Robertson reflects on heartbreaking loss in Canadian senior men's curling final


By: Lanny Stewart

Kelly Robertson knew he was in a battle with Nova Scotia's Alan O'Leary right from the onset of the championship final at the Canadian senior men's curling championship.

"It was one of those games that you just knew it was going to be a struggle right off the bat," said the Neepawa skip.

Robertson and his Manitoba foursome lost a heartbreaker to Nova Scotia 9-8 on Saturday afternoon in Yellowknife in what was a tightly-contested game from start to finish.

Because O'Leary defeated Robertson in the round robin, Nova Scotia opted for the hammer to begin the contest and wound up taking advantage of a mishap by Manitoba, scoring two in the process.

"In the first end, I was going down to throw my last rock – it was an open hit – and I had it made, but it picked up a piece of hair and took an errant turn and whistled by and he wound up having a draw for two."

For the majority of the contest, Robertson and his Manitoba foursome would continually battle back from deficits until the seventh end when they scored three to take their first lead of the game 7-6. After both teams traded singles, Manitoba found themselves up one (8-7) without the hammer in the 10th end.

"I think I'd rather be one down coming home with last rock," said Robertson. "I had a little tap up to make with my last one and it just over-curled. I had the right weight, but it just over-curled and nudged another rock that was sitting right beside it. I think if we would've made that shot, we probably would've won."

O'Leary would make his final shot to pick up two, ending Robertson's hopes of winning a second Canadian title in three years. Robertson and his team won the Canadian championship in 2011.

Despite the loss, Robertson says he's proud of his team's accomplishments during the week. The Manitoba foursome, which includes third Doug Armour from Souris, second Peter Prokopowich from Sifton and lead Bob Scales from Winnipeg, ended up with a 9-2 round robin record, which was good enough for a tie for first place in the standings. Robertson's team advanced to the championship final after defeating Northern Ontario 10-8 in the semifinal on Friday.

"It was a tremendous week," said Robertson. "We had a good time up there and we all curled well. Nova Scotia has a good team, but on another day, I think we may have gotten them. It's always tough losing a final. But we did our best and we showed that we deserve to be there.

"No doubt you're disappointed you lost," he continued. "But, I guess when you look at the big picture afterwards, you did get to the final and losing means you're the second best team in Canada. You have to realize they have the same amount of shots as you do, so we fell a little short. I think we can look back at this and be pretty proud of ourselves."

Robertson didn't leave the event empty handed however. He was named a second team all-star skip after the final. Robertson curled 80 per cent throughout the week.

"It's nice to get individual awards, but the one we were after was the next win and winning the championship. But it is nice to win that. I guess it shows that I had a pretty good week."


In photo: Neepawa's Kelly Robertson (far left) with third Doug Armour, second Peter Prokopowich and lead Bob Scales.

Photo by James MacKenzie