Teams arrived on Friday the 30th for practice and the initial draws with the first of two snow storms blowing in and making travel difficult.
The curlers came from all over the province so going home each day was not an option and most stayed in town. By the time the five-day event was over a second storm had moved through with even more snow, closing highways and schools, but through it all, the club stayed open and not a game was missed. The town lived up to its reputation for hospitality and trucks with plows on the front regularly delivered curlers to their games.
The Men’s championship was a triple knock-out leading to a playoff and Middleton had Wayne Schurman’s home team in the event. On Friday the clubhouse was packed with spectators and it was standing room only. Wayne’s team continued though until Sunday morning, and the loyal fans turned out for that game too. The Women’s tournament took the form of a round robin and the combination of the two events meant that there were men’s and women’s games going on at the same time, making for an interesting mix and a great social atmosphere.
The Masters has been held at MCC often in the last 10 years and so it was like a reunion for many club members as they welcomed back old friends and mingled with the families of competitors.
Julie Morley who curls out of Greenwood was the Nova Scotia Curling Association (NSCA) umpire responsible for the on-ice management of the event. Kathy Siddal, the Valley rep for the NSCA was also on hand for all draws to help with any appeals or other questions that might come up. Their guiding hands ensured the smooth running of the draws and for any curling event that is the biggest contributor to success. Despite the possibilities of weather delays and cancellations the two of them made sure that everyone knew what were the plans going forward and the result was that the atmosphere inside the club was happy from the start.
The final day of play was Tuesday, Feb. 3, which started very early for everyone as they dug out from the heavy snowfall overnight. But the 9 a.m. games started on time with Audrey Dorey’s team taking to the ice against Louanne Labelle in the Women’s semi-final and Steve Ogden’s team playing off against Alan Darragh. Because the men’s format was a triple knock-out and neither men’s team had sustained three losses, this was the first of two play-offs for these two teams.
In the Women’s event, Louanne Labelle’s team went on to the final which was won by Judy Burgess’ team from Truro. Judy skipped the team of Helen Brightman, Carolyn Kavanagh and Penny Neily. The Men’s Masters’ title was awarded to Steve Ogden’s team with Brad Meisner, Peter Neily and Jamie Barr.
All the finalists are eligible to play in the Maritime Masters and the two Masters winners will represent Nova Scotia in the Canadian Masters Championship being held in Whitehorse, Yukon in March. Photographs of the play and the teams can be seen at www.middletoncurlingclub.com
Karen Sotvedt is a member of the Middleton Curling Club and writes the column Throwing Rocks for The Annapolis County Spectator.