Persistance pays off for vet

STEVE GREEN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

It turns out the 17th time was the charm for Bruce McRae.

The 66-year-old third for Frank Gowman's Galt rink at the Ontario senior men's curling championship at Highland had made 16 previous provincial appearances in five different competitions.

He was on an O-fer until Gowman beat Layne Noble of Ottawa Rideau 8-6 in last night's final.

Gowman, McRae, Ken Cox and Jim Corrigan now advance to the nationals March 19-27 in East St. Paul, Man.

Joining them will be Joyce Potter of Rideau, who beat Pat Reid of Toronto Avonlea 7-3 in the women's final for her second title in three years.

"I'm still trying to figure out if I'm still sleeping and we still have to play," said McRae, who only took up the sport at 43.

"This is a tremendous feeling, and all I can do is thank the three guys with me."

Gowman broke the game open in the sixth by taking four, but a key shot was his hit and roll behind cover in the fifth that left Noble a very tough pickout for four. He ended up scoring only one.

"If I don't make that hit and get it to where I got it to, we lose because they've got us wired for four," said Gowman, who went 6-1 in the round-robin, losing only to Noble in the first draw.

Noble's rink struggled throughout the final.

"The ice conditions changed from what we'd been used to during the week," said Noble. He said the ice got "considerably" straighter.

"We were a little inconsistent at times and certainly had our chance to break the game open in the fifth, but Frank's got a great team and they played really well."

In the semifinal, Gowman scored four in the sixth to beat 2001 champion Axel Larsen of Guelph 8-5. Larsen had defeated Bob Edmondson of Oakville 8-4 in a morning tiebreaker.

In the women's final, Potter capped an undefeated run through the entire provincial playdowns by beating Reid.

Potter got a key steal of one in the seventh for a 4-2 lead. Reid was forced to one in the eighth and Potter then sealed the title with a three in the ninth.

This was Potter's fifth straight provincial appearance and the experience showed.

"We were pretty calm," Potter said of her rink, which included sister Muriel, Janelle Sadler and Bonnie Morris.

"It was amazing how calm we were. What we always try to aim for is the balance between calm and energy."

Potter went on the offensive in the seventh after keeping things pretty clean and put Reid under constant pressure.

"When Janelle was able to get that rock on the button (in the seventh), that was an amazing shot," she said.

Reid agreed Potter's change of gears was the difference.

"We decided we'd mix it up with them and it didn't go our way," she said.

"But Joyce's team deserved this."

In the semifinal, Reid stole two in the 11th to beat Dale Curtis of Guelph 8-6.


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