Jones gets a break

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- Jennifer Jones finally found a little relief on a couple of fronts yesterday.

The Manitoba skip got the OK from a Canadian doping watchdog to take something for her nasty head cold and reached a comfort zone in the standings at the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

Jones won twice at Mile One Stadium to improve to 6-1 and earn a share of first place at the Canadian women's curling championship.

After a 10-3 win over Quebec and a 9-3 drubbing of New Brunswick, Manitoba had a well-earned night off to prepare for the final playoff push today (11:30 a.m. against P.E.I. and 5 p.m. vs. Alberta) and tomorrow.

"I need two draws off," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to the sleep-in."

The Winnipeg skip has been dealing with a cough, congestion and an ear infection for several days and finally, thanks to the efforts of fifth Trisha Eck, got the all-clear from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to take Sudafed and extra-strength Tylenol yesterday. Because the Scott is part of the Olympic qualifying process, random drug testing is conducted on site.

FEELING BETTER

She was feeling better by noon yesterday, but her play didn't change much. It was top-notch, just as it has been all week.

"It doesn't really matter what anybody else does now," Jones said. "As long as we play well, we'll make the playoffs. Absolutely, the 1-2 game would be a bonus. Right now we're in a position that if we play well, we can do that for ourselves."

Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which finally lost its first game yesterday 7-3 to Team Canada, are tied for first place at 6-1. Saskatchewan (Stefanie Lawton) beat Nova Scotia (Kay Zinck) 8-3 last night.

B.C. (Kelly Scott) is in third place at 5-2 after an 8-3 loss to Ontario's Jenn Hanna and a 6-5 victory over P.E.I. (Rebecca-Jean MacPhee).

Next comes a pack of playoff contenders at 4-3, including the surprising Yukon-Northwest Territories (Kerry Koe), Alberta (Cathy King), Canada (Colleen Jones) and New Brunswick (Sandy Comeau).

GETTING CRAZY

King, the 1998 champion, won twice yesterday (7-3 over Newfoundland and 8-4 over the Yukon-Territories) to break the .500 mark for the first time, while Canada is still in the thick of things after a pair of wins yesterday, including an 8-4 drubbing of Nova Scotia in the morning.

The four-time defending champion says things are getting crazy.

"It's gonna get crazier too," she said.

"We're just trying to get off life support and move in with the living. You just try to survive the round robin and get to the playoffs, and then it's a whole new ball game."

Manitoba is not free and clear yet but is certainly in the right position to this point.

"It's huge because if you look what's ahead, the road is not an easy one, and so we have to be where we are right now to finish in the top four," lead Cathy Gauthier said.

In some ways the Manitobans have looked unstoppable, putting all kinds of rocks in play and using high pressure to score plenty of points with or without the hammer.

"We play with a lot of rocks in play, so we are going to score big ends," said second Jill Officer. "I think a lot of the teams maybe don't generally play that way, so when they get the rocks in play, maybe they are a little bit more nervous. I know that's our game, and it's working so far."


Videos

Photos