Sinclair Jr. captures men’s bonspiel again

For Rob Sinclair Jr., the Fort Frances Curling Club’s men’s bonspiel is all about family.
The Thunder Bay skip—curling with third Dan Peerenboom, second Dan Greer, and his dad, Rob, as lead—captured their second-consecutive title by beating Paul Fraser’s Fort Frances rink 6-4 in the ‘A’ final Sunday afternoon.
And while he was pleased to have won the 59th instalment of the annual event, Sinclair Jr. was more grateful to have had the opportunity to compete alongside his father.
“It’s always great to come into town here and play, especially with my dad,” he enthused.
This year’s event was made even more meaningful for the younger Sinclair given the passing of his mother, Fran, late last year.
“This year we are dedicating this to my mom, who we lost last November,” Sinclair Jr. said.
“We did it for Pops this weekend, too,” he added. “He was unable to finish it with us.”
Rob Sinclair Sr. played in the opening draw Friday night but then fell ill with the ’flu on Saturday, forcing him to withdraw. As a result, Sinclair Jr., Peerenboom, and Greer played a man short the rest of the weekend.
“I give the guys a lot of credit for playing hard just the three of us,” Sinclair Jr. commented.
“It isn’t easy. It is a bit of a different game because you have to make some adjustments,” he added. “Even though we had some short games early in the weekend, we knew this one [against Fraser] would be tough, as always.
“The boys were a bit on the tired side. We’re not used to this [at] this time of year. It felt really good.”
In addition to playing a man short, Sinclair Jr.’s rink struggled to make their shots against Fraser’s veteran rink—comprised of third Jim Ballard, second Dave Evans, and lead Frank Strain—in the ‘A’ final.
“I felt we were on the wrong side of the inch a couple of times,” Sinclair Jr. said of the championship game.
“A little more here, a little more there, and we possibly could have put the game away a little earlier,” he added. “They held on and they were with us right until the very end.”
Despite coming up a bit short, Fraser was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I was happy with the weekend and that we managed to make the finals with a bunch of old-timers,” he remarked. “We had five really good games.
“The final game was close,” he added. “We got down early and couldn’t quite catch up. It would have been nicer to win, but it was good to compete.”
This weekend’s victory marks the fourth time Sinclair Jr. has taken home top honours at Fort Frances men’s bonspiel. But winning the title is something the decorated skip said never grows old.
“They are always fun,” he enthused. “The first one is always your best one [but] it feels good to come back and just have a good weekend.
“Winning is a bonus, of course. We’ll go home with a little cash in our wallets, which is always good.”
Sinclair Jr. got off to a quick start in the ‘A’ final on Sunday—scoring a deuce in the first end for the early advantage.
Fraser cut the deficit in half in the second end, but Sinclair Jr. replied with another deuce in the third to build a comfortable 4-1 lead.
Fraser scored a deuce of his own in the fourth end, making the score 4-3 at the halfway mark of the final.
But that would be as close as Fraser would come as the rinks exchanged singles in the fifth, sixth, and seventh ends.
Trailing by a pair in the eighth and final end without the hammer, Fraser was run out of rocks to end the game.
In other action Sunday afternoon, Wayne Beacham’s rink—comprised of third Sheldon Kelly, second Grant Swire, and lead Mike Allen—cruised to an 11-2 victory over Mark Broman’s rink (third Ed Vold, second Derek McKinnon, and lead Cory Labbe) to win the ‘B’ title.
“It went great,” Beacham enthused. “The guys were curling well, we had a lot of fun, and the beers were good.
“The guys weren’t missing,” he added. “Everything went well. The boys shot well.”
Beacham’s rink scored three in the first end, then added a deuce in the second to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
Broman responded with a deuce of his own in the third, but Beacham scored another deuce in the fourth and then a four-ender in the fifth to take an 11-2 lead.
That’s when Broman opted to shake hands.
“They had us right from the start,” Broman remarked. “We struggled a little bit and they got us where they wanted us. It was tough to come back.”
And in the ‘C’ final, Greg Gustafson’s rink (including third Dan Cousineau, second John Bagacki, lead Dave Legg, and alternate Tyler Cousineau) earned a 9-3 win over Jon Thompson (curling with third Phil Cooze, second Ed Cousineau, and lead Phil Mader).
“It was a good weekend,” Gustafson smiled. “We wound up playing on Sunday for a change and ended up on top of the ‘C’ event.
“Some of our regular guys will be a little envious but that’s just how it goes,” he added.
Gustafson’s rink found themselves trailing 3-0 through two ends but rallied with a four-ender in the third to take their first lead.
Buoyed by their comeback, Gustafson stole a deuce in the fourth and then three in the fifth before Thompson shook hands.
“We were behind early, got a four-ender, and got a couple more and a couple more,” Gustafson noted. “We were just on the right side of Lady Luck all weekend.”
Despite losing in the ‘C’ final, Thompson was pleased with the team’s performance.
“We had a lot of fun and that’s what this bonspiel is all about,” he stressed. “Our team played really well considering it was our first time playing all together as a team.
“We were playing a good team,” he added. “Greg’s team were good shooters. They got the four on us and then the threes, and we were just running out of gas.
“We just couldn’t make a shot when we needed to.”