Manitoba express

JOE PAVIA -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Both finalists got their Christmas bonuses early.

In an all-Winnipeg final Sunday night at the JSI Canada Cup qualifier, Jennifer Jones beat Karen Porritt 8-5 in a hitting game at the Rideau Curling Club.

Jones breezed through the A-side, had a day off and controlled the final.

"We were comfortable with the ice and you know we controlled it from the first end," she said. "We never really got into too much trouble."

Team Jones earned the top prize of $12,000. Team Porritt received its bonus in the afternoon by clinching a spot in the Strauss Canada Cup.

"As soon as we won that game this morning, that was huge," she said.

The runner-up got $8,000.

In the afternoon semi-final, Jones and Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink provided a dramatic exhibition of curling that saw Jones prevail 6-5 in an extra frame, despite Kleibrink stealing two ends. Up to that point in the event, Jones had only given up one stolen end.

Porritt defeated Calgary's Cheryl Bernard 11-5 in the other semi-final that saw eight Porritt points scored in just two ends.

Kleibrink and Bernard also earn the trip to the Canada Cup in March in Kamloops, B.C. Because Jones already has a spot, the fourth berth will go to the highest points earner on the Canadian Team Ranking System list.

QUARTER-FINAL BRIEFS: Heather Strong fell to Jones in a close game that the Winnipeg skip broke open with a blistering hit in the eighth end that cleared the house of opposition stones, giving Jones four and the 9-5 win. Porritt survived an extra end scare to defeat Cathy King 6-5. Kleibrink's three-point end sent her to the semi-final with an 8-5 win over Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson. Bernard held out to get the last shot win over Crystal Webster. The losing teams each received $4,700.

SUNDAY MONEY: Thirteen of 44 teams won money on the weekend. In the Sunday first- round money games, the losing teams were Calgary's Heather Rankin, Niagara-on-the-Lake's Carrie Lindner, Renelle Bryden of Saskatchewan, Kristy Jenion of Winnipeg and Maple's Colleen Madonia. The rinks left Ottawa $3,800 richer.

CANADA CUP CARROT: The trip to the Canada Cup is important for two reasons. The primary one: A win sends that victor directly to the Olympic Trials. That event will determine four of the eight spots per gender in the Trials. The Kamloops event also awards many points to teams that do well there, another major selling point.

JSI JOTTINGS: In the last end of the Jones-Kleibrink semi-final, where the eventual losing rink faced five opposition rocks in the house, Jones third Cathy Overton-Clapham examined a possible Kleibrink inturn shot and told her skip that she didn't think there was a shot there. Kleibrink overheard this and replied "God, I'm not that good." Both teams shared a good laugh over that remark.


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