Robertson is senior men's curling champion

Kelly Robertson is finding it hard to believe his team is the Canadian Senior Men's Curling...

Kelly Robertson is finding it hard to believe his team is the Canadian Senior Men's Curling Champion. (QMI Agency file photo)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:25 PM ET

It’s a good thing they gave Kelly Robertson a gold medal, because he was having a hard time believing he had just won the Canadian senior men’s curling championship.

Robertson, a 54-year-old farmer from Neepawa, defeated Alberta’s Brad Hannah 7-5 in the final on Saturday afternoon in Digby, N.S.

The triumph gave Manitoba its first national senior men’s crown since Carl German’s squad in 2002. Manitoba has won a record 11 titles since the event began in 1965.

“It feels absolutely awesome,” Robertson said late Saturday afternoon from Nova Scotia. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, but we’ve got the gold medal around our necks so I know we’ve done it.”

Robertson, supported by Doug Armour of Souris, Peter Prokopowich of Dauphin and Bob Scales of Winnipeg, will represent Canada at the world championship in November 2012 at a yet-to-be-determined site.

“It’s a bit of a wait, but that’s the way it is,” Robertson said.

Prior to this year Robertson had competed in nearly 40 Manitoba men’s, senior men’s and mixed championships without ever qualifying for a national event (although he substituted for Mike McEwen at the 2003 Canadian mixed).

He said earlier in the week that winning a Canadian title would be the best moment of his curling career, and he validated that belief with Saturday’s victory.

“It is the best moment,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable.”

After last season, Robertson wasn’t even sure he would ice a competitive senior men’s team this winter. It’s a good thing he did, because they’ve gone 28-2 since the start of the November’s McDiarmid Lumber Senior Men’s Bonspiel, an event they won to punch their ticket to provincials.

Robertson and Co. then cruised through the provincial playdowns with an undefeated record and posted a 10-1 round robin mark this week in Nova Scotia. His first-place finish got him a bye directly to the final.

“It’s been a hell of a run,” he said.

Robertson took a 3-1 lead in the third end of Saturday’s gold-medal match and never looked back. He stole one in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead and extended it to a 6-2 advantage with a deuce in seven. Hannah, whose team was the only one to beat Robertson in the round robin, scored two in the 10th to make the game look closer than it was.

Robertson’s crew curled 87% as a team, while Hannah’s squad checked in at 77%.

“Everybody really played well,” Robertson said.

New Brunswick’s Heidi Hanlon won the Canadian senior women’s crown on Saturday, defeating Ontario’s Joyce Potter 8-6. Manitoba’s Deb Popovic missed the playoffs with a 3-8 record.


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