WINNIPEG — It was fitting that Brad Jacobs sealed his right to represent Canada at the Olympics with one more big-weight double Sunday afternoon, and he never even considered a less risky shot.
“You’re throwing that double to win the game,” he said after beating John Morris 7-4.
He said his third, Ryan Fry, told him it was coming.
“Fry said it to me, ’You’re going to have a double either way here and we’re playing it.’ So my mind was already wrapped around some big weight shot before I even threw it.”
Jacob joins Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, who defeated Sherry Middaugh 8-4 Saturday night to win the women’s slot, the one prize that has eluded her in a championship-filled career.
Jacobs went into the game as the favourite, after earning his final spot by sweeping the round robin seven straight with a hard-hitting, muscular, fist-pumping brand of curling that delighted the crowd.
It’s also clean and near perfect when it counts.
“That’s our style,” he said.
With no hometown heroes left to root for Sunday at Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings (Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen were knocked out before the semifinals), the crowd switched it’s allegiance to the Jacobs rink.
It doesn’t hurt that Winnipeg-born Ryan Fry — the son of Manitoba curling legend and Brier winner Barry Fry — now plays third. E.J. Harnden is at second and brother Ryan Harnden at lead for the rink based out of Sault Ste Marie, Ont.
Just like Jones, Fry said it was especially sweet winning in his home town.
“It hasn’t even sunk in yet,” he said right after the win.
“It’s just an honour to be able to play in front of my home town and my friends and family and for us to be able to pull this out. We had a great week.”
Morris was also born in Winnipeg and is the son of curler and curling coach Earle Morris, although he grew up in Ontario and has spent most of his curling life there or Alberta.
From 2006 to early this year he was Kevin Martin’s third and part of the 2010 gold medal winning team in Vancouver. He came from behind to beat Martin in the semifinal to earn the right to play Jacobs.
Morris signed on to skip Jim Cotter’s B.C. rink this year with Cotter moving to third but throwing fourth, Tyrel Griffith at second and Rick Sawatzky at lead.
Morris said they had their chances.
“Especially after five, being tied up at five, if we could have blanked the sixth end I think it would have real tight coming home,” he said.
“We’re going to take a nice long break here over Christmas, regroup and refresh and come out the last half of the season real strong again.”
He said they couldn’t get Jacobs away from the hitting game that served him so well all week.
“The Jacobs team are real good hitters and you want to try to make them draw and we weren’t able to do that.”
Morris said both teams showed any doubters out there that they have what it takes to win, but losing still hurts.
“You can’t say we’re not going to have a great rep at the Olympics, it’s just a tough one to swallow right now because it’s real fresh,” he said.
Like the semi, Sunday’s final didn’t go his way at the start. But, also like the semi, Jacobs made enough mistakes that let him at least stay in the game, if not move ahead.
Jacobs took an early 2-0 lead in the first end when Morris second Griffith flashed. Over the last four years, Curling Zone reports Jacobs has a record of 31-4 when he scores a deuce in the first end.
Morris had to draw for a single in two facing a pair of Jacobs stones but Jacobs was in the same boat and had to draw for a single in three when he failed to get the roll off a hit on his first skip rock.
They blanked four but Morris was able to grab a deuce in five with the hammer, after Jacobs misjudged a hit and removed his own counter from the button, to tie at 3-3.
Jacobs was able to grab a deuce in six and go up 5-3 after Cotter, facing a possible three, went for a hit, short roll and freeze, but left Jacobs a makeable double.
They blanked seven and Cotter was forced to draw for a single in eight and surrender the hammer. Jacobs didn’t play safe in nine and facing two, made that final double that gave him two to go up 7-4. The 10th end was a formality.