WINNIPEG — Brandon’s Rob Fowler and Steve Irwin are the last Westman teams alive at the Safeway Championship, but they are in very different situations.
Fowler, and his team of Allan Lyburn, Brendan Taylor and Derek Samagalski, will take on former Brandonite Mike McEwen for a spot in the 1-vs.-1 Page playoff game today while Irwin’s squad needs two more wins to reach the final four.
Fowler put himself in a good situation by stealing one in the 10th end to beat Steen Sigurdson 6-4 in their playoff round game Friday night. The win didn’t come easy, but Fowler was relieved to come out on top.
"Anytime you can save those lives it’s huge," he said. "We had a tough battle. We knew those guys would battle us hard and that’s good, but we got it in the end so it feels good."
Fowler qualified for the playoffs through the A-side of the preliminary draw, beating a team skipped by his former second Richard Daneault 4-2 on Friday morning.
McEwen defeated Richard Muntain 10-4 in their playoff game on Friday.
Irwin, meanwhile, can’t afford to lose another game or he will be eliminated from the provincial men’s curling championship.
Irwin’s team, which includes Joey Witherspoon, Travis Taylor and Travis Saban, took the long road to the playoffs. He dropped to the B-side of the draw after losing 6-3 to defending champion Jeff Stoughton, but bounced back to beat David Kraichy 6-3 in his B-side qualifier.
In his playoff game, however, Irwin struggled to get much going and fell 6-4 to former Brandonite William Lyburn.
"Not quite as sharp," Witherspoon said. "A long day started to set in a little bit and we were a little tired and not quite throwing and sweeping as well and calling the weight and everything was just a little off.
"Not too worried about (Saturday). Win two more to keep going, but win one more in the morning and we’re still in a good spot. We’ll get a good rest tonight and see what happens."
Irwin will play Randy Neufeld, who lost 8-6 to Stoughton, this morning. The winner will advance to a qualifier to play in the Page 2 playoff game.
Lyburn will face Stoughton this morning for a spot in the Page 1 game.
The Page playoff games will be played tonight at 6 o’clock (Sportsnet). The semifinal is set for Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (Sportsnet) and the final will follow at 2 p.m. (Sportsnet).
EXTRA END: Brandon’s Allan Lyburn and Neepawa’s Kelly Robertson won the inaugural Pat Spiring Memorial Award for sportsmanship, which was voted on by the players.