Jackson rink starts winless at Northerns

Lorne Jackson’s Fort Frances rink was in an early hole after the first day of action yesterday at the Northern Ontario men’s curling playdowns in Kapuskasing.
Jackson’s foursome, including third Don DeBenedet, second Derek Jackson, and lead Wayne Beacham, lost their first two draws, falling 9-3 to Dave MacInnes (Timmins) and then 8-4 to defending champ Al Hackner (Fort William).
In last night’s draw against Hackner, Jackson scored two in the eighth end to tie the game at 4-4. But the former Brier and world champ stormed back with four in the ninth to grab the victory.
“We gambled in the ninth. We rubbed on our second-last shot and they came in and plugged it up,” Jackson said afterwards from the Kapuskasing Curling Club.
“It was a close game and Al just shot better than us in that ninth end,” he added. “It was a just a couple key shots that was the difference. At this level, that’s all it takes—one missed shot.
It was a clutch win for Hackner, who was in danger of falling to 0-2 after losing 4-3 to Al Harnden (Sault Ste. Marie) in yesterday’s afternoon draw.
Against MacInnes, Jackson found himself trailing 6-1 after just the fourth end, and could only muster two in the fifth before giving up another three in the seventh.
That’s when they threw in the towel.
“I think we had trouble adjusting to the ice,” Jackson remarked. “They stole two in the second and that hurt. We needed our rocks to curl and they didn’t.”
This is Jackson’s first trip to the provincials. He’s one of nine rinks competing in the round-robin format, which will run until Friday, when the top four teams will advance to the playoffs using the “Page” system.
The winning rink will advance to the Nokia Brier.
Jackson’s hopes of cracking the top four aren’t dashed yet but he’ll have to produce some wins today. He faced early leader Ron Rosengren (Fort William) this morning and then Tim Phillips (Sudbury) in the afternoon.
He’ll wrap up day two action against Brad Minogue (North Bay) tonight.
Rosengren’s rink, including Fort Frances native Rob Sinclair Jr. at third and Dale Wiersema of Atikokan at second, were 2-0 entering play today.
The rest of Jackson’s draws will see them play Tom Armstrong (Kirkland Lake) and Rob Gordon (Cobalt-Haileybury) on Thursday. After a bye Friday morning, they’ll wrap up round-robin play Friday afternoon against Harnden.
“It’s still very possible. We just have to try to win two out of three [Wednesday],” reasoned Jackson. “We’ve adjusted to the ice. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning some things.”