Jones takes charge

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:22 PM ET

The reigning Manitoba champion quickly took care of the business at hand so she could concentrate on tackling the next challenge.

St. Vital's Jennifer Jones overwhelmed Tracey Lavery of Fort Rouge 10-0 in only four ends in a B-side final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts city zone playdowns at the West Kildonan Curling Club yesterday.

That means that Jones will be able to defend her crown at the provincial playdowns, to be held in Gimli, Jan. 23-27, 2008.

"Yeah, we're excited about that," said the former Canadian champ. "The provincial championship is a great championship here in Manitoba. We're very privileged here to have Hans (Wuthrich) do the ice and play in an arena. It's always so much fun so, we're really looking forward to it."

The victory means Jones will not have to consider cancelling her entry into a cashspiel in Berne, Switzerland, next month and that her squad can focus on the Continental Cup, to be played in Medicine Hat, Alta., this weekend.

"We're a little disappointed that we can't play in the Canada Cup qualifier (this weekend)," said Jones, supported by third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin. "It's too bad that it overlapped but we've always wanted to play in the Continental Cup and we've got a great team. I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun. It's just different. It's like the Ryder Cup of golf. Golf is an individual sport and then all of a sudden, you get to be part of a big team."

Jones seems to have settled on Askin, the third lead to play for her last season. Although Jones took some heat for the changes, Askin has been treated well here.

"Every new person I've met in this province has been really nice," said Askin, 27.

Meantime, St. Vital's Calleen Neufeld upset Fort Rouge's third-seeded Karen Porritt 6-5 in an extra end in another B final to earn a women's provincial berth in her first full season out of junior.

"It feels amazing, pretty sweet," said Neufeld, 21. "I'm pretty pumped ... I don't know what it's going to be like, probably like the junior nationals so that will be pretty awesome."

Although Neufeld won the last three provincial junior titles, she failed to win the Canadian crown, despite coming close at each appearance.

MAJOR UPSET

"It does bug me," said Neufeld, now supported by third Patti Burtnyk (who calls the shots), second Heather Pierson and Tara Hamilton. "I'm tired of choking on my last rocks but I definitely learned a lot."

In another major upset, Charleswood's unseeded Tasha Hunter eliminated Fort Rouge's three-time provincial champ Janet Harvey, the No. 4 seed, 8-4 in an A-B final.

"It's really unbelievable, we certainly didn't expect it," said Hunter, supported by third Roxie Trembath, second Jocelyn Foreman and Marnie Mankewich. "We played absolutely amazing all weekend."

Hunter, 25, didn't expect it because the team had not played much together before the weekend.

The other zone winners were Darcy Robertson and Kristy Jenion, both of Fort Rouge.


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