AMHERST – It’s off to Ottawa for Brian Rafuse and his curling team after they captured the Nova Scotia senior men’s (ages 50 and older) curling championship on Sunday in Amherst with a 7-5 win over former Brier winner Bruce Lohnes.
Rafuse’s team made up from various clubs throughout the province; Rafuse, skip for the team, is from Lakeshore club in Sackville, mate Curt Palmer is from the Berwick club, second Alan Darragh curls out of Dartmouth and lead Dave Slauenwhite hails from Bridgewater.
All will be united under Bluenose colours when the Canadian championshisp begin March 20 at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.
“It feels good to be in this spot after we lost in the finals last year,” Rafuse said.
“Concentrating on doing the best we can with our team and not worrying about the competition, just doing the job is what I believe got us to first place this year,.”
Amherst native Darragh said it is great coming to the Amherst club and playing, saying that the club is a special place for him.
“At the age of nine (at that time minors were not allowed in the club) I used to sneak upstairs and watch curling. My father used to play and actually was one on the Nova Scotia representatives that played in the Brier in Ottawa in 1959,” Darragh said.
Rafuse’s quartet went undefeated in the 12-team event, winning all five starts. Lohnes needed an 11-7 victory over Steve Ogden from the Mayflower club in Halifax in a morning semifinal to reach the afternoon title game.
All of the Rafuse team members are no strangers to the nation’s capital. All have previously played in Ottawa representing Nova Scotia at national events.
Rafuse’s crew will be joined at nationals by Jocelyn Nix from the Glooscap club in Kentville. Nix won the provincial senior women’s crown by beating Marg Cutcliffe of Mayflower 8-6 yesterday in Digby.