Team Sask. Brier run comes to an end with semi final loss to Alberta
REGINA -- Facing Team Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher in the semi-final of the Canadian Men’s Curling National Championships, Team Matt Dunstone fell 6-5.
“There’s nothing to hang our heads about. I mean it was a world class game, they played...we played awesome. The curling Gods were wearing a blue sweater today,” said skip, Matt Dunstone, referring Alberta’s jersey colours.
Team Saskatchewan curled a combined 88 per cent, while Alberta was at a total 82 per cent efficiency. The rinks exchanged single points throughout the game, but Saskatchewan’s first error came in the eighth end. With hammer and facing two Alberta red stones, Dunstone was trying to tap Alberta’s rock out of the four foot and stick his own. However, Saskatchewan’s yellow rock rolled out to give up a steal of one.
Dunstone scored two in the ninth end. Then with hammer in the 10th end, Bottcher had an angle raise for two and executed the difficult shot with precision to score two and secure a spot in the Brier Finals against Wild Card Kevin Koe.
Despite the loss, Team Saskatchewan was grateful to even have an opportunity to compete at the Brier given the cancellations in sport due to COVID-19.
“To be out here competing in a global pandemic when there’s so many other things going on in the world right now it’s...I’m pretty thankful for the experience,” Dunstone said through tears after the game.
It’s the second straight year that Saskatchewan will settle for Bronze. The team made one positional switch since 2020, adding Kirk Muyres in at second.
“We just played a really really good game. Did everything we could as a team, just kept together as a unit and when our last one come to rest, Deuce (lead Dustin Kidby) and I said to each other, well we did all we could,” Muyres offered.
The 2021 Brier field included eight of the top 13 teams in the world, according to the World Curling Team Rankings. At 25 years old, Matt Dunstone proved the four-some is yet again a future contender. Dunstone himself was the youngest skip by four years to qualify for the Championship Pool.
“He’s the next big thing and I think we saw it today and now he’s one of the best in the world,” Muyres said.
For the province of Saskatchewan, the Brier drought now extends to 42 years.
Rick Folk’s rink from Saskatoon was the last team to win the Tankard wearing the green jackets.
Team Dunstone says it’s only a matter of time before they too win the national championship.
“I think if you come to bat every year and every chance we get, and we’ll crack thorugh one of these years, I have no doubt,” Muyres said.
“This isn’t the end of us, we’re going to come back stronger,” Dunstone offered. “You keep putting yourselves in these sort of positions, you’re going to succeed eventually.”