NEEPAWA — Brandon’s Rob Fowler and Terry McNamee are one win away from reaching the championship round at the Safeway Championship in Neepawa.
Fowler’s road there was rough. The foursome — which includes Allan Lyburn, Richard Daneault and Derek Samagalski — lost its opening game 8-4 to Sean Grassie and fell to the B-side of the draw. They got into trouble in the elimination game, trailing 6-4 after seven ends, but stormed back to reach the playoff round with an 8-7 extra-end victory over David Kraichy.
The Fowler foursome then played its best game of the week to defeat Mike McEwen 9-4 and reach a championship-round qualifier. While Day 3 wasn’t easy, Fowler is happy to have two chances to make the final four.
"It’s just huge to get through the day," said Fowler. "We were battling and weren’t playing as well as we can in the first couple of games, but we stuck with it and got through it and came out with our best effort of the bonspiel tonight. It puts us right where we want to be heading into Saturday."
Fowler will meet Sean Grassie this morning. McEwen will play Dennis Bohn and will be eliminated with one more loss during the weekend.
McNamee, meanwhile, made the playoffs by beating Steen Sigurdson 9-7 in his A-side semifinal. McNamee then dominated Brandonite Scott Ramsay 8-2 their first playoff game to reach a championship round qualifier this morning against Jeff Stoughton. Stoughton beat Sigurdson 9-2 in his game in the evening.
McNamee, who plays with Steve Irwin, Travis Taylor and Travis Saban, feels his team is rolling and hopes to play a lot of games on the weekend.
"We are a good team and if we do play well, we can play with anybody," he said. "We just have to go out and play our game and make a lot of shots."
Ramsay made the playoffs by winning four straight games in the B side, including two Friday. It’s his first time skipping a team into the playoffs.
He will play Sigurdson in an elimination game this morning.
There was one big shock on Friday as former Brandonite William Lyburn, the event’s fourth seed, missed the playoffs. After knocking out Neepawa’s Kelly Robertson earlier in the day, Lyburn dropped a 7-6 decision to Sigurdson in his B-side qualifier. The loss left Lyburn, who finished third last year, devastated.
"It’s very tough because we were a better team this year than we were last year and we had a chance to win," said Lyburn. "It’s pretty disappointing."
The playoff round wraps up with two draws tomorrow, followed by the Page playoff games at 6:30 p.m. The semifinal and final will be played on Sunday at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively.
EXTRA ENDS: Today’s first two draws will be shown live on NACTV. The 1-vs.-1 Page playoff game as well as Sunday’s semifinal and final will be shown on Sportsnet West and City TV Winnipeg.