Title hopes iced

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- The dream of a world curling title died like a curling rock in heavy frost yesterday. Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones will come home empty-handed after her team lost 12-5 to Norway's Dordi Nordby in the Page playoff 3-vs-4 game at the world women's curling championship.

The team of Jones, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Cathy Gauthier left the Lagoon Leisure Centre heartbroken and frustrated after becoming one of just a few Canadian teams in history to miss out on a world championship medal.

'LET THE COUNTRY DOWN'

"You really feel like you let the country down," Gauthier said. "Canadians, we still feel in our hearts that we are the best curlers in the world, and it's so frustrating when you come to the worlds and you can't prove that."

The Canadians will now have to watch as the United States, with 23-year-old skip Cassie Johnson at the helm, takes on veteran Anette Norberg of Sweden for the gold medal today (9 a.m., CBC).

Norway, beaten by Sweden 10-4 in last night's semifinal, took the bronze; Nordby's 11th medal in world championship play. The U.S. earned a berth in today's final with a 6-5 win over Sweden in yesterday's 1-vs-2 Page playoff game.

Canada led Norway 5-2 yesterday through five ends but were done in again by changing ice conditions. Many times this week the Manitobans dealt with creeping frost and found the ice to slow down and pick up its curl. Yesterday the frost came in and the ice changed in a different way.

"The ice straightened up today and it got faster, instead of curling and being slower," Jones said. "We weren't expecting that. We're extremely disappointed."

The Canadians, already filled with tears, had to stand and listen to the Canadian anthem as it was played for world senior men's champion Baz Buckle, knowing how much they wanted to hear it for themselves after today's final.

"It was an honour to represent Canada and hopefully we will get a chance to do it again," Jones said. "It's very disappointing, but it doesn't take away from winning the Canadian championship and having this opportunity. It almost just gives me more desire to have the opportunity to do it again."

Everything unravelled for Canada in the sixth end yesterday when Overton-Clapham and Jones missed a couple shots and allowed Norway to score three.

Then they lost their draw weight completely, giving up a steal of one in the eighth and three in the ninth when Jones was heavy to the four-foot while shooting against five.

"It was a hard game to lose," Overton-Clapham said. "We were in total control the first five ends. Draw weight caught up to us."

The loss was particularly tough on Gauthier, who won a bronze medal in 1992 and a silver in 1995 with Connie Laliberte.

"After winning the bronze and the silver, I really was hoping for the other option, and one of the options I never considered was coming home with nothing.

"So it hurts."

Officer, while fighting back tears herself, did manage to find a bit of perspective in a sombre moment.

"It's gonna take a bit to get over this, but in the big picture we should be absolutely proud of ourselves," she said.


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