Ready to rock

Tankard be­gins to­day at Char­lot­te­town Curl­ing Com­plex

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - THE GUARDIAN

Skip Adam Casey said he’s not feel­ing any ex­tra pres­sure as the de­fend­ing champs head­ing into to­day’s first day of play at the P.E.I. Tankard men’s curl­ing cham­pi­onship.

“Provin­cials is kind of some­thing you gear your sea­son to­wards and try and make sure you peak at the right time,” he said Thurs­day night. “I’m cer­tainly not feel­ing any dif­fer­ent this year than I was last year.”

Play be­gins to­day at 2 p.m. in the six-team, mod­i­fied triple­knock­out com­pe­ti­tion at the Char­lot­te­town Curl­ing Com­plex.

The win­ner will rep­re­sent Prince Ed­ward Is­land at the Tim Hor­tons Brier from March 5 to 13 in Ottawa.

Casey’s rink from the Sil­ver Fox and Char­lot­te­town clubs in­cludes third David Mathers, who is new to the team this sea­son, se­cond An­son Car­mody and lead Robert Do­herty.

Casey and Jamie New­son’s rink from the host club have byes into tonight’s 7 p.m. draw.

“He’s def­i­nitely the favourite, but I don’t think it’s a wide gap right now,” New­son said of the Casey rink.

New­son has fin­ished se­cond the past two sea­sons. He’s back this sea­son with a new team that in­cludes third John Likely, se­cond Mark O’Rourke and lead Mark But­ler.

He said it is the most ex­pe­ri­enced team he’s ever skipped with a lot of Brier ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s been great,” New­son said. “They bring a lot of knowl­edge to the game. . . They’ve been through pretty much ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, so that helps.”

The field also in­cludes teams skipped by Ed­die MacKen­zie, who won the event in 2011, 2013 and 2014, past cham­pion Robert Camp­bell, Tyler Har­ris and Tyler Smith.

New­son pointed out all the teams ex­cept the Smith rink, which com­peted in ju­nior this sea­son, have play­ers who have won the Is­land ti­tle in the past.

Casey said his team is look­ing for­ward to start­ing the quest to re­peat af­ter a cou­ple of weeks away from the com­pet­i­tive curl­ing cir­cuit.

“I’ve been look­ing for­ward to it the past few weeks and ob­vi­ously ex­cited to get it started,” said the 26-year-old Winsloe res­i­dent and Seven Mile Bay na­tive.

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