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Zone playdowns give Dutiaume chance to relive fairy-tale 2005

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CURLING'S effervescent everyman shocked Manitoba and endeared himself to Canadians in 2005 when he came out of nowhere to win a provincial title and make it to the Brier playoffs with a new, last-minute, lunch-bucket crew.

Four years later, Randy Dutiaume said he has contemplated giving up competitive curling after his team failed to qualify for last year's Safeway Championships and gradually split apart.

But the amiable, cap-wearing skip only has to look back to 2005 to know -- and believe -- that his new teammates, third Nathan Asham, second Scott McCamis and lead Greg Melnichuk can win purple hearts and be Brier-bound again.

"It's been a pretty frustrating year, right from the get-go," Dutiaume said before putting his unbeaten record in the city playdowns on the line Friday against Robin Nelson. A win in Zone 20 this weekend would get him to Selkirk and the provincials next month.

Dutiaume lost Shane Kilgallen over the summer when his wife had a child. He lost third Dave Elias when the towering, fiery shotmaker aggravated a hernia, although Elias has his own team now and was breezing through his own zone earlier this week.

Dispute

And then Chris Suchy, Dutiaume's burly lead, quit the team about three weeks ago following a dispute over an injury he suffered at a Stonewall bonspiel and Dutiaume's decision to rest him and recruit a spare instead.

After Dutiaume, Melnichuk and Asham qualified at a Dauphin bonspiel, they recruited McCamis at second and Melnichuk moved to lead.

"Actually, this year has been the best I've ever played consistently throughout the year, personally," said Dutiaume, whose team was seeded sixth heading into the zones. "It felt really good for me but off the ice, it's just not been the same.

"I miss having four guys around my age. I've got three young guys now. It's just one of those things. I'm out in Edmonton having a glass of wine and a meal by myself sitting in my bed in my hotel room.

"And I'm going, 'What the hell am I doing?' I'm sort of questioning whether or not I want to continue doing this competitively or not. I'm 46 years old and cripes, it's just been such a frustrating year."

While the foursome faces long odds to beat the likes of Jeff Stoughton, Kerry Burtnyk, Mike McEwen or other top teams at the Safeway Championships in Selkirk next month, Dutiaume knows what he and his buddies did in 2005 -- also in Selkirk.

"How can you say we were going to have the year we did in 2005? That was like an absolute dream year... well, I'm not even going to say that, it was a dream month. And anybody could do it. Not only me.

"The way we did it was quite unique and I'm not sure anybody's going to be able to duplicate that. But I'm still having a good run. That 2005 thing has turned into 2009 and I'm still enjoying myself.

"I don't know. I was a little down in Edmonton but now that I'm back home, it's all good."

chris.cariou@freepress.mb.ca

Former Brier champ Peters

drops decision to Okumura

 

Winnipeg zones results Friday night:

 

Randy Dutiaume 9 Robin Nelson 2

Neil Okumura 11 Vic Peters 8

David Bohn 6 Troy Hamilton 2

Bob Sigurdson 9 Andrew Wickman 2

Don Nelson 6 Brad Haight 4

Sean Grassie 8 Frank Walter 1

Craig Strand 8 Carl German 4

Doug Riach 10 Scott James 4

Dale Lott 8 Corey Chambers 6

Dave Carswell 8 Tim Friesen 3

Joel Newbury 7 Barry Melnyk 4

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2009 D1

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