Dozen make Thompson

Skip Janet Harvey shoots against Connie Shepell's team yesterday. (Winnipeg Sun/Marcel Cretain)

Skip Janet Harvey shoots against Connie Shepell's team yesterday. (Winnipeg Sun/Marcel Cretain)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

Thompson in January might not sound like the ideal holiday.

However, there are several female curlers who are smiling this morning, because that's exactly where they're headed.

Over the weekend there were 12 spots up for grabs in the Scott Tournament of Hearts provincial women's curling championship to be held in Thompson Jan. 25-29.

The five Winnipeg zones were contested at the Victoria club, and there were few surprises:

* St. Vital's Kristy Jenion, who lost last year's provincial final to eventual Canadian champ Jennifer Jones, cruised through her playdowns, winning both the A and B finals.

* St. Vital's Karen Porritt did the same thing, downing Valour Road's Tracy Andries 7-6 in the B final to sweep the division.

* Fort Rouge's Janet Harvey, who was the top seed in the city, dropped her first match of the event and had to win three straight to punch yet another ticket to the Scott.

Harvey scored three in the eighth and went on to beat Valour Road's Connie Shepell 8-7 in one of three A-B finals yesterday.

This will be Harvey's 16th or 17th trip to the Scott.

"You gotta believe that you can win and just relax and just play like you can play and not get too freaked out by the fact that you might lose," Harvey said of her team's mindset after the opening loss. "... Don't be afraid to lose. Don't play tentatively. Just play like you can."

* Fort Rouge's Darcy Robertson will skip at the Scott for the first time since 1996 after she upset clubmate Joelle Brown (formerly Duguid) 7-5 in an A-B final.

Robertson spent the last decade playing third for her sister, Barb Spencer, but parted ways with her this year to spend more time with her family -- and guide her own squad.

"It's a big difference (skipping), because the game has changed so much from 10 years ago to now," Robertson said. "There's a lot more rocks in play, and the strategy is totally different.

"But I've played third for a long time, so I've played this strategy as a third, and you're thinking as a skip a lot of times, so I think we'll be OK."

Spencer qualified for the Scott earlier this fall, so there's a chance they'll square off in Thompson.

The only chance left for Brown to qualify is through next month's MCA Women's Bonspiel.

"We've done it twice before," Brown said.

* Fort Rouge's Shauna Streich is back in the big event for the sixth time and after a one-year absence. She easily got past defending junior women's champ Calleen Neufeld 10-4 in an A-B final.

Yesterday's rural winners were Stonewall's Rhonda Varnes (Zone 8), Holly Scott of Gilbert Plains (Zone 2), Thompson's Debbie Cripps (1), Baldur's Gwen Wooley (6), Brandon's Kristen Williamson (4), Starbuck's Chris Scalena (7) and Beausejour's Quinn Adams (9). Meanwhile, the Granite's Doug Harrison will be back to defend his provincial senior men's crown in March after winning Zone 10 yesterday.

The other qualifiers were Fort Rouge's Peter Paley (11) and Ron Westcott (12), Victoria's Norm Magnusson (13), Pembina's Lionel Walz (14), Morden's Eric Atkins (6) and Minnedosa's Ray Orr (3). Zone 5 wasn't reporting.


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