Jones decision to switch will be tested

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

SOURIS -- The big switch was big news.

Now it's time to find out just how big the dividends will be.

St. Vital's Jennifer Jones shook up her rink last spring when she said good-bye to twin sisters Karen Porritt and Lynn Fallis-Kurz, kept long-time teammate Jill Officer and added a pair of curling legends in Cathy Overton-Clapham and Cathy Gauthier.

And after a so-so season on the cash circuit in the fall, many eyes will be on Team Jones when the Scott Tournament of Hearts provincial women's curling championship begins this morning at Murray Arena.

Officer, who began playing with Jones when they were juniors, said she doesn't feel other teams will be gunning for them because of their high-profile personnel.

"Maybe earlier on, but not so much anymore, I don't think," Officer said. "It's not like we're performing to our potential -- yet. That 'gunning for us' has passed.

"You kinda gotta gun for everybody when you're at this point."

Officer said the only pressure on the team to perform comes from within, and that she and her teammates are past that stage.

"There was a certain expectation for our team, and we probably put it on ourselves just as much," she said. "We've dealt with it because you have to deal with it.

"You're coming into the event that you play for all year and we're here. So we can't let that bother us."

POOLSIDE: This week's format consists of two eight-team pools, which adds up to seven round-robin games for each squad.

The top two finishers in both pools qualify for the Page playoffs, in which the two first-place teams and the two second-place teams square off.

The winner of the 1-1 game goes directly to Sunday's final, while the 2-2 winner and the 1-1 loser meet in Sunday morning's semifinal. The 2-2 loser is eliminated.

The Red Pool (with seeds in parentheses) consists of: Brandon's Lois Fowler (1), Fort Rouge's Joelle Duguid (4), Fort Rouge's Janet Harvey (5), Brandon's Liza Park (8), Springfield's Karen Young, Starbuck's Chris Scalena, Morden's Gwen Wooley and The Pas' Lois Mosiondz.

The Black Pool consists of: Fort Rouge's Barb Spencer (2), St. Vital's Jennifer Jones (3), St. Vital's Kristy Jenion (6), Fort Rouge's Ainsley Champagne (7), Swan River's Linda Stewart, Brandon's Kristen Williamson, Plumas' Terry Ursel and Arborg's Debbie McCormick.

PEBBLES: Chris Scalena, who is curling in her 23rd provincial championship, will deal with some adversity this week. Her third, Lori Boudreau, lost her father to cancer over the weekend. Boudreau will miss action tomorrow night, all day Friday and possibly Saturday morning. Virden's Roxanne Freeman play for Boudreau when she's away ... This week's winner will represent Manitoba at the national championship Feb. 19-27 in St. John's.


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