Jones going for third straight curling crown

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- Should she win her third straight Canadian women's curling crown today, Jennifer Jones will belong with curling's all-time legends.

It would also be the fourth title for Jones -- one more than Saskatchewan's Sandra Schmirler -- the curler the rest measure themselves against -- and two less than Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones, another of the all-time greats.

Only Colleen Jones (2001-04) and Saskatchewan's Vera Pezer (1971-73) have ever won three straight.

Should Jennifer Jones emerge victorious from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final (1:30 p.m., TSN), it would be the fifth for Team Canada third Cathy Overton-Clapham, who won in 1995 with Connie Laliberte.

'EXCITING'

"It's kind of exciting," said Overton-Clapham. "When we put this team together in 2005, to think we would be in the playoffs every year and five championship finals would be unbelievable.

"We're just going to go all out (today) because you never know when you're going to get another chance and it's always fun to be on the ice on the final day."

Joining Team Canada on the ice will be Prince Edward Island's Kathy O'Rourke, who beat Ontario's Krista McCarville 8-6 in the semifinal Saturday night at the Essar Centre.

It is the first time P.E.I. has made it to the Hearts final.

"When it was over I think we were in a little bit of shock," said O'Rourke, who calls the game while second Erin Carmody throws fourth stones. "We're just happy that P.E.I. is in the final because that's what we were fighting for all week and now we're there."

In their round robin meeting, O'Rourke defeated Jones 9-5 but lost 8-5 in the Page playoff 1-2 game Friday.

"I just tried to park that game. The girls were so good about it," Carmody said. "Like, I was pretty upset after but they were right there to comfort me and support me, and they did everything they could to pick me up for this game."

Should O'Rourke win today, she would skip the Team Canada entry in next year's Scotties, which will be held in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

"It's obviously very disappointing," said McCarville. "We came here to win it and wear the Maple Leaf on our backs. We had such a good performance all week that it's frustrating to have a game like that. It wasn't our top game so that was a little bit frustrating but we're still young and all this is really good experience for hopefully, the years to come."

If Jones was nervous at all, she certainly wasn't showing it.

"You don't even think about it," she said. "We just know we're in the finals and we're pretty excited about that. The first year this team was put together, we won a Canadian championship in '05 and we've been in the playoffs every year since. So, we pinch ourselves sometimes. We're pretty excited to be in the finals, we'll just go out there and play well and give ourselves a shot."

This is the fourth final Jones has been in over the last six years, losing to B.C.'s Kelly Scott in 2006. Scott lost 8-6 to McCarville in the 3-4 Page playoff game Saturday afternoon.

Jones' team is pumped about the possibility of winning its third straight title.

"It would mean a great deal to me and for all of us on the team," said second Jill Officer, who was also named to the first all-star squad. "We put a lot of work in over the years and to have it pay off to that extent would be spectacular."

Today's winner will represent Canada at the women's world championship in Moose Jaw, Sask., March 20-28.

BITERS: Canada and B.C. swept the all-star teams, with Scott the first team skip as well as the Marj Mitchell Award (sportsmanship) winner. Overton-Clapham, Officer and lead Dawn Askin were on the first team, with Jones on the second. B.C. lead Jacquie Armstrong, second Sasha Carter and third Jeanna Schraeder rounded out the second team.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos