Jacobs pulls off miracle to defend Northern Ontario title

Defending champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie shocked Joe Scharf’s Fort William Curling Club foursome on Sunday, February 13, winning the Dominion Men’s Northern Ontario Championship in Thunder Bay, 7-6 by stealing three in the 10th end. Facing three Jacobs counters behind the tee-line, Scharf was heavy with his final stone, giving up the killer theft. Scharf and Jacobs had finished tied for first place after the 12-team round robin with 9-2 records, but Scharf was awarded first place because of his 5-3 round robin victory. The leaders then met in the Page 1-2 game, and once again, Scharf prevailed, this time 8-4, to advance to the final. After Jacobs eliminated Page 3-4 winner Mike Assad of Thunder Bay, 6-1 in the semi-final, it meant another duel with Scharf. Mid-way through the final, the result appeared to be the same, after Scharf blew open a close battle with a three-spot in the sixth end for a 5-1 lead. But Jacobs and his Soo Curlers Association team of third E. J. Harnden, second Ryan Harnden and new lead Scott Seabrook fought back, taking two in the ninth to close the gap to 6-4, before the 10th end shocker. Jacobs made his Brier debut in 2007 in Hamilton, as third (but throwing fourth rocks) for Al Harnden, when the team went 5-6. In 2008, Jacobs, initially listed as the alternate for the Eric Harnden team, played several games at skip and one game at lead during the week, which saw them finish at 3-8. Last year, Jacobs and the Harnden brothers finished an excellent third at the Tim Hortons Brier in Halifax, losing the semi-final to eventual winner, Alberta’s Kevin Koe, 10-3, while finishing with an overall record of 9-4. This will be Jacobs’ fourth Brier, while the Harndens make their third appearance. Lead Scott Seabrook was the alternate for Mike Jakubo’s team at the 2009 Brier in Calgary. Northern Ontario has won four Briers since 1927, the last two by Al Hackner, in 1982 in Brandon and in 1985 in Moncton.