Just can't fault winning

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

VERNON, B.C. -- The heavy favourite has won all but one game, but you can't help but feel something is missing.

Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones keeps repeating that there's still a lot of room for improvement despite her squad's 8-1 record at the world women's curling championship.

Third Cathy Overton-Clapham, who's suffering from a cold, admitted yesterday she's still not on top of her game.

Even Jill Officer, who leads all seconds in percentages, has dipped below 80% in two games.

And Canada has only won the hammer twice in pre-game draws-to-the-button.

Others have noticed as well.

STRUGGLED BACK

When Scotland's Gail Munro (1-8 after last night's 7-2 loss to Japan) missed three Canada counters to allow Jones to draw for four in the third end, it was suggested that it was a good thing Canada has been playing "stiffs."

Yet Munro struggled back to tie the game in the ninth end before falling 8-6 in front of 1,875 fans at the Greater Vernon Multiplex yesterday.

The night before, Jones rebounded from a 6-1 deficit to score a 10-9 victory over the USA's Deb McCormick.

"There's always room for improvement," Jones said. "We're never fully satisfied with the way we've played. We can always get better. But we're happy."

In other words, they are still a little off their higher standards.

"I'm not there yet but it's been a long week and I'm sure I'll pick it up," Overton-Clapham said after Canada needed an extra end to pull out a 7-4 victory over Japan in the morning.

Overton-Clapham made a precision takeout through a narrow port and rolled behind cover to secure the victory.

"I hadn't made any big shots the whole game, so I was happy I was able to make one at the end," Overton-Clapham said.

"As long as we keep doing our thing and not worry about where we finish, we'll have a good finish," said Officer, who disagreed with our suggestion the Canadians have been somewhat spotty.

"We made some big shots and we did capitalize on (Scotland's) mistakes. When you capitalize on misses, you're going to come out on top."

Canada is tied for the lead with China which suffered its first loss yesterday. And eight wins should assure the Canucks a playoff spot.

"We're pretty pleased, absolutely," Jones said. "We're in the driver's seat and we're in control of our own destiny, which is always what you want."

Should Canada finish tied China for top spot, China would get first by virtue of its victory over Jones.

"Yeah, but we'd still be in the (Page playoff) one-two game, so it doesn't really matter," Jones said. "If we win out, we're in the one-two game and we'd take it. It's better than the tie-breaker."

CRACKED A FIVE

Canada takes on Denmark and Sweden today.

Switzerland's Mirjam Ott cracked a five in the eighth end to hand China's Bingyu Wang her first loss, 9-7.

"Every win is great, it makes me happy," said Ott, who moved into third place at 7-2.

"In one game, anything can happen, that's life," said Wang, who is 8-1 after defeating Italy (1-8) 10-8 last night. "I think we played not so bad. The eighth end was only bad, that's all."

BITER: With rumours about a possible Tibet demonstration against the Chinese being planned at the arena tonight, the host committee discussed the possibility of beefing up security. A similar demonstration drew about 90 people to the downtown library last Saturday. The Chinese delegation has been advised to be prepared for such an eventuality.


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