Roy rink repeats as champs of men’s bonspiel
With the Fort Frances Curling Club having moved up its annual men’s bonspiel to November from its regular February date in previous years, Raymond Roy was able to make history Saturday night.
Having captured the bonspiel title back in February with a 7-6 win over Lorne Jackson, Roy and his rink of third Dave Broman, second Butch Wensley, and lead Patrick Bruyere won their second-straight ‘A’ crown in the same year with a 7-3 victory over Adam Bolen in seven ends.
“The first few games we were under a lot of pressure as the other teams were playing well, but we just kept going strong all weekend,” he added.
With the score tied 3-3 after five ends, Roy stole one in the sixth before putting the game away with a steal of three more in the seventh.
“It was a back-and-forth, well-curled game early on and everybody was just making their shots,” Roy recalled.
“We were fortunate in the sixth end as we snuck one in there [the house] behind a bunch of guards, and they couldn’t get it out so we stole one there.
“Then in the seventh, they were gambling a little for multiple points,” Roy noted.
“And when that doesn’t happen, you tend to give up multiple points.”
A total of 20 rinks competed in the weekend event, which saw four other event winners crowned.
In the ‘B’ final Saturday night, the team of Jim Jackson (skip), Rob Sinclair (third), Doug Moss (second), and Lucas Punkari (lead) erased a 6-1 deficit after three ends to earn an 8-7 win over Jon Thompson.
“I’m more than happy with it,” Jackson enthused.
“The big turning point for us was in the fourth end as he [Thompson] was shooting to lie two or three,” Jackson recalled.
“[But] he took his own stone out, which allowed us to draw for three points.
“After that, he kind of lost his steadiness and we just kept picking away,” he added.
After giving up singles in the fifth and sixth ends, Thompson held a slim one-point lead after earning a single of his own in the seventh, which set the stage for a dramatic final end with Jackson holding the hammer (last-rock advantage).
“Our third, Rob, had a tried an angle raise earlier in the end that was a little light,” Jackson said.
“But when they came down and guarded things up, they bumped things around and it set up again.
“I was able to make that on my first and [was] lying one at that point, and it looked like we were headed for an extra end,” Jackson added.
“But as they were getting ready to shoot, Rob and I looked at their shot and I said, ‘If they do the shot that I think they are trying here, he’s going to do a raise and raise ours in for us.
“They did that, bumped our rock into the four-foot, and the rest is history.”
In the ‘C’ final, Don DeBenedet and his rink of Tim Nordin (third), Tom Mayer (second), and Rod Newman (lead) prevailed for the second-straight year with a 6-4 win over Ken McKinnon.
“It was a good game with a lot of good shot-making, and one that had a lot of rocks in play,” DeBenedet noted.
“We had a three-ender in the fourth end that gave us control of the game. And after that, we just kept things as clean as we could out there,” he added.
And in the ‘D’ bracket, the quartet of Rick Gruttner, Daryl Eyolfson, Doug Herr, and Peter Sass capped their weekend on a winning note with a 5-2 victory over Rich Peri.
“We were curling in honour of Sabino Rossi, who was supposed to skip with us this weekend but was sick,” Gruttner noted.
“We had a tough go in our first two games,” he admitted. “But by the third game, we really hit our stride and the team really came together.”
Rounding out the action was the meat draw, where teams played a format similar to a skins game—with the teams receiving steaks for their efforts instead of cash.
In the final, the rink of Greg Gustafson, Dan Cousineau, Jim Ward, and Craig Sanders came away with a 5-3 win over the Muskie boys’ rink, which is skipped by Reece Jones.
“I’m in pretty good shape but my crew is all going to Rainycrest tonight,” Gustafson joked.
“We had a lot of fun playing against the high school guys,” he added. “And with the skins game [format], you have to think a little differently from time to time.
“But, otherwise, it’s the same old game,” he reasoned.