly, Rod McCarron and Glen Josephson all play on other men's teams and only come together to play at the senior level. This will be their first action of the year as a group.

"Where we came so close last year, we'd really like to get back," said Ogden, whose other team qualified for the Tankard last weekend in zone play in Sydney. "I think we'd like another crack at the Canadian (title), but obviously we're going to have to play well to get out of Nova Scotia."

Past senior champion skips in the draw this year along with Ogden are Mayflower's Peter Corkum (1992, 1993, 1998, 2003), Bluenose's Haylette Clark (2002), Mayflower's Richard Belyea (2001) and Dartmouth's Lowell Goulden (2000).


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