WINNIPEG - No one has ever doubted her determination, but Jennifer Jones can still surprise.
Two months away from her due date and after undergoing knee surgery, a pregnant Jones arose from her chair, bent her knees and haunched down like she was getting into the hack behind the glass at the Fort Rouge Curling Club — just to prove she can.
Turns out Jones has recovered so quickly from off-season surgery that she has often accompanied her team on the cashspiel circuit.
“I feel fantastic,” Jones said. “The knee’s great and I feel great. I’ve been travelling to most events. I wasn’t sure when or if I’d be playing. I’ve been practising but the girls have been playing great.”
Kaitlyn Lawes has moved up from third to skip and the squad recruited Ontario’s Kirsten Walls to play third while Jones is out of action. Lawes sunk Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton 8-5 Saturday to qualify for Monday’s playoff round at the World Curling Tour’s Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Curling Classic.
Jones is due to give birth to her first child in December. She still plans to return to action in time to compete at the 2013 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the end of January.
“I’ve been on the ice sooner than I thought and everything’s been going really good,” said Jones, the reigning Manitoba champ. “It’s going way better than I even hoped for. I don’t find there’s any adjustment right now. I don’t even feel like I’m pregnant when I’m out there curling. It depends on the person and for me, it’s been no problem. So far anyway.
“So hopefully it will be good when I come back. I want to keep throwing for as long as I can so that when I come back on the ice, I won’t have had that much time away.”
Yeah, she doesn’t want to be rusty.
But what’s it like for her to watch her teammates competing?
“I’m not a nervous watcher,” replied the four-time Canadian champion. “They’re fantastic players, so it’s been a good experience for me to stay off the ice to watch, and for them as well.”
Jones recently conducted her first curling camp at the St. Vital Curling Club along with teammates and her partner Brent Laing, the father of the child who plays for Ontario’s Glenn Howard.
“The curling camp was awesome,” said Jones, who plans to give birth in Winnipeg. “The participants were so engaged and they’re asking for another one soon. I’m happy with the results and it was a lot of fun for us. I’m sure we’ll have another one in the future, I just don’t know when.”
Alberta’s surprising Laura Crocker upset Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson 5-2 in the other A-side qualifier to earn at least $3,700.
Jeff Stoughton beat Alberta’s Kevin Martin 7-4 to advance to an A-side qualifier against fellow Manitoban Mike McEwen late Saturday at the WCT’s Canad Inns spiel in Portage la Prairie. McEwen defeated reigning Manitoba champion Rob Fowler 6-4 to advance.
In the other A-side qualifier, Manitoba’s William Lyburn was facing Newfoundland’s Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue.