A team from the Guelph Country Club is off to St. John, New Brunswick, for the Canadian Masters (age 60+) Curling Championships, and they have yet to lose a game in bonspiel or competition play: that means 18 straight wins this season.
Skip Mike Dorey, third (“mate” in Saint John) Brian Henderson, second Gary Houghton and lead Paul Knight knew they had something good when they got together early in the year and the wins started flowing.
“We have curled against one another for years at the Club,” says Knight. “I played with Mike and Brian last year in the Masters but we didn't do well. So, since Brian and Mike curled with Gary in Senior Regionals, and I was already on the team, we asked Gary if he would play 2nd (he's a great hitter) and then Mike would skip as he normally does with Brian as vice, and me as lead. The combo really clicked.”
Although they’re not familiar with the teams they’ll be curling against, they’re not worried. They know what they’re capable of, and that’s what matters. All four have ice-reading ability and a high level of fitness. As Dorey said in a local Guelph Tribune article, “We think we’re quite capable of playing guys 50 and over with this team. We don’t feel that we have an old-folks attitude or ability. In fact, all of us throw the rock pretty good. I could say “given our age”, but I would say we throw the rock pretty good period.”
The Masters may not get the attention that other Canadian curling championships (such as the Brier) do, but that could be changing.
“The CCA sanctions the event in Saint John,” Knight explains, “but we are probably one year away from full financial support; the OCA rep believes we are very close. And with 13 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams this year at the Canadians, from every province and territory, that has to get the CCA attention.”
What will get more attention, most likely, is the record this team has coming into the competition. When word gets out – 18 straight wins and undefeated in OCA playdowns – the target may be squarely on the backs of this Ontario foursome.