Fort rinks set for Northwesterns

Both Fort Frances rinks will open action tomorrow at the Northwestern men’s curling playdowns in Sioux Lookout.
Raymond Roy will take on Ernie Paul (Hornepayne) at 10:30 a.m. while Don DeBenedet will face Greg Shield (Kenora) in the 2 p.m. draw.
Sixteen teams are vying for one of three berths to the Northern playdowns Feb. 9-11 in Marathon.
Roy, whose rink includes third Scott Gobeil, second Dave Broman, and lead Don Robertson, said they will have to curl much better than they have lately in the local men’s league to advance.
Still, he’s confident they can turn things around.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Roy said. “We’ve struggled in club play but [at the Northwesterns], experience is a factor. You have to have it and we have it.”
DeBenedet, who breezed through the Zone 7 qualifier in Stratton earlier this month, also should have a strong rink at Sioux Lookout, which includes third Tim Nordin, second Greg Tighe, and lead Dave Bondett.
“The field is always strong. You have to be good to get [to the Northerns],” said Tighe, who missed playing at the Zone 7 qualifier because he had out-of-town commitments.
Tighe said the key is to get out to a fast start and avoid early losses.
“If you can start out 2-0 that’s great, and 1-1 that’s really good, but you don’t want to come out after the first day with two losses,” he stressed.
But this year’s field should be as strong as ever with the likes of Jason Repay (Fort William), Larry Pineau (Thunder Bay Country Club), and Bruce Melville (Port Arthur) all looking at a trip to the provincials.
Action runs through Sunday, with the final draw slated for 1 p.m.