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Willsey wins curling Classic

Willsey takes Classic on last rock shot


Defeats James Grattan in an extra end, to win the St. Thomas men's curling event



  October 24, 2022


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By Rob J. Ross

ST. THOMAS - John Willsey did not wait long for success as skip with his new team.

At just their second tournament together, the Willsey rink, with third Brady Lumley, second Matthew Garner and lead Spencer Dunlop, won the St. Thomas Curling Classic, edging James Grattan, of New Brunswick, 6-5, on the final rock of an extra end.

"We had figure out how hard to throw it and give it to the sweepers. I trust them to make it for me. That's all we were focused on," said Willsey. "Executing the shot."

Knowing the ice helped set up the final throw, against two Grattan rocks.

"We knew it was getting a little slow in the house," Willsey said. "It looked good for most of the way and then I was a little nervous waiting for it to stop. Luckily it did."

Willsey led 3-1, but Grattan jumped ahead 4-3, scoring three in the fifth end. Willsey tied the game in the sixth end and took a 5-4 lead in the seventh.

Grattan sent the final to extras, knotting the affair at five, on last rock in the eighth.

"It feels great. This is only our second event as a team. We played last weekend and didn't do quite as well," said Willsie "But we found our stride here and rode the momentum and played well."

The Willsey team went 3-1 during preliminary play, only losing to Travis Fanset, one of three St. Thomas teams in the event.

"We had a good close game Friday night that we knew we were playing well, but a few things didn't go our way and we snuck it out and we built off that," Willsey said. "Communication was our big thing and obviously being new, just getting to know each other and having fun out here."

Willsey, Lumley, Garner and Dunlop, joined forces, just earlier this month.

"Those three have played together. I'm the new guy on the block, but our coach has coached us all at some point before," Willsey said. "It's been a smooth transition, I think, and we're lucky to have some good success this weekend."

Three playoff games in one day is an intense schedule.

"It's a grind. You try not to over exert yourself and try to stay mentally sharp," Willsey said. "They're the ones sweeping, so they doing a lot of heavy work. For me, it's staying in the present and one shot at a time. The day flies by, once you do that."

The champions take home $3000 of a $11,000 purse, with all eight playoff qualifiers receiving a portion.

"Winning a men's spiel is always a lot of hard work because the depth is Ontario is crazy," Willsey said. "There is always a lot good teams and some international teams. There is always strong competition."

Travis Fanset, with Aaron Squires, Scott Brandon and Chad Allen, had the best St. Thomas result, advancing to the quarterfinals, before falling to Grattan.

Scott McDonald, of St. Thomas, played with Grattan team. His fiancče, Laura, was on the Matthew Hall skipped rink.

Team Korea went 3-0 in the prelim rounds, but lost in the quarterfinals, 5-4, to Scott Dunnham, of Philadelphia.




More images from the Classic on Instagram - hometownplay






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