Champ clinging to hopes

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- The greatest run of success in Canadian curling history is clinging to life but is not dead yet.

Colleen Jones and her Canada foursome, which has won the last four national women's curling titles, came within a whisker of elimination here last night before finally eking into a playoff tie-breaker to stay alive.

Canada lost twice yesterday to fall to 6-5 but by a brilliant stroke of luck -- and some help from their fellow Nova Scotians -- there are three other teams tied for the fourth and final playoff spot with the same record.

"I'm still alive because I have many, many lives ... like a cat and I have nine lives," Jones said last night after a 8-6 loss to Rebecca-Jean MacPhee of P.E.I.

"We're really thankful for the second chance and if you get a second chance you should make the most of it. We know what it's like now to lose and think you are out of it and then get help from your neighbour to stay in it."

While Canada was playing P.E.I., Ontario's Jenn Hanna was playing Nova Scotia's Kay Zinck last night. If Hanna had won, she would have improved to 7-4 and claimed the fourth playoff spot as her own.

'A LITTLE HELP'

Instead, Zinck, an old teammate of Jones, won 7-6 and got Canada, Alberta and surprising New Brunswick into the tie-breakers.

"It was nice that we got a little help from them," said Jones, whose sister Monica Moriarty is normally the lead for Nova Scotia but did not play last night.

"We have, in this tournament, shown signs of really great play and we just have to get that back and forget about (yesterday)."

Canada plays New Brunswick in a tie-breaker this morning and will have to win three games today in order to stay alive.

SWEET VICTORY: Brenda Nicholls saved her one shining moment for the very end.

After a horrible start to the tournament, going 1-7, the Quebec skip rebounded with three straight wins, including a crowning achievement yesterday.

That was when Nicholls pulled off a huge upset, stealing a point in the 10th end to beat four-time defending tournament champion Jones 9-7.

The win came in Quebec's final game -- they finished 4-7 -- and more importantly messed with Canada's playoff hopes.

"I feel like I just won the world there," Nicholls said. "This is the way my team can play and I'm pretty happy about it. It was one of our objectives. Nothing against Colleen, but to play against Team Canada and beat them is pretty special."


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