Seniors vie for Buffalo

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

One grizzled greybeard is seeking his third Manitoba crown in four decades. The other, his first.

Granite's Doug Harrison beat Baldur's Rob Ramage 8-5 at the West Kildonan Curling Club yesterday to finish atop his pool at the Strathcona Senior Men's Provincial Championship with a 6-1 record.

Brandon's Brian Moffatt defeated Fort Rouge's former provincial champion Ron Westcott 9-5 to finish in first in his pool also with a 6-1 record. Moffatt will meet Harrison in the one-versus-one Page playoff game at West K this morning at nine.

"My third Heart?" said Harrison, who previously won a men's (1978) and mixed (2000) title. "That would be kind of important. But we have another long day ahead of us and this is no easier than men's."

Moffatt, one of the best curlers to ever come out of western Manitoba, has never won a single Manitoba title.

"I've been trying for 25 years so, to have the opportunity to wear that Buffalo on my back (at a Canadian championship) sure would mean a lot to me," said Moffatt, who had been blanked at 17 men's provincials.

Moffatt, 57, is also making a comeback following a two-year hiatus from curling after getting his sliding knee scoped.

"It feels as good as it's gonna get at my age," joked Moffatt, supported by third Gil Van Daele, second Brad Kelso and Grant McMullan.

Harrison, supported by third Howie Restall, second Doug Holmes and Bill Hodgson, could not recall playing Moffatt in the last 15 years. But they are heading into the playoffs on a roll.

"We're getting the big shot when we need it," Restall said after watching Harrison make a difficult raise-takeout to crack the winning three in the ninth end against Ramage.

The winner of this morning's one-one game will advance to today's 5 p.m. final. The loser will play the winner of this morning's two-vs-two match in the 1:00 p.m. semifinal. East St. Paul's former national champion Carl German and Westcott emerged from a seven-team tie-breaker last night and will face each other in that two-two game. German bounced Ramage 6-3 while Westcott nipped Thompson's Rae Hainstock 7-6 in an extra end.

UNBLEMISHED RECORD

Also losing out in the tie-breakers were: Valour Road's Arnold Asham, who will scoot out to Edmonton to coach Manitoba's Randy Dutiaume at the Brier, Peter Kennedy of Fort Rouge and Heather's Martin Bailey, who battled illness all week.

Meanwhile in Dauphin, Brandon's former champ Linda Van Daele (Gil's wife) finished atop her division with an unblemished 7-0 record at the Pace Setter Senior Women's Provincial Playdowns. She downed Minnedosa's Jean Garbolinsky 9-3 in last night's one-vs-one playoff game to advance to today's 1:30 p.m. final.

Garbolinsky plays Morden's Chris Scalena, who beat Brandon's Sharon Pedlow 9-3 in the two-two playoff, in today's 9:30 a.m. semifinal. The winner faces Van Daele in the final.

The respective winners will represent Manitoba at the national championships, to be played at the East St. Paul Curling Club, March 19-27.


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