Keepin' up with Jones

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

THOMPSON -- The only time Karen Porritt ever played at the national Scott Tournament of Hearts, she was at third for St. Vital's Jennifer Jones (2002).

Now, she is determined to join Jones there again this season, only this time at the helm of her own foursome. And Porritt exploded out of the hacks of the Manitoba Scott as her St. Vital squad pasted Terry Ursel of Plumas 11-6 and Holly Scott of Gilbert Plains 12-3 before sparse crowds at C.A. Nesbitt Arena yesterday.

Porritt, the No. 3 seed, was tied at 2-0 with both Barb Spencer, No. 2 and Shauna Streich, both of Fort Rouge, heading into last night's late draw. "It's nice to be 2-0 after Day 1 because, of course, that's your goal going in and we're playing pretty well," Porritt said.

BACK AGAIN

But it is strange, sometimes, how fate twists fortunes around. Porritt, you see, pulled herself out of the Jones lineup because she knew how hard and heavy she would be going after that elusive Olympic berth. But Porritt still wanted to play. So, she recruited Janice Blair and her sister, Susan Baleja, and reunited with her own sister, Lynn Fallis-Kurz last year. And the next thing Porritt knew, she was back at yet another provincial Scott this year.

"It was funny because I stopped playing with (Jones) because I knew it was just too much time commitment," she said. "Then, we went to Edmonton last year (Canada Cup West Bonspiel) and I'm playing out there going, 'I still love this game.' So, the competitive drive is always going to be there."

And Porritt, who was within two wins of qualifying for the Olympic trials with her own foursome in that spiel, is able to balance family with her scaled-back curling schedule. And now, she can picture herself in London, Ont., with her old teammate, who will be skipping Team Canada.

"That would be great," said Porritt, 43. "(Jones) sent me an e-mail the day before we left to wish us luck. That would be lots of fun because we get along really well and I know her team well and heck, we just want to go to London."

Although Porritt no longer hits the cashspiel circuit, she credited coach Lyall Hudson with whipping her squad into shape.

"We have put in some long practices and worked hard as a team, and it's been paying off," she said. "And he makes me think all the time."

Spencer was forced to tough out an 8-5 extra-end victory over Ursel after beating Scott on a measure. Streich sank Starbuck's Chris Scalena 7-3 and beat Beausejour's Quinn Adams 7-6 in an extra end.

Meanwhile, Baldur's Gwen Wooley upset St. Vital's fourth-seeded Kristy Jenion 5-4 in an extra end.

"That feels good but we feel we can play with these teams," Wooley said. "She was in the final last year but we've played Kristy before and we know what she is capable of doing."

Fort Rouge's top-ranked Janet Harvey, Brandon's Lois Fowler, St. Vital's Marlene Lang and Wooley were 1-0 before the late draw.

The Scott continues today with draws at 8:30 a.m., 12:15, 4 and 7:45 p.m.


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