TRURO – Team Burgess knows what lies at the end of the tunnel.
Playing in the Molson Coors Tankard provincial men’s curling championship Feb. 5-10 on home ice at Truro Curling Club would be something special for skip Peter Burgess, mate Craig Burgess, second Jared Bent and lead Todd Burgess.
“We haven’t hosted the Tankard since 1993 so it’s been a while,” Craig said. “So it would be nice to be in it, especially to be in it at the end and create some buzz around the club and around town.”
But before the foursome can think about how great it would be to compete in front of a home gallery, it has to get into the event through this weekend’s qualifying tournament in Amherst, where 21 teams will be duking it out for just five Tankard berths.
Play gets underway with three draws Thursday. Burgess meets Mayflower’s Rob Harris at 4:30 p.m. The event runs until Sunday.
The field, which faces a triple-elimination format, will be led by the top-seeded Mayflower squad skipped by five-time Tankard winner Mark Dacey. Defending Tankard champion Jamie Murphy, of Lakeshore, enters the event seeded second while clubmate Paul Flemming is slotted third.
The Burgess rink enters the event at No. 14, which doesn’t bother them in the least.
“It’s going to be tough,” Craig said. “But to me it’s pretty wide open. There are going to be guys who are going to be tough to beat but anyone can beat anyone there.”
Also in the field will be Truro native Bruce Lohnes, a mate with Scott Saunders’ unaffiliated foursome. Truro’s Cameron MacKenzie will throw second stones for Harris while Truro’s Peter Neily and Stewiacke’s Jamie Barr are second and lead respectively for Steve Ogden’s Mayflower squad.
A last-chance qualifier will also be held Jan. 17 to 20 in Wolfville, but the Truro group doesn’t want to waste any time booking its spot in the show this week.
“Ideally we’d like to qualify this week and if we can do that, then it’s a good first step,” Peter said.
The foursome has a legitimate shot to do so. Burgess went all the way to the semifinal of the Atlantic Challenge on the weekend in Moncton and Craig said the team is playing its best curling of the season thus far.
“Our game has improved a lot,” Craig said. “I think we’re throwing much better rocks than we were before Christmas.”
Peter said the team’s aim was to be hitting its peak at this point in the season.
“That was our focus,” he said. “The cashspiels we went into were to get game experience and get our bodies and heads into the right spot come the first week of February.”
The key this week will be to keep progressing and make opposing teams pay for their mistakes.
“We have to take advantage when they miss and keep things simple,” Craig said.
What: Molson Coors Tankard Qualifier
When: Thursday to Sunday
Where: Amherst Curling Club
Tankard Berths: 5
Team Burgess: Peter Burgess, skip; Craig Burgess, mate; Jared Bent, second; Todd Burgess, lead.
Format: Triple elimination
On the line: Entry to the 2013 Molson Coors Tankard provincial men’s curling championship Feb. 5-10 at Truro Curling Club