Curler works around whiplash

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

She is suffering from whiplash so badly that her team considered replacing her for the weekend.

But Jennifer Sheppard decided to give it a go with a little help from her curling friends.

As third for Fort Rouge's Tracey Lavery, Sheppard called the shots because she could not sweep and the front end had to clean her rocks before she shot.

Yet Lavery still gave St. Vital's defending Manitoba champion Jennifer Jones all she could handle in the A-side final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts city zone playdowns at the West Kildonan Curling Club yesterday.

Jones eventually cracked a three to salt away a 6-2 victory over Lavery.

Sheppard, 25, had been in a car accident recently, getting rear-ended by a taxi cab.

"I never even thought that much of it at first because, right after the accident, I felt fine," Sheppard said. "But then I started to feel pain in my neck and down my back. I got checked out by the doctor and he said I had whiplash.

"We were talking about getting a fifth player but then I decided to try it. I had a massage before the game (Friday) and that helped. But I didn't feel I would be an effective enough sweeper and I didn't want to hinder the healing process."

So the skip was forced to become a sweeper.

"Poor girl," said Lavery. "But you've just got to be happy that people are OK. I had whiplash two years ago and it was awful. I was in severe pain for a year."

Lavery kept the game tight before the No. 1 seed claimed victory. Also yesterday, St. Vital's Calleen Neufeld upset Fort Rouge's third-seeded Karen Porritt 6-4.

PLAY YOUR SHOTS

"That was pretty good," said Neufeld, who won the junior women's provincial championship the past three years. "We knew it was going to be tough but you just go out and play your shots."

Neufeld, 21, is still adjusting to women's play.

"It's totally different because it's a new team after six years with the same one," said Neufeld, supported by third Patti Burtnyk (who calls the shots), second Heather Pierson and Tara Hamilton. "But I'm enjoying it."

Hamilton was a last-minute replacement for Kim Horne, who is pregnant and has a family health issue.

Porritt stayed alive by ekeing out an 8-7 victory over Jackie Komyshyn of Deer Lodge on the B side.

In other A-side games, Charleswood's Chantal Lagasse took Fort Rouge's Darcy Robertson, the No. 2 seed, to an extra end before falling 6-5; Janet Harvey of Fort Rouge defeated Charleswood's Tasha Hunter 6-3 and Fort Rouge's Kristy Jenion downed West Kildonan's Angela Wickman 8-5.

The B finals will start at West Kildonan today at 10 a.m., with A-B finals, if necessary, at 2 p.m.


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