Missed shots cost Jackson at Northerns

More cold than hot. More bad than good.
That was the theme for local skip Lorne Jackson’s first appearance at the Northern Ontario men’s playdowns in Kapuskasing last week, where his rink finished with a 3-5 record in the round-robin to fall short of a playoff berth.
“Yes and no,” Jackson said Sunday night when asked whether he was happy with his seventh-place showing at the nine-rink showdown. “We could have done better. A few shots here and there.
“We were only out of the tie-breaker by one game so it was pretty close,” he added. “We just missed some easy shots at the wrong time.
“But overall, we’re pretty pleased with what we did,” he remarked.
Jackson crew, featuring third Don DeBenedet, second Derek Jackson, and lead Wayne Beacham, got off to a rocky start, losing their first three games before going 3-2 the rest of the way.
It began last Tuesday when they opened play with a 9-3 loss to Dave MacInnes (Timmins) and then an 8-4 defeat at the hands of defending champ Al Hackner (Fort William).
But the crucial loss, according to Jackson, came last Wednesday morning against Ron Rosengren (Fort William) to fall to 0-3.
“We had to win that one to have a realistic chance,” he said. “I missed an easy shot for two in the fourth and Ron ended up scoring three [to take a 4-2 lead].”
Ironically, Jackson picked up his first win later Wednesday against Tim Phillips (Sudbury), who wound up winning the Northern Ontario crown by beating Rosengren in the final Sunday morning.
Jackson stole four in the fifth end, then added two points in the seventh and a steal of three more in the eighth to ice the 9-3 victory.
But they couldn’t keep the momentum going Wednesday night, losing 9-3 to Brad Minogue (North Bay), who cashed in with steals of three in the third and fifth ends.
Jackson then was mathematically eliminated Thursday afternoon with a 7-5 loss to Tom Armstrong (Kirkland Lake). But they rebounded with two-straight wins—8-7 over Rob Gordon (Cobalt-Haileybury) on Thursday night and 7-5 over Al Harnden (Sault Ste. Marie) on Friday afternoon—to play spoiler.
“That last win against [Harnden] forced a tie-breaker,” laughed Jackson. “So I guess playing spoiler is at least something we can be proud of.”
Armstrong beat Harnden 6-3 in the first tie-breaker but then lost 9-4 to Minogue in the second one.
Rosengren, who finished atop the round-robin with a 7-1 record, beat Hackner 8-6 in the first-place vs. second-place game to earn a berth in the final.
Hackner dropped down to meet Phillips, who had beaten Minogue 6-5 in the third-place vs. fourth-place game, with the latter winning 8-4 to move on to face Rosengren in the final.
Rosengren’s rink, which included Fort Frances native Rob Sinclair Jr. at third and Atikokan’s Dale Wiersema at second, lost 5-4 to Phillips on last rock of the 10th end.
The win gave Phillips his second trip to the Nokia Brier in three years.
Looking back, Jackson said their failure to string together wins in the middle of the week kept them from playing into the weekend.
Then again, the top-notch field included Hackner, a former national and world champ who has nine provincial titles under his belt. Harnden has made three trips to the Brier while MacInnes and Phillips each have gone once.
And first-year skip Rosengren’s team went with Bruce Melville in 1998.
“There were travelling teams out there that play just in cash ’spiels,” admitted Jackson, who only plays with brother, Derek, and Beacham in the men’s Monday night league here (DeBenedet skips his own rink).
“The best out of each area played there. It’s a big jump.”
Besides finishing off house league and local bonspiel play, Jackson plans to take his rink to Hibbing for the annual “Last Chance ’Spiel” in April.