NEEPAWA — Brandon’s Rob Fowler is facing elimination at the Safeway Championship in Neepawa.
Fowler and his defending provincial men’s curling championship team of Allan Lyburn, Richard Daneault and Derek Samagalski dropped their A-side qualifier 8-4 to Sean Grassie this morning, and fell into the B side of the draw.
The Fowler foursome didn’t play overly well and had a string of bad luck — including Lyburn bellyflopping out of the hack in the sixth end and Grassie raising a guard at the wrong angle that spun off another rock and accomplished the intended takeout.
Fowler, however, remained optimistic, even though a loss in today’s 4 p.m. draw will eliminate him from the competition.
"It’s not too bad," said Fowler, who defeated Grassie twice in last year’s Safeway Championship. "Winning our first two games got us a double qualifier, so if we win our next one, we’re right back on square footing heading into tonight’s draw."
Fowler will play the winner of David Kraichy and Neepawa’s Jerry Chudley this afternoon in a B-side qualifier.
Meanwhile, Brandon’s Terry McNamee advanced to the playoff round for the third straight season with a 9-7 win over Steen Sigurdson in his A-side qualifier.
McNamee, who plays with Steve Irwin, Travis Taylor and Travis Saban, jumped out to an 8-3 advantage after six ends. Things changed, however, after Sigurdson left the game in the seventh end with the flu.
Riley Smith took over the team’s skipping duties and everyone moved up one position after Andrew McMillan moved into the lead position. That sparked a pair of steals and McNamee had to make a hit and stay with his final rock in the 10th end to win, which he did.
While he would have liked to put the game out of reach earlier, McNamee is happy to be among the event’s final eight teams.
"It’s always nice to qualify through the A side, so we’re happy," he said.
In other A-side qualifiers, Jeff Stoughton beat Dave Elias 9-5 and Mike McEwen defeated Dennis Bohn 6-5. Both Stoughton and McEwen advance to the playoff round, which begins tonight at 7:45.