Jones rocks at U.S. spiel

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

Their final trials tuneup hit all the right notes over the weekend.

Manitoba's Jennifer Jones was singing to an unbeaten record as her foursome won the Labatt Cash Spiel in Duluth, Minn., yesterday.

"It was a good weekend and this is where we wanted to be at this point," Jones said from Duluth shortly after defeating Ontario's trials-bound JoAnn Rizzo 8-2 in the final. "We hadn't played Jo-Ann this year but, once we get to the trials, it will be a different venue and a different atmosphere."

Supported by third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and Georgina Wheatcroft, Jones also earned $2,800 US in their last cashspiel before heading to the Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax, which start Dec. 3.

"It's nice to go in with some confidence," said Jones, who was already No. 1 on the money list before the weekend.

"We just have to make sure we're sharp when we get there."

Jones entered the American spiel because it offered a round-robin format similar to the setup at the trials whereas other cashspiels had the traditional triple-knockout setup. The field also included former world champion Deb McCormick of the U.S. and former American champion Patti Lank.

One bad end

Jones had one bad end in the whole spiel, surrendering four in the first to Lank.

"That kind of snuck up on us but we pulled it out after that," said Jones, who won that match 6-4. "One thing we don't lack is perseverance."

Jones has won two cashspiels, was the runner-up in her first of the year, qualified in another and was shut out in just one.

"We're happy with our performance but there's always things you can improve on," she said.

The reigning Canadian champs will return home where they will spend the next couple of weeks working on those improvements. Jones is unconcerned about the time off leading to the biggest event of their lives pointing out that there is always a gap between the provincials and the nationals so this will be similar to that. Her team also plans to head to Halifax a few days earlier than normal so it does not get delayed the way it was on the way to St. John's, N.L., for the last year's nationals.

Rizzo, the only other trials-bound team in Duluth, pocketed $1,500 US.

TRIALS TRAIL: Jones fared better than other trials-bound teams at a women's cashspiel in Saskatchewan. Only Saskatchewan's Jan Betker qualified but was eliminated in the first round.

On the men's side, Nova Scotia's trials-bound Mark Dacey earned $10,000 US for winning a cashspiel in New York. Ontario's Glenn Howard and Newfoundland's Brad Gushue also qualified.

MCT SCENE: Closer to home, Elmwood's Peter Nicholls was playing Valour Road's David Bohn in the men's final of the Manitoba Curling Tour's East St. Paul Cash Spiel last night. The winner was to get $4,500 with the runner-up pocketing $2,500. On the women's side, St. Vital's Karen Porritt was playing Janet Harvey of Fort Rouge in that final. That winner was to get $2,500 with $1,200 for second.

Meanwhile, Manitoba's Dave Boehmer and Saskatchewan's Gerald Shymko were the first to qualify at the MCT's White's Drug Store Classic, which wraps up in Swan River today.


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