HAROLD NELSON’S TEAM: CARBERRY’S TOP TEAM CIRCA 1949

As a student of Manitoba curling history, I congratulate the Carberry Curling Club for the display which honours EVERY Carberry Men’s team which has advanced to provincial championship competition since the first one – Carberry’s Muirhead team who played in the Macdonald Brier trophy competition in the 1928 MCA Bonspiel. (FYI – beginning in 1925, the original Manitoba Men’s Championship was played for the Macdonald Brier Trophy – you can find the story at the new Manitoba Curling Virtual Museum (www.mbcurlmuseum.com) website.)

The Carberry women who have represented the club at provincial championships are also celebrated on the walls of the curling club, beginning with Carol Ann McDonald’s 1973 team which competed in the Manitoba Lassie that year.

I have also enjoyed looking at the small museum display featuring the 1949 Carberry British Consols team of Harold Nelson which is part of the Carberry Plains Community Centre decorations this week at the Scotties.

The photo cutline proclaims that Harold Nelson (skip), Walter Froom (third), Samual Robinson (second), and William Witherspoon (lead) were Carberry’s top curling team, competing in the 1949 Manitoba Bonspiel and the British Consols playdowns representing Zone 3.

The sweater crests show that the team had also been “contestants” in the 1948 Diamond Jubilee MCA Bonspiel and at least one of them played in the 75th anniversary ‘spiel 15 years later in 1963.

The search for information led me to Rick Mutton, the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum’s “factician” (not sure if that’s a word but it perfectly describes Rick’s role as Manitoba curling fact-finder).

It turns out that the team only played in one British Consols together and their record was ‘quite ordinary’ as they compiled a 1W-4L record in five games. The event that year was 12 teams, split into two pools of six. The legendary Ken Watson went undefeated in the Carberry team’s pool and went on to beat equally legendary Jimmy Welsh in the provincial final.

In all, skip Harold Nelson made four British Consols appearances with a 4W-7L record. Nelson and second Walter Froom played one game in the single knock Consols in 1944. Nelson and Bill Witherspoon, teamed with Irwin & Byron Steen, made British Consols appearances in 1952 and 1954, with a total 3W-2L record. They also won the Black & Armstrong event in the 1953 MCA Bonspiel.

The record also shows that Nelson played lead for another legendary Manitoba curler, Leo Johnson, on a team that won the 1965 & 1968 Stovel’s Veteran’s Bonspiel which was played at the same time as the MCA ‘spiel.