James Grattan successful defended his provincial title Sunday, February 6 at the Miramichi Curling Club, defeating Rick Perron of Moncton, 6-4 in the final.
Grattan opened with a steal in the first end, as the teams then traded singles for the next seven ends. But a deuce in the ninth was all that was needed, as Grattan, representing the Gage Golf and Curling Association in Oromocto, clinched the title in the eight team round robin.
Perron had finished first with a 6-1 record to earn a bye to the final, with Paul Dobson of Saint John and Grattan tied for second at 5-2. In the semi-final, Grattan prevailed over Dobson, 6-5, stealing one in an extra end.
Grattan is joined by third Charlie Sullivan, second Steve Howard and lead Peter Case. It will be Grattan’s ninth trip to the Brier, and fifth as skip. He directed New Brunswick in 1997 (9-4 in Calgary, third place), 2006, 2008 and 2010, while playing third for Russ Howard in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2009.
Third Charlie Sullivan will be making his fifth Brier appearance, all as third, but first since 2001 in Ottawa, when skipped by Jim Sullivan. He also played in 1990 for Jim Sullivan, when runner-up to Ontario’s Ed Werenich, for Brian Dobson in 1994 and for Grattan in 1997.
Steve Howard is making his fourth trip to the Brier. In 2004, he was the alternate for the Russ Howard team, played lead/second for his father in 2009, and was third for Grattan last year.
Case makes his fifth Brier appearance, after playing lead in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and as an alternate in 2001.
New Brunswick has never won the Brier. Its best finish in recent times was a second-place finish in 2000 in Saskatoon, when Howard lost to British Columbia’s Greg McAulay in the final.