Doug Armour of Souris is looking for his 10th Manitoba curling championship title this week, and his second in eight days.
Three days after winning the provincial senior men’s crown at the Brandon Curling Club as Kelly Robertson’s third, Armour is skipping a team at the Manitoba Credit Unions masters championships at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Memorial Club. Since Armour has spent a lot of time in the last month with Robertson’s squad, which also competed at the Safeway Championship, his masters team of Ken Sabad, Bill Scott and Reg Warren haven’t played a lot to prepare for the masters provincials, which start today. Armour, however, is confident in his group.
"Bill Scott spares with me in the club quite a bit and Ken Sabad is playing five or six times a week and I know him like a book," said Armour, who skipped teams to the 2005 Canadian masters men’s title and the 2008 national final. "Reg Warren hasn’t played a lot with us, but he’s a competitor and a good player. I don’t think we’ll have any problem blending together. I think our biggest enemy will be ourselves and catching on to the ice."
Although they haven’t played together much since Christmas, the team had a lot of success before the break. They went undefeated at the Westman regional playdowns in December and the team, with Wayne Dillabough at lead instead of Warren, also won the Westoba Credit Union Masters Super League.
Armour’s foursome enters the event as the third seed, behind Winnipeg’s Ron Westcott and Carl German. Brandon’s Lory Saban is the fifth seed, while Virden’s Murray Duncan and Dauphin’s Russell Murray are also in the field.
Armour expects the ice in Winnipeg to be fast and swingy and said their key to success is to take a little more ice and get out to the broom. If they do that, he feels his squad will be fighting for a playoff position and possibly a spot in Monday’s final at 1:30 p.m.
"We’re pretty excited about our chances," he said. "Now we may go in there and stink the joint out, but hopefully we’ll make some teams sit up and take notice."
Meanwhile, Brandon’s Joyce McDougall will go for a fourth straight masters women’s title this week in Winnipeg, but her team has a different look to it.
After their ninth-place finish at the Canadian masters women’s championship last year, McDougall and her team of Linda Van Daele, Karen Dunbar and Cheryl Orr were exhausted and contemplated whether they wanted to play another year.
In the fall, McDougall got the itch to get back on the ice and Van Daele returned as her third. The other two had already found other teams, so McDougall picked up Pam Horn, who won provincial senior women’s titles with McDougall in 2004 and 2006, to play lead and Deborah Valcourt at second.
The new team finished second in the Stream ‘N’ Wood Curlettes League with a 6-2 record, but struggled to a 2-3 record at the senior women’s provincial championship last week in Brandon.
McDougall admitted she was a little shaky, but hopes she get her game together before the five-team round robin starts today. There isn’t a lot of pressure early as four of the five teams make the Page playoffs and McDougall is just hoping to have a good time.
"We always look forward to the event," she said. "We enjoy coming in and curling and being together and having a little bit of fun."
The women’s final is slated for Sunday at 4 p.m.
SUPER LEAGUE: The Westman masters super league is looking for new teams for next season. Contact Don Sumner at 204-728-9946.
EXTRA ENDS: The Minnedosa men’s bonspiel will run from March 7-9. The cost for the three-event bonspiel is $140 per team. Call Miles Dalrymple at 204-867-3645 … Killarney’s St. Pat’s bonspiel will run March 13-16. Contact Don Chatham at 204-523-8412 … The 115th annual Virden men’s bonspiel will run from March 18-23. Contact Jay Kinnaird at 204-851-1267 … Neepawa’s spring mixed bonspiel is slated for March 21-23. Call Wanda Rainka at 204-476-3545.