Score one for Colleen

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S -- Four-time defending Scott champ Colleen Jones served notice that she's back in the hunt in this tournament last night, winning her first game, a 7-3 decision over Newfoundland's Heather Strong in front of a crowd of about 4,500 at Mile One Stadium. The near-capacity crowd groaned when Strong's last rock in the fourth picked up debris and wrecked in front of the rings, giving Jones a steal of four points.

Jones said it was unfortunate to score in that manner, but admitted the victory gave her a boost after beginning the tournament with two losses, including a loss in the morning draw to Manitoba's Jennifer Jones.

"I do feel a huge weight off my shoulders," said the defending champion.

"Confidence is a fragile thing in this game."

BON VOYAGE: Kelly Scott and her team from B.C. endured a long trip to arrive in Newfoundland. Scott left Kelowna on Wednesday at 8 a.m. Pacific time and, after stops at airports in Victoria, Calgary and Toronto, arrived in St. John's just before midnight.

Taking into account the 41/2 hour difference in time, Scott spent nearly 12 hours travelling across the country.

"It couldn't have gone any better. We had good connections and quick connections," said Scott.

"It's something we put a lot of planning into because you have to arrive at this championship being healthy and rested, and that was a big part of getting off on the right foot."

Scott won her first two games against Quebec and Alberta before losing to Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton yesterday.

SHOW THEM THE MONEY: The Canadian Curling Association has announced that beginning this year, players at the Scott Tournament of Hearts will split a pool of $100,000.

Each of the 12 teams will get $50,000, with an additional $15,500 going to the finalists, $11,500 for the third-place team and $7,500 to the No. 4 squad. The CCA offers a $200,000 purse for teams competing in the Brier, with a minimum of $75,000 going to each team. Finalists get $40,000 each.

HEART BEATS: Before each draw at this tournament, the anthem singer performs two songs: O Canada and Ode to Newfoundland. The latter is considered the unofficial anthem of the province ... Colleen Jones has played 216 games in the Canadian women's championship.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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