Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fathers-sons combo a winner

Dunstones, Grants having a blast at MCA Bonspiel

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They're not eligible to win the biggest prize up for grabs at the MCA Bonspiel today -- one of five final berths into next month's Manitoba men's curling championship in Dauphin.

But the father-son-father-son combination of Dean Dunstone-Matt Dunstone-Scott Grant-Daniel Grant kept right on winning anyway at the MCA Bonspiel on Sunday.

With a 7-3 win over clubmate Andrew Wickman at Fort Rouge Curling Club, Pembina's Dunstone joined Assiniboine's Jason Gunnlaugson, Carberry's Geoff Trimble, Thistle's Darryl Lee, Fort Garry's Robert Baldwinson and Bruce Jones of St. Vital as the last teams still standing in the Safeway-Lucerne major event heading into Sunday night's 9 p.m. draw. Dave Johnson also has a guaranteed spot in today's Safeway semifinals.

Meanwhile, in the Free Press major event, there were also six teams still remaining heading into the 9 p.m. draw -- Rossmere's Ken Tresoor, Pilot Mound's Curtis McCannell, Granite's Larry Taylor, Somerset's Daryl Evans, West Kildonan's Trevor Loreth and West St. Paul's Carl German. Jared Kolomaya also has a guaranteed spot in today's Free Press final.

The five Safeway berths that will be handed out today will come out of the two major events. However, a number of teams that were still alive late Sunday already have their berths, including Tresoor, Kolomaya and Gunnlaugson.

The final of the Asham main event -- at which the champion of the 124th MCA Bonspiel will be determined today -- will see American Craig Brown take on former Manitoba junior and mixed champion Sean Grassie today. Brown is seeking to become the first non-Manitoba team to win the Bonspiel title since 1953. Grassie already has his Safeway berth.

Dean Dunstone is a former provincial men's runner-up as the vice-skip for Peter Nicholls, while Scott Grant lost a Brier final as lead for Vic Peters in 1997.

But their team was ineligible this week for a berth heading into Sunday night's 9 p.m. draw partly because the elder Dunstone already has a berth as skip of his own men's team, but also because the two sons on the foursome are still juniors (they were teammates at the junior provincials this year, finishing 4-3) and not yet old enough to curl in the Safeway Championship.

So instead, the fathers, sons and fifth man Gord McTavish were content to have some laughs over the weekend during a rare opportunity to curl together -- while at the same time spoiling the best-laid plans of some teams who did have their sights set on some berths.

Sixteen-year-old Matt Dunstone, who skips his own junior team, said he only reluctantly agreed to yield the brick to the old man for what was his first men's event.

"I don't mind being third -- for right now. But he's got to pick up his game a little bit," he laughed.

The old man said it wasn't going to be any other way. "He wanted me to relinquish the skipping duties but I'm not ready for that just yet," said Dean Dunstone, who curled in a provincials with his own father, Jim, back in 1991.

The younger Dunstone said the entire bonspiel has proven to be a tutorial for him. "You've got to be perfect with your draw execution in the men's game," he said. "And the angles. If you don't have your angles down in men's, you're going to give up a three."

Scott Grant coaches his son and the younger Dunstone in juniors and the father-son-father-son combination provided a perfect opportunity to preview what the elder Dunstone hopes will be his curling future.

"I'd love to play in a provincials with Matty some day. He's a pretty darn good curler."

-- -- --

Jill Officer will play.

The longtime all-star second for Jennifer Jones told the Free Press last night that she will play for Jones this week at the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which begins Wednesday in Portage la Prairie.

"It's been a bit of a progression," Officer said last night. "It was a bit slow the first couple times out... but I think things are not bad, all things considered."

Officer had taken the winter off from curling to have a baby in mid-December and only began throwing again less than two weeks ago. If Officer couldn't have played, Jones alternate Jennifer Clark-Rouire will be on hand in Portage should the need arise.

-- -- --

The three event winners in Sunday's finals of the MCA Women's Bonspiel -- which did not offer a provincials berth this year and attracted just 18 teams -- were Thistle's Lori Pellisier, who won the Asham main event; Stonewall's Laurie Deprez won the Atkins Curling Supplies B- event; and the Contempra Signs C-event was won by Fort Rouge's Darcy Robertson.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 23, 2012 C4

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