Stubborn Jones stuck with bad plan

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- You could see this coming all week. No one predicted Jennifer Jones would go from the Miracle at Mile One to the Canadian Calamity, but from everything we saw at the world women's curling championship it was pretty clear there was no gold in her future.

Jones and her Winnipeg teammates yesterday became just the fourth Canadian team in the history of the world women's championship -- Colleen Jones did it three times -- to finish out of the medals.

The Jones foursome played like it did all week -- inconsistently -- in a 12-5 loss to Norway's Dordi Nordby in the 3-vs-4 Page playoff game, and it finally paid a heavy price.

The Canadians, coming off the most incredible high of their lives after winning the Scott Tournament of Hearts in St. John's, Nfld., on Jones' stunning last shot, were eliminated and now head home empty-handed after a discouraging performance at the worlds.

There is tremendous disappointment in the Canadian camp today, but this can't be considered a surprise from a team that curled just 69% in the entire tournament.

"Story of the week," said Jones, who personally curled just 67%. "Inconsistent ice and we just didn't pick up on it as fast as we should have."

No question the brutal, frost-covered ice played a role in Canada's downfall, but second guessers will say Canada simply didn't adjust its game plan to suit the conditions.

"I'd love to start over," said third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "Maybe we would play differently. Play more wide open and wait for mistakes from the other team like most of the teams are doing here. We kept lots of rocks in play, and it wasn't conducive to the ice conditions."

Jones stubbornly stuck to her game plan of junking up the house and trying for finesse shots all week. She refused to play it clean even though that was the kind of game the rookies from the United States used to make it to the gold-medal final.

It's the kind of game six-time Canadian champ Colleen Jones would have played here, and it likely would have been successful.

'MADE A LOT OF SHOTS'

"I wouldn't have changed anything," Jennifer Jones maintained. "We came in with a great attitude, and we made a lot of shots. We just didn't make big ones when we had to. I wouldn't change our approach."

Jones' commitment to the style of game that got her here is admirable. She is indeed a woman of conviction.

But that style of play got her team in trouble a lot, and when your foursome is curling at a below-average level it doesn't help matters.

In the playoff game yesterday, Canada was in control, up 5-2 through five ends, but it simply didn't have a clean game in its bag of tricks.

"We deserved to lose that game," Canadian lead Cathy Gauthier said. "Yeah, the ice changed, but both teams were on the same sheet of ice. They were hitting and we were drawing."

Canada was certainly at a disadvantage here, being the only team that plays most of its games on outstanding ice.

But it's hard for the average Canadian to accept that excuse. Other Canadian teams have won gold on bad ice.

The Jones foursome now has to hope people won't be too hard on them when they get home.

"I don't know how we're going to be viewed," said Jones, who still has berths in the Canadian Olympic trials and next year's Canadian championship as consolation. "I would hope that the rest of Canada will see that we put a lot into it and it just wasn't our week."

This team should, and likely will be remembered, for writing one of the great chapters in Manitoba's curling history.

It's just too bad they had to tack on a sad epilogue.


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