AMHERST – Alan O’Leary is going back to the Canadian senior men’s curling championships.
The defending Nova Scotia champion rink out of Halifax scored three points in the first two ends and added three more in the sixth to defeat Brent MacDougall 7-5 to claim yet another senior championship and earn the right to attend the 2018 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ont. in March.
“We played solid all weekend. We knew Brent’s team was going to be tough because they were already a good rink when Andy (Dauphinee) joined them. We knew they would be in the mix until the end,” O’Leary said.
The MacDougall rink defeated O’Leary’s twice earlier in the weekend, including a 7-2 win early Saturday and a 5-2 win on Sunday evening that set the stage for Monday morning’s rematch.
“It was a good game. We snapped off three in the sixth and it looked like we were in control, but they fought back with two in the seventh to make it interesting,” O’Leary said.
MacDougall missed a couple of opportunities to draw even and ran out of rocks in the eight before conceding to O’Leary.
“We had a chance in the sixth with an in-turn freeze and I was a little heavy. He had a shot for three and made it,” MacDougall said. “In the seventh we missed another chance and we tipped the guard. It just seemed to be the entire weekend that who missed the most, the other team would win. Unfortunately, today we missed the most.”
MacDougall credited the O’Leary rink for being a championship caliber rink every year and he knew going in that it wouldn’t be easy – even though he’d beaten O’Leary’s rink twice already during the weekend.
“We knew they were going to be tough to beat. They weren’t going to give it to us,” MacDougall said. “In the end, there’s nothing wrong with being beaten by a Canadian champion.”
The championship is O’Leary’s second in a row for his current rink and third consecutive as skip. In total, he’s won five of the last seven senior men’s championships. He also won the 2014 Canadian championships at Yellowknife, N.W.T.
On the women’s side Mary Mattatall also defended her provincial championship going unbeaten in five matches, clinching with a pair of wins over the Kelly rink on Sunday by scores of 6-3 and 6-5.