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Osoyoos’ Abrey rink hoping to win 70-Plus provincial bonspiel this week
After finishing one game short of winning the provincial 70-Plus Curling Championships last year, Dale Abrey’s Osoyoos International Curling Club rink has plenty of incentive to win it all this year.
Abrey’s rink, which features third Ron Robinson, second Larry Gabelman and lead Gordon James (who is substituting for Ferris Bromley, who is in Hawaii on vacation), is in Salmon Arm this week to compete against seven other rinks at the provincial championships.
Abrey’s rink repeated as the Zone 3 champions by going undefeated at the zone bonspiel in Summerland two weeks ago.
Abrey is confident his team can come out on top during the eight-team round-robin tournament, which started Tuesday and wraps on Friday in Salmon Arm.
“Our goal is to win one more game than last year when we came up just short at the provincials,” said Abrey, who has been curling with Robinson for more than a decade and several years with Gabelman. “We were a little disappointed to come so close last year and we want it pretty bad this year.”
When asked for the reasons why his team has enjoyed so much success the past few years, Abrey said being consistent and having every team member contribute have been the keys to success.
“We play together very well as a team,” he said. “Some rinks rely on a couple of guys to make all the shots, but everybody knows their role on our team and everybody contributes equally.
“We’re also good friends off the ice and get along very well and that transfers on the ice because we don’t argue and always pull together when it counts the most.”
Playing seven matches in four days is going to be tough, but he and his teammates are ready to take on the province’s best 70-plus rinks, said Abrey.
“We’re going to give it everything we can,” he said. “We’re not getting any younger and it’s a real honour to play for a provincial championship and we would really like to go all the way this time and win it all.”
Robinson said he’s looking forward to a return trip to the provincial championships and believes the team is ready to win it all.
“We came awfully close last year and were just one game short and we believe we’re an even stronger team this year,” said Robinson. “We played very well at the zone playdowns and didn’t lose a game and I think we’re capable of playing even better at the provincials.
“We’re a confident group and I just hope we play as well as we’re capable of and everything will take care of itself.”
Several of the same teams that competed at the provincials last year will be returning so everyone on the team knows that it’s not going to be easy to win it all, said Robinson.
“The way the tournament is set up is you play each of the other seven teams once and the winner at the end of the round-robin is declared the provincial champion,” he said. “We know we’re going to have to win at least five or six games, but we’re playing very well right now and I think we have a very good chance.
“We’ll go down there, try our best and hopefully it will be good enough.”