CORNER BROOK Bas Buckle realizes his rink will be in tough this weekend against a bunch of youngsters in the provincial senior curling circle.
Buckle, who will turn 66 on April 18, will be one of the skips in the mix for the crown when the 2014 provincial senior men‚Äôs and women‚Äôs curling championships unfold at the Caribou Curling Club in Stephenville.
A former world senior men‚Äôs curling champion, Buckle‚Äôs foursome out of the Corner Brook Curling Club includes third Gary Alcock, second Blair Fradsham and lead George King. A field of eight teams, including Brian Bailey and Bruce Penney, also of the Corner Brook Curling Club, will battle it out in a single round-robin with the top four teams advancing to the playoff round.
The field also includes the youngsters Buckle feels will be in the hunt for the title ‚ÄĒ Mark Noseworthy, Glenn Goss and Jeff Thomas ‚ÄĒ a trio of experienced curlers out of the Re/Max Centre in St. John‚Äôs. The host Caribou Curling Club is represented by the Danny Soucy foursome and Barry Edwards of the Carol Curling Club in Labrador City makes it an eight-team race for the championship on the men‚Äôs side.
‚ÄúThe boys are getting younger and we‚Äôre getting older,‚ÄĚ‚ÄąBuckle said with a light chuckle while watching some Olympic curling on a snowy day in the city.
‚ÄúThese guys have been around and they‚Äôre after winning a few provincials,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe added.
Buckle didn‚Äôt participate in the provincial senior men‚Äôs event last year because he has been dealing with a bad back for a number of years and it wasn‚Äôt up to the punishment he would have endured if he forged ahead last year.
Not much has changed with his back, but he‚Äôs willing to give it a go and hopes it holds up.
‚ÄúI‚ÄĚm hanging in there. All this snow isn‚Äôt helping my back, but anyway,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said, noting he has gotten used to playing the game with a certain amount of pain.
Buckle admits the team hasn‚Äôt spent a lot of time together on the ice, but he feels all hands have been curling fairly well leading into the tournament.
‚ÄúWe haven‚Äôt played a lot this year, but our goal is to make the playoffs anyway and see what happens after that,‚ÄĚ he said.
On the women‚Äôs side, it will be a three-team race with Donna Davis of Corner Brook trying to knock off two rinks from the east coast ‚ÄĒ Laura Phillips and Cathy Cunningham, both of whom call the Re/Max Centre home. Corner Brook native Diane Roberts, mother of Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship team member Stephanie LeDrew, will fill the role of third on the Cunningham foursome.
The Davis rink includes Donna Shears of Corner Brook in the second position, while Marcheta Gallant of Stephenville will throw third stones and Stephenville‚Äôs Mary Byrne is the lead for the team.
Davis has never curled with the two Stephenville players so she‚Äôs certainly looking forward to the challenge of meshing as a group in a hurry.
‚ÄúBecause of this lovely weather we‚Äôve been having any time we‚Äôve tried to get together it was too stormy,‚ÄĚ she said.
However, she has confidence in the group and she‚Äôs eager to throw some stones to see how it all unfolds.
‚ÄúI think we‚Äôre all capable of playing well. We‚Äôre all very capable,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just a matter of us all having a good time at the same time and see how fast we can learn each other‚Äôs delivery.‚ÄĚ
The women‚Äôs tournament, which gets underway Wednesday at the Caribou Curling Club, will feature a double round-robin affair.
The men‚Äôs tournament gets underway today with draws scheduled for 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Caribou Curling Club.