Jones needs win, prayer

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

HALIFAX -- First, they kept their heads above the turbulent harbour waters. Now they need another win and some prayers.

Manitoba's Jennifer Jones staved off elimination by clipping Quebec's winless Marie-France Larouche 7-5 in a Canadian Curling Trials match at the Halifax Metro Centre last night.

That upped her record to a three-way tie for fourth place at 4-4 with Jan Betker and Sherry Anderson, both of Saskatchewan.

Jones needs to beat Betker in the last draw of the round robin this afternoon, then hope for some help.

"We have to come out and play well, do our thing, try not to sheet-watch and hope that other teams do their thing," said Manitoba third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "We need to win and we need (Alberta's Shannon) Kleibrink and (Ontario's Sherry) Middaugh to both lose."

Middaugh had moved into a second-place tie with Kleibrink at 5-3 by nipping Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton 6-5, who dropped into second spot at 6-2. Kleibrink beat Ontario's Jo-Ann Rizzo 7-4.

"Yeah, we need other people to help us out," said Jones, who shot more than 80% (84) for the first time in four games. "We played well tonight and made a lot of good shots so, maybe if we win (today), we'll get some luck and be on a roll going to playoffs.

"We had to make a lot of good shots and it felt good out there."

A lot better than the morning when Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones overwhelmed the reigning Canadian champs 7-1.

"It's hard because this isn't where we expected to be or wanted to be at this point of the week," Manitoba second Jill Officer said. "I mean, nobody did. Nobody wants to be at four losses but as long as we can win our last game, we might have a chance. We've got to let the rest of it play out as it may."

Meanwhile, B.C.'s transplanted Manitoban Kelly Scott took sole possession of first place at 7-1 and clinched a playoff berth by beating Betker 8-4.

"It feels great," said the Mighty Mite. "We have to keep working. You can't stop because when you stop, you lose your focus. We'll just stay with the same game plan.

"We finally got our trials spot last December and ever since then, we've been working hard to prepare. Now, here we are. We're in the semis, guaranteed, and it feels good that that work's paid off."

And her foursome is in a zone.

"Any curler goes through doubts as well as times of feeling a lot of confidence," Scott said. "Right now, we're feeling a lot of confidence. It's great to be feeling that way at an event like this so, we're right where we want to be right now."

Scott, who plays Anderson today, is also jockeying for a first-place bye.

"Now, we want to make ourselves look even better for where we place in playoffs," she said. "Any time you get into a semifinal against one of these ladies' teams, it's not going to be an easy game so a bye into the final would be nice. But, coming into the week, if we could say we were going to make the playoffs, we'd be happy with that as well."


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