Defending champ gets back in the game

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- Four-time defending champion Colleen Jones is back in business and, as much as curlers often try to downplay the importance of early wins and losses, don't for a second think it's anything but a huge relief. "I do feel a huge weight off my shoulders," Jones said yesterday after Team Canada's 7-3 win over Newfoundland at the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

"(This was) huge. Bigger than big ... 0-3 would be just an absolute nightmare start. One and two ain't that great but it's a step up from 0-3."

Jones was stunned by Ontario's Jenn Hanna in Saturday's opening draw of the Canadian women's curling championship and then dropped an 8-5 decision to Manitoba's Jennifer Jones yesterday morning.

But there was a promise of revitalization from third Kim Kelly after the morning draw.

"Not to worry ... old girls need to get their sea legs, you know," Kelly said.

Those sea legs arrived in the evening as the biggest crowd of the week filled Mile One Stadium for the game against the host team.

The Jones foursome looked like their old selves and, after a picked rock gave them a gift steal of four in the fourth end, coasted to victory.

"We played really well," Jones said. "I certainly had a bad game (yesterday) morning and it was nice to get back and kind of find the groove.

"Does one game make a groove, though? Maybe, it's the start of a trend.

"You go 0-2 and the next thing you could go 0-11. Confidence is a fragile thing in this game. You see lots of good teams with losing records because they just didn't find their groove. It's a big relief to get one win, but now I need to get more."

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton and Manitoba's Jennifer Jones are tied for first place at 3-0, followed by B.C.'s Kelly Scott, Nova Scotia's Kay Zinck, New Brunswick's Sandy Comeau and Kerry Koe of the Yukon-Territories at 2-1.

Lawton has been tremendous so far, and is proving to be every bit the contender people thought she'd be in her first Scott appearance.

"Maybe I'm a little surprised," she said. "Things have gone quite well for us. We knew coming in that we had to play well in order to do well and sitting at 3-0 we know if we can keep playing the game we want to play and make our shots, things can happen.

"It feels pretty good, that's for sure. We just have to stay strong the rest of the way through."


Videos

Photos