Stettler Rotarians capture world Rotary curling crown

Members of the Rotary Club of Stettler are celebrating after their local team won gold in the 2014 World Rotary Curling Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland, last week.

Members of the Rotary Club of Stettler are celebrating after their local team won gold in the 2014 World Rotary Curling Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland, last week.

Skip Neil Connor and his team took the championship after beating out the Madison, Wis., team 5-4.

The Peterborough, Ont., team snagged the bronze.

“We played well together,” said Connor, 55, who returned from Scotland on Tuesday. Brian Sribney was the lead, Rene Bernard was second and Collin Georgette played third.

The Stettler Rotary curling team also won gold at the championship in 2010.

This time around, they played a total of 10 games in the round robin as well as the final, which was the most memorable game, Connor said.

“For the first five ends they actually out-curled us and we were two down after five.

“Then for the sixth, seventh and eight ends we out-curled them, so that was rewarding. Madison was definitely the hottest team going into playoffs.”

It was Georgette’s 15-foot runback to “set everything up nicely” that was Connor’s favourite delivery of the week.

“It made the two shots I made after that quite a bit easier,” he said with a laugh.

The championship, established in 1972 by the International Curling Fellowship of Rotarians, saw 11 teams competing this year, four from Canada, three from the U.S., three from Scotland and one from England.

Connor has been curling for 42 years and said growing up in Alberta brings a huge advantage.

“If you curl in this province, you’re going to be playing tough games and close games. … And I think some of the teams we faced don’t have that so that was an advantage we had in terms of experience.”

Most of the Stettler team has been playing together for about 10 years, which also helps them slide the stones better, Connor said.

The championships, held every two years, will take place in Grande Prairie in 2016.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

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