Clutch Jones does it again
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
PORTAGE LA PRARIE, MAN. - You just can't count the queen of clutch curling out when it gets down to the nitty gritty.
There is just something about the psyche of Jennifer Jones that brings out her best when things look their worst on the ice.
Back in the 2005 Hearts final, with her opponents already planning the victory party, Jones made an in-off for the winning four to capture her first Canadian crown.
In 2008, Jones was so close to being eliminated that Winnipeg reporters had already written her obit and were poised to send it when she made an incredible comeback to win eight straight games, including the final. Not only that but she executed a perfect come-around draw to steal the winning point in the 10th end of that final.
In 2010, Jones was down halfway through, forced an extra end, then beat P.E.I. in the final.
Back in the Manitoba Scotties this year, she did it again. Jones had to win her last game of the round robin just to make it into a tie-breaker, and won that tie-breaker. Then, she won the two-two playoff and the semifinal.
Jones capped it off by executing a perfect tap-back to the button facing two buried counters in the four-foot in the 10th end to beat Morden's Chelsea Carey 6-5 in the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts before a packed PCU Centre on Sunday afternoon.
You may not agree with some of the changes she has made, but you cannot deny that talent, or her continued success on the pebble.
"I have a ton of confidence in Jennifer to make that last shot, and she's proven it time and again," said second Jill Officer. "That's partly why I've stayed with her as long as I have and it's partly because we have a never-give-up attitude. It's happened enough times that we've gained more confidence every time that we're in that situation."
But it seems like Jones has to get cornered before she starts baring those teeth.
"This is usually how we do it," admitted lead Dawn Askin. "We had five sudden-death games and we had to give it all we got and we did, and it came down to last rock "¦ and Jen made a fantastic shot."
It certainly looked like Carey was on the verge of stealing the winning point when Jones prepared to throw the last brick.
"Chelsea made a great one with her last one, and I only had the tap and we threw it good, the girls swept it good and it felt really good to win that game," said Jones, also supported by third Kaitlyn Lawes.
"I don't know what you want me to say," said a frustrated Carey, who lost last year's final to Fort Rouge's Cathy Overton-Clapham. "This is the second year in a row that we put everything out there on the ice. We played a really good game and we made two absolute pistols in 10, and we still didn't win. I don't know what else to do. We've got to get the hammer coming home, I guess.
"We lost the final to the best team in the world and we made her make a hell of a shot to do it."
It was fourth consecutive time Jones has won the Manitoba title when she had to compete for it (getting byes as Canadian champ the four other years), and fifth overall, which has her fourth in Manitoba history.
"It'll be great," said Jones, who lost last year's final to Saskatchewan's Amber Holland. "We're just happy to be back. It's a great event and it's just gravy "¦ Sometimes I just can't believe we've gotten to do these wonderful things."
It's gravy because Jones recently won the Canada Cup to earn a berth into the 2013 Canadian Curling Trials to be played in Winnipeg.