Cape Breton Post
Published: March 13, 2018 – 5:30am
Kurt Roach-skipped squad claims title in Monday morning thriller before family, friends and fans
A Sydney rink has captured provincial honours as the winner of the 2018 Nova Scotia Travelers Club Curling championship.
The Kurt Roach-skipped squad claimed the title with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Mike Callaghan’s Mayflower Curling Club rink before a lively crowd at the Sydney Curling Club on Monday morning.
The host team, that also includes third Mark MacNamara, second Travis Stone and lead Robin Nathanson, will now carry the provincial banner at the national Travelers championship that takes place in November at a yet-to-be determined location.
Team Roach’s win was its seventh victory in a row following a loss in the opening draw on Friday.
“We were kind of flat on Friday night, but we used that as motivation to pick up our game and turn it around,” said Roach.
And turn it on they did, as the Sydney rink actually had two shots at the title after winning two of the bonspiel’s three brackets. Had the Callaghan team won this morning’s match, then the two sides would have returned to the ice this afternoon.
For the Roach rink, it marks their second Traveler’s championship. The team, which featured Kevin Gouthro who was replaced by Stone, won the same tournament in 2016 in Yarmouth before moving on to the national championship in Kelowna, B.C., where it finished third. Bonspiel rules dictate that the winner must “sit out” the tournament the following year, so this year marked Roach’s first return to the competition since the 2016 championship.
In the championship game, Team Roach held a 3-0 lead after three ends before its Halifax opponents began a comeback that saw them take one point in the fourth end that was followed by a steal of two in the fifth. Roach took a single point in the sixth end, but Callaghan managed two points in the seventh to take a one-point lead coming home in the final end.
But the local lads came through before family and friends as they scored two in the eighth to claim the title. Skip Roach didn’t even have to throw his final rock.
“There’s been good crowds all week and it’s been a really great experience having our family and friends here cheering us on, so to win it here is great – it’s been a great week,” said Roach.
For the Callaghan rink, it was a tough defeat after winning their opening three matches to claim bracket “A”.
“It was tough sledding out there,” said Callaghan. “But Kurt and his team played very well.”
The only other Cape Breton team in the field for the four-day bonspiel was Team Cormier of The Schooner Club, located at the former Sydney radar base). Teams members included skip Gordie Cormier, third Stephen Leslie, second Thomas Drover and lead Mel Windsor.