Tenth-end clincher from 'Mr. Clutch'

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Just call Kelly Robertson Mr. Clutch.

The 49-year-old Neepawa resident was facing his last opportunity to qualify for the Safeway Select provincial men's curling championship over the weekend, and he and his rink made it count.

Robertson hit and stuck for three in the 10th end to edge LaSalle's Randy Neufeld 8-7 in the final of the MCA's Northern Berth Bonspiel at Burntwood Curling Club in Thompson.

Robertson is going to be on a Caribbean cruise during the zone playdowns in January, so this was his team's last kick at the cat.

"The pressure was on," Robertson said via telephone last night from Thompson.

If the heat was on because of that, Robertson must have been boiling after four ends when he found himself down 5-1.

His squad, which also consists of Doug Armour, Myles Olmstead and Ace Ross, calmed itself down and got back in the game.

Team Robertson got one in the fifth, stole two in the sixth and lifted one more in the seventh to knot the score at 5-5. Neufeld blanked the eighth and then scored two in the ninth.

Robertson said the 10th was played almost perfectly by both teams, yet he faced a wide-open takeout for three -- and nailed it.

Now they're off to the Select for the eighth straight year and 14th time overall.

"We're a long ways away from the Select. That's the trouble," Robertson said. "It's good to win early, but it's a long time in between, so we're gonna have to stay sharp in some bonspiels and stuff like that."

The Select will be held in Steinbach Feb. 8-12.

BITER: Starbuck's Chris Scalena won the Great Canadian Travel senior women's bonspiel yesterday at the Grain Exchange with a 4-3 victory over Minnedosa's Jean Garbolinsky.

Brandon's Lois Fowler won the third-place game with a 10-2 triumph over Fort Garry's Elaine Jones.

That means Scalena, Garbolinsky and Fowler have qualified for the Pace Setters provincial senior women's championship, which is slated for March 2-6 at the Victoria club.

TOUR TALK: The Manitoba Curling Tour's Interlake Pharmacy Classic wraps up today in Stonewall.

The men's and women's semifinals go at 4 o'clock, with the finals slated for 7:30 p.m.


Photos