AMHERST – The curling matchup that most curling fans were hoping for happened Sunday in Amherst during the 2013 Nova Scotia Men’s Molson Coors Tankard, Provincial Qualifier No. 1.
Team Murphy, last year’s Nova Scotia champion, went up against the No. 1 seed, Team Dacey, and in the end it was Murphy downing Dacey 9-4 in 14th and final draw at the Amherst Curling Club.
“It feels great to win,” said skip Jamie Murphy. “That was our objective from the start. It was a bit of a struggle at times but we managed to get done what we wanted to.
“He’s a tough competitor and he can win a lot of games, so it’s important to be able to beat him.”
The Mark Dacey rink went up 2-0 in the first end but Murphy tied it up 2-2 in the second.
Dacey went up 3-2 after the third end, when Murphy scored three in the fourth end.
“We got it in a very small hole in the fourth, and that was pretty much the game changer,” said Murphy.
Team Dacey's lead, Andrew Gibson, agreed that the shot in the fourth end sealed the deal.
“Murphy made a great shot for three in the fourth end,” said Gibson. “From there we tried to claw back but it was to tough, so we weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be.”
Both Murphy and Gibson said the Amherst ice was consistent.
“It was a little tricky in spots and it took us a little while to get a hold of things but once we got a hold of things it was consistent,” said Murphy.
“There were definitely some tricky spots, but it was consistent,” added Gibson. “It (the ice) would do the same thing for everybody, so we were slow to pick up on it.”
Five teams qualified for the provincials in Amherst. The second provincial qualifier starts Thursday in Wolfville, where three more teams will qualify.
“We’re confident that if we go down there and play our own game then we expect to get one of those spots,” said Gibson
The five teams who qualified for the provincials in Amherst are as follows: (record and club in brackets)
Jamie Murphy, (4-2), beat Mark Dacey 9-4 in Draw 14. (Lakeshore Curling Club)
Ian Juurlink, (5-2), beat John Luckhurst 6-5 in Draw 14. (Lakeshore Curling Club)
Paul Flemming, (4-0), beat Chad Stevens 6-5 in Draw 10. (Lakeshore Curling Club)
Shea Steele, (5-1), beat Jamie Murphy 6-5 in Draw 13. (Mayflower Curling Club)
Chad Stevens, (4-1), beat John Luckhurst 8-2 in Draw 13. (Mayflower Curling Club)
Lisa Emery chaired the event.
“The weekend went very well,” said Emery. “There were a lot of great teams and a lot of great curling and it was fun to watch.”
Emery said the afternoon draws drew huge crowds.
“This place was packed,” she said. “There were people standing on the tables trying to watch.”
21 teams particpated in the event, and Emery said the qualifier was a huge event for Amherst and thanked everybody who participated.
“It took almost every club member and a lot of volunteers to pull this together,” she said. “Hosting an event like this also requires a lot of help from hotels and restaurants, so there was a lot of economic stimulus as well.”
The Provincial Men’s Tankard is at the Truro Curling Club Feb. 5 to 10.
More photo's of the tournament can be seen on the slide show section at www.cumberlandnewsnow.com