Considering the talent at the men’s bonspiel here each year, Lorne Jackson would be the first to admit it how tough it is to repeat as champion.
But that’s exactly what Jackson and his rink of brother, Derek, and new front end Randy Genyk and Lionel Conan (both from Winnipeg), did at the 51st-annual affair last week, breezing through the 48-team field with an undefeated record.
They capped their great run with a convincing 8-3 win over FFHS (skipped by Chris Matheson) in the ‘A’-event final Sunday afternoon.
Jackson jumped out to a quick lead by scoring three in the first end, and iced the victory with a three-ender in the sixth. The teams shook hands after that.
“With three in the first, the game changed and they had to gamble,” said Jackson, who won last year’s bonspiel with a front-end featuring a pair of Thunder Bay natives.
“It really slowed them down,” he noted. “They played a very good game—a wide open game.”
While Jackson had little trouble winning in the final, it was a much different story in the semi-finals earlier Sunday against Rob Sinclair Jr.
Down 5-2 heading into the eighth and final end, Jackson scored a huge three-ender to tie the game and then won it with a steal of one in the extra end.
“It wasn’t luck, we played the eighth perfectly,” said Jackson of their comeback. “My first shot was a split to lay three and then they hit one of ours out and rolled out.
“Then my last shot was a free draw.”
They opened action by trouncing Kevin Busch 7-1 on Friday morning, then followed that up with a 7-3 win over Trevor Szmon. They advanced to the ‘A’ semi-finals with an 8-3 win over Dave Hughes on Saturday night.
Busch overcame his first loss to Jackson to win the ‘B’-event, stealing three in the final end of Sunday’s final to beat Doug Boyd 7-6.
Busch’s rink, which included Dennis Busch, Guy Donaldson, and Jim Sutch, had reeled off consecutive wins over Marvin Matson, Glen Jackson, and Don McCready to reach the ‘B’-final.
In the ‘C’-event, Craig Armstrong beat Curtis Sheloff 4-1 in a shortened game Sunday afternoon.
Armstrong and his rink of Keith Jolicouer, Laurie Armstrong, and Bruce Neilson opened with a 7-1 loss to Bruce Matheson on Friday morning, then were beat by Mike Kjeruf that evening (no score was available).
But that would be their last loss as they dumped Brian Avis 8-1, edged Duane Roste 5-4, outscored Mike Asplund 8-6, and then doubled Greg Gustafson 6-3.
Finally, the ‘D’-event was captured by Wayne Beacham, who eked out a tight 6-5 win over Hughes by scoring a pair in the eighth end of Sunday’s final.
Beacham’s rink consisted of Brian Beacham, Bruce Beacham, and Daryl Derojeau.
Beacham opened play Friday morning with a 6-3 win over Roste but then dropped a 5-4 decision to Hughes and lost 6-5 to Szmon.
They got back into the win column with a 5-3 victory over Matheson, nipped Gary Windigo 6-5, and then reached the final with a win over Paul Fraser (no score was available).