Champ finds winning Trail

ROD KELLY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

When it mattered most, curling ace Jennifer Jones and her Winnipeg rink did what they do best.

The Canadian champs prevailed -- even contending with the world's No. 1 in the $56,000 Trail Appliances Autumn Gold Curling Classic.

"It's always a good feeling to win a Grand Slam," Jones said yesterday following her team's 7-4 victory over the world champion Bingyu Wang rink of China at the Calgary Curling Club.

"We actually started a little slower, but we managed to get stronger as the games wore on, which is good."

Giving Calgary curling fans reason to celebrate on Thanksgiving Monday, Jones re-captured the cash 'spiel she won two years ago in a Grand Slam bonspiel that marked the first of five such events in this season's World Curling Tour.

Jumping ahead 3-0 in the first end, the Canadians scored two more in the third end and had given themselves a secure 6-3 lead after five ends.

Team Canada added one more in the seventh end to make the score 7-4. Jones ran China out of rocks in the final end, ending Wang's hopes of making what would have been an impressive comeback in the 32nd annual Classic.

"We played better after the first three or four ends," Wang said following her team's loss.

"But giving up three points in the first end was not good. We had to keep trying to get back into the game. It was a bad start that hurt us most."

Despite the loss, Wang, who will represent China at this February's Olympics, said the Calgary event was good preparation as her rink gears up for the Vancouver Games, where they hope to add another international gold to their resume after a claiming the 2009 world title in the spring.

"We played 10 games (this weekend)," Wang said. "I'm very happy about that."

For Jones, the win served as a source of inspiration as she and third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin continue in their preparation for December's Roar of the Rings, the Olympic qualifier to be held in Edmonton.

"We'll just keep plugging along," said Jones. "We'll play all the cash 'spiels we normally would and keep working on getting better."

In other playoff action yesterday, Wang defeated Calgary's Cheryl Bernard en route to the final.

Okotoks' Shannon Kleibrink also fell to Wang, losing to the Chinese team in Sunday night play.

ROD.KELLY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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