Jones comes up bit short

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

HALIFAX -- If her chosen sport was boxing, her performance here would have drawn comparisons to the time Muhammad Ali toughed it out against Ken Norton after suffering a broken jaw in the second round.

And never mind that this is "just" women's curling. Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones continued to compete throughout the Canadian Curling Trials despite kidney stones that caused so much pain that she had to be given morphine, at least temporarily.

"It was the worst pain I have ever had," she repeated yesterday after finishing with an 8-7 victory over Saskatchewan's Jan Betker at the Halifax Metro Centre. "I wouldn't want to wish that on anybody."

After she was eliminated from contention on the last draw, Jones revealed that her side is still very sensitive to the touch. And she will need surgery to at least break up the stones so they can pass.

Vomiting all night

Yet, she never thought of sitting out, even rushing to the rink straight from the hospital Monday morning -- after vomiting all night long.

"Oh no, I was always going to play, there was never any doubt about that," said Jones, who beat Ontario's Sherry Middaugh 11-8 that morning.

"Actually, the best game we had this week was when we were under adversity," said Manitoba lead Georgina Wheatcroft. "If we could have found that the rest of the time, we would have been right there. I mean, great for her to come out and play that game. Unbelievable effort on her part. But we had to pick it up and we knew that. We didn't and now, we're watching.

"It's disappointing. I mean, we put a lot of time and work and effort on everybody's part, including the support staff. So, we let ourselves down, and them down so, it's hard."

The whole kidney stone affair seemed to affect the foursome's performance as it then lost three straight games, which led to a 5-4 record.

Kidney stones, burned rocks and hogline violations all combined to dash their Olympic dreams -- at least for now.

"We can't look back and say, 'I knew that Jennifer's not feeling well,'" said third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "We came out and played very well that morning when all that stuff was going on. I was with Jennifer that whole night and we were up all night and we were exhausted. So, fatigue could have kicked in for the night draw."

None of them, however, wanted to use their skipper's health problem as an excuse.

"We went out there to win (yesterday) and we did that, we just didn't get the help that we needed," said second Jill Officer, tears welled in her eyes. "Things just went wrong the whole week and obviously, it wasn't meant to be for us.

"There's lessons to be learned from everything in your life and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Now, we can set our sights on the rest of the season and, Olympic-wise, we're going to have to look forward to Vancouver (2010 Olympics)."

But first, the St. Vital squad will go to the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts in London, Ont., as Team Canada.

"Obviously, you want to go the Olympics," Jones said. "But we don't have that opportunity. Now, we've got to focus on the other good things that we have and we're in a good spot right now. We're already at the Canadians, we're at the Canada Cup. We've got lots to play in."

They will also compete in a spiel in Switzerland next month.

"The Scott's huge," said Wheatcroft. "We've got to bounce back and we're going there to win it."

And that will be the first step toward the 2010 Olympics.

"Exactly," Jones said, re-setting her focus. "It's not that far away."


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