Frans rink in semis

STEVE GREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

WOODSTOCK -- Given an immediate chance to get even, Joe Frans wasn't about to waste it.

At least that's how it turned out as the Oshawa skip had to overcome an early deficit to beat Jake Higgs and his Harriston rink 8-5 in the 3-4 page playoff game last night at the TSC Stores Tankard.

Frans advances to tonight's semifinal at the Ontario men's curling championship at the Woodstock District Community Centre against either world No. 1 Glenn Howard of Coldwater or Peter Corner of Brampton, who meet in the 1-2 game this afternoon.

Frans trailed 5-2 after five and seemed to give Higgs control when he hit and rolled out on a hit for three in the sixth, taking only two and giving up the hammer. But he stole single points in each of the last four ends.

"We had a little chat in the locker room at the fifth-end break. Everyone was a little nervous and we needed to get our stuff together and play our game. We started to make some shots and you could see the tables turn," Frans said. "They had some shots, too, but we got mine in better spots than they did."

Higgs beat Frans 8-7 in the final round-robin draw yesterday afternoon to leave both teams at 6-3. Frans said playing the same team again right away was a bit of a help.

"Yeah, you get a chance to feed off your loss," he said. "But playing that first game we knew we'd be in a tiebreaker or the playoffs no matter what and the ice was completely different."

Higgs, who throws third stones, said the first of the Frans steals was a vital moment.

"We were hitting on my (second) shot to sit two and we wanted to stick so we'd have two wingmen. Unfortunately I hit and rolled to the back of the button, he threw one in there and we couldn't get it out. And it doesn't take much with the free-guard zone to have a lead chipped away.

"I don't feel like we played badly," added the Strathroy resident, who has Brent Ross of Listowel throwing fourth, Andrew Clayton of Paris second and Micky Lizmore of London lead. "The rocks just didn't end up where we wanted them to and we couldn't get key shots. But I'm proud of the guys.

"This was a learning experience. It's one thing to talk about the bonspiel circuit; it's a totally different thing to beat good teams."

Mike Harris of Toronto Donalda had a chance to join Higgs and Frans at 6-3, but he dropped his final game 10-7 to Peter Steski of Sarnia, who broke a 5-5 tie with a five in the seventh.

Howard finished atop the standings at 8-1, but he had to work for a 7-4 win over winless Rick Thurston of Dundas Granite.


Videos

Photos