NEEPAWA — It just wasn’t Rob Fowler’s week at the Safeway Championship in Neepawa.
The defending provincial men’s curling champion and his Brandon Curling Club team of Allan Lyburn, Richard Daneault and Derek Samagalski struggled as the week went on but were the last Westman-based team eliminated from the event. They fell 8-1 to Mike McEwen in the 2-vs.-2 Page playoff game on Saturday.
Daneault and Lyburn were hindered by the flu in their final game — with Lyburn leaving the game after the fifth end. However, Fowler admits they were lucky to even get that far in the bonspiel.
"The way our week went, I think we easily could have been gone on Friday or earlier on Saturday," he said. "We battled long and hard to get to where we got and unfortunately we had a couple guys who were down and out with the flu and it just didn’t really give us a chance whatsoever."
"I think we played with pride and did our best to defend our title," he added. "It obviously is a difficult thing to do and we did the best we could."
Terry McNamee’s Brandon Curling Club team and Brandonite Scott Ramsay, who curls out of Winnipeg, fell one win short of the championship round.
Ramsay — who plays with former Brandonite Mark Taylor as well as Ross McFadyen and Kyle Werenich — was knocked out by Fowler in a playoff round B-side qualifier on Saturday, falling 10-4. It was Ramsay’s first time into the playoff round as a skip and he left the event relatively happy.
"(We played) pretty decent all in all," said Ramsay, whose team played in only a few bonspiels this year and doesn’t let curling get in the way of a good time. "It was a fairly solid week. In the end though, if you don’t win it’s not a great thing. I suppose based on how much we play and all that, it’s OK."
McNamee and his team of Steve Irwin, Travis Taylor and Travis Saban were fell 8-1 to McEwen in their B-side qualifier on Saturday.
It was the third straight year that McNamee has made the playoff round, but he wishes they could have gotten a little further.
"We just weren’t sharp (on Saturday) like we were the three days before that," he said. "When you’re on the wrong side of the inch, you don’t make many shots. We just had to make more shots is all."