Jones conquers Swiss cashspiel

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

It certainly looks like Manitoba's Jennifer Jones has now completely recovered from the problems that ailed her during the Olympic trials in Halifax.

Jones started warming up for next month's national Scott Tournament of Hearts in London, Ont., where she will be wearing Team Canada colours, by winning a women's cashspiel in Berne, Switzerland. Jones beat Switzerland's Olympic-bound Mirjam Ott 6-4 in Sunday's final to earn about $4,500 Cdn. Jones also defeated Alberta's Olympic-bound Shannon Kleibrink in that cashspiel. Kleibrink failed to qualify.

Next up for Jones is the Canada Cup, which starts in Kamloops, B.C., on Jan. 31. She will be joined there by fellow Manitoban Janet Harvey -- who will head there straight from competing at the provincial Scott in Thompson, Jan. 25-29. Harvey is expected to be named the No. 1 seed for the provincials.

NO CUP: Both Manitoba's Dave Boehmer and Ryan Fry declined invitations to the Canada Cup. Boehmer passed due to financial reasons, as his foursome is saving up for the next Grand Slam event, to be played in St. John's, N.L., next month.

"Newfoundland's already going to be an expensive trip -- probably $5,000," Boehmer said.

Fry passed because his squad accepted an offer from the CCA to replace Newfoundland's Olympic-bound Brad Gushue at a spiel in Japan around the same time.

"Then we come back for provincials," he said. "Then, right after provincials, we bought our airline ticket to Newfoundland, so hopefully we're in the next Slam."

ZONES QUESTION: In response to our suggestion last week that the MCA should re-examine its zones setup, some competitive women curlers suggested that the zones could be reduced to as few as eight for the estimated 50 teams in Manitoba, with the provincial Scott cut to 10 teams.

"But the sponsors love having 16 teams representing regions from around the province," MCA executive director Ian Staniloff objected. "And the host committee expects to have 16 teams, or 64 curlers, that come to town, rent hotels and use their restaurants."

BITERS: The flawed draw that was used for the MCA Women's Bonspiel was the same one used for the McDiarmid Lumber spiel, Staniloff said. And the senior men didn't notice? ... Fans are right when they call the World Curling Tour "shameful" after it presented only four travel bags to both of Canada's Olympic-bound teams at the recent Winnipeg Slam -- completely ignoring the fifth from both squads ... Anyone drawn against an MCA1, or any other such number, in the 118th annual MCA Bonspiel will get a bye (or automatic win), said an MCA spokesman.

HOUSE CLEANING

The last of the Safeway Select rural zone playdowns finally wrapped up late Monday. Here are the other teams heading to Steinbach, Feb. 8-12: La Salle's Randy Neufeld, Petersfield's Peter Pruden, Stonewall's Chris Galbraith, Portage la Prairie's Ryan Hyde, Carberry's Rob Van Kommer, Baldur's Mike Johnson, Brandon's Terry McNamee, Hamiota's Brent Strachan, Rorketon's Rae Kujanpaa, Rob Fleming of The Pas and Thompson's Grant Brown.

COMING UP

Vic Peters and James Kirkness, both of Valour Road, Dauphin's Peter Prokopowich, Ste. Anne's Murray Woodward and David Hamblin of Morris will be among the top teams seeking one of the last five Safeway Select spots available through the 118th annual MCA Men's Bonspiel, which starts tomorrow. Opening ceremonies are at the Elmwood Curling Club at 5 p.m. ... Calleen Neufeld and Travis Bale will represent Manitoba at the Canadian junior men's and women's championships, which start in Thunder Bay, Ont., this Saturday.


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